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Social Security Isn't Broken The Liberal Addiction to Bureaucracy

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What Would Sherman Say?

by Christopher Chantrill
March 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm


I’M concerned that conservatives are expecting too much too soon from their Republican heroes. Radio hosts like Hugh Hewitt are flogging the House Republicans to stop ninnying around with continuing resolutions. People are starting to complain that Speaker Boehner is a disappointment.

Meanwhile we have The New York Times encouraging the unions in Wisconsin to stick to their guns, er, protests.

It seems that everyone is encouraging their side to get in the other side’s face. But my question is: What would Sherman say?

Nobody could think that Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, he of the march through Georgia, could possibly be considered a wimp. But in the years leading up the Civil War he was a decided moderate. On the one hand, believed that slavery was an obsolete social model that would wither and die on its own. In 1856 he wrote that “unless people, both North and South, learn moderation, we’ll see sights in the way of a civil war. By 1860 he was appalled by the naivete of Southerners that thought they could secede from the Union without a war.

Call me Shermanesque, but I believe that the “blue social model” of our liberal friends is already condemned to the ash-heap of history. Just as slavery was universal in, say, 1000 AD, yet became a scandal and a monstrous injustice by 1850, the Big Unit economic system of 1950 will come to be regarded as a scandal and a monstrous injustice by 2050. And that goes for the egregious economic and social privileges of unionized and cartelized government workers too.

I also believe that by pushing the coming revolution too far too fast “we’ll see sights in the way of” civil disturbance. So we don’t need the House Republicans to fix the federal budget in a single year as a test of political manhood.

There are other parallels with the 1850s. There was the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 that sponsor Sen. Stephen Douglas (D-IL) figured would put the slavery issue to bed. Instead it riled up the North and the Democrats lost 76 seats in the 1854 mid-terms. Shades of ObamaCare and the 2010 mid-terms.

It’s natural that folks making a living in the politics business think tactically—about winning the next political skirmish with a cunning coup de main. But the conservative vision calls not for a coup; it calls for a revolution in the way that people think about government. And a revolution is a long hard slog persuading people to change from their old ways to the new glorious vision of the future.

To buck ourselves up, let’s read how the battlefield looks to a good liberal. John McCarron:

In states across the Midwest, and in recession-racked places from Florida to California, the party of the little guy, the wage slave, the hardworking have-not, is lining up to defend the enviable wages and benefits of public-sector employees...

Years from now, analysts will look back and marvel at how today’s Republicans — the party of bankers, hedge fund managers and stateless corporations — managed so quickly to sidestep blame for the recent economic collapse and instead turn public anger toward garbage collectors and school superintendents.

As a liberal Democrat, this doesn’t make me mad so much as jealous.

It can’t be bad when liberals ask not just what’s the matter with Kansas but the whole Midwest. It means that we conservative wingnuts are making progress persuading the American people that the Democratic Party is the party of the double-dipping government employee, the welfare cheat and the crony capitalist, while the Republican Party is the party of civility, the middle class, marriage, children, and an honest job.

Sherman realized before the Civil War that it was going to be long and bloody. Conservatives should realize that we have our own generational war ahead, a war for the hearts and minds of the American people. We have to persuade them that relying on government for your retirement is a lot more of a gamble than relying on Vanguard and Fidelity. We have to demonstrate that death panels are not a bug, but a feature of government health care. We have to persuade mothers that education for their kids will never get better while government is in charge.

Some people are discouraged by the difficulties exposed by Wisconsin and the federal continuing resolution follies. What’s the point, they argue, when Republicans win elections and Democrats with fleebagging legislators, “peaceful protesters,” tame judges and an MSM that is strangely silent about death threats against Republicans?

Sorry fellahs, but that is the point. Politics is repetition, and what we need to repeat every day is that conservatives and Republicans are dumb but honest folks that believe in truth, goodness and the American Way, while Democrats are Artful Dodgers that will do anything and say anything to game the system in pursuit of political power. With a couple more election cycles of Republican wins and Democratic trickery, you’ll start to see a steely look in the average moderate’s eye. Then, watch out.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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