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Weekly Opeds 08

by Christopher Chantrill

Conservative Off-site: Elevator Story

Sometimes you have to admit it. There is nothing new under the sun. Chicago politicians are still as venal and corrupt as they always were, and it is thoughtful of Gov. Blagojevich (D-IL) to remind us. It is also salutary to read that people had been tipping off the Securities and Exchange Commission for years about accused Ponzi schemer Bernie

|  more  |  12/25/08

Conservative Off-site: Mission Statement

Our liberal friends are all agog at President-elect Obama’s proposal for an infrastructure program to provide economic stimulus. These are the same liberals that have been opposing infrastructure spending for 30 years because it might harm the environment.

We could respond to liberal proposals with knee-jerk opposition. But

|  more  |  12/17/08

Conservative Off-site: Vision Statement

For the next month our Democratic friends will be focusing on the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. It’s a good opportunity for conservatives to have an “off-site.”

You all know what that is. You take off a day or two from work and go to a convention facility where, facilitated by an expensive

|  more  |  12/11/08

India, China, and the Disciplinary Society

Judging from reports it seems that the Indian authorities in Mumbai last week were more concerned with stamping out the terrorists than protecting innocent human life.

In the US and Europe, surely, authorities would have established a perimeter around the terrorists, stabilized the situation, and started to negotiate.

But in Mumbai the

|  more  |  12/04/08

The Sweating of Business

Back in the 19th century, we are told, Americans worked in sweatshops for long hours at low pay. There were no benefits, no weekends, no vacations. Every worker suffered under the most rigid industrial discipline and knew he could be fired on a whim.

So America’s thinkers and activists came up with a solution. Instead of the workers

|  more  |  11/27/08

The Weight of Government

In the chaos of defeat Republicans and conservatives feel most ashamed about the profligate spending. How was it that the conservative President Bush and the Republican Congress of 2001-2006 could have so increased the weight of government on the backs of the American people—including that most shameful spending of all, earmarks?


|  more  |  11/21/08

The Rape of Honor

Last week’s election really was the best possible result that conservatives could have hoped for. The Democrats got a solid presidential win (but not a landslide). They increased their Congressional majorities (but did not get a filibuster-proof Senate). And best of all, the American electorate showed the world that it could vote a black

|  more  |  11/12/08

Hope and Change in the Real World

By the time you read this, I’ll have voted for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for president. Oh, I know, it’s a meaningless vote. I’m voting in Washington State, where RealClearPolitics.com had Obama up by 13 points over the weekend. Of course, I’ll have voted for Republican Dino Rossi for Governor, and that race was a lot closer

|  more  |  11/07/08

Not Exactly Piracy and Plunder

The last time the United States experienced a meltdown like the one we are currently experiencing on President Bush’s watch, our Democratic friends got to occupy the presidency for four consecutive terms and won congressional hegemony for half a century.

At the nadir of Republican fortunes after the 1936 election the US Senate was

|  more  |  10/29/08

There is Still Hope

In a week when the Obama campaign started working on the transition and the important work of picking a cabinet, the Wall Street Journal helpfully warned us this week in “

|  more  |  10/22/08

Charles Murray on Education

Last week Times Higher Education published the world university rankings. The rankings are available here. Harvard came in first, again, and the US, with 58, had the most universities in the Top

|  more  |  10/15/08

It's Common Sense: The Experts are to Blame

It’s pretty obvious by now, at least to conservatives, that the current financial maelstrom is a product of liberal government programs. The best analysis so far has to be Dennis Sewell’s “Clinton

|  more  |  10/08/08

Fannie/Freddie and the Stealth Welfare State

Back in the good old days the US used to spend big money on secret defense projects. And no wonder, for in 1960 defense and the military industrial complex ate up 10 percent of GDP. It was easy to find money for the odd U-2 spy plane or the granddaddy of all “black” projects, the Mach 3 spy plane variously known as the A-12, YF-12,

|  more  |  09/30/08

Is This the Turn?

On Thursday September 18, the Dow Industrials staged a robust recovery, soaring 5.4 percent from an intraday low of 10459.77 on news that the Feds intended to create a new Resolution Trust Corporation. The new RTC, similar to the agency that cleaned up the assets of the

|  more  |  09/26/08

The Sterility of Feminism

Remember the Sixties? Back then our liberal friends were sneering at “uptight” conservative men in gray flannel suits and celebrating creative people in flowered shirts who “did their own thing.”

Now uptight feminists are sneering at creative conservative women who decide to “do their own thing.”

But things

|  more  |  09/23/08

The Mom and the One

We know now that the Palin phenomenon is for real. We can tell because our lefty friends have come up with a new pejorative: “Caribou Barbie.” It joins “neoconservative,” invented in the 1960s to describe New York Jewish intellectuals who had been mugged by reality, and “neo-con,” invented in the 2000s to account

|  more  |  09/10/08

The Day America Stopped Poncing Around

After a week of watching the Democrats ponce around in the Denver Temple of O, Republicans couldn’t believe it when John McCain—who’s done his share of poncing around over the years—delivered up Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his running mate. As

|  more  |  09/06/08

NYT: Obama Lacks an Economic Narrative

The good friends of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at The New York Times Magazine have written a long thumb-sucker about Obama’s proposed economic policy. What will “Obamanomics” look like, they wonder?

“In some fundamental ways, the American economy has stopped working,” writes

|  more  |  08/28/08

Cupcakes in Greenwich Schools

At a Greenwich, Conn. elementary school recently the principal was suspended for a little juggle-ology with the school student handbook. Seems that he told a parent that birthday cupcakes needed to be left at the office. See, he said a little later,

|  more  |  08/23/08

Not Another Bipartisan Betrayal

In the week that the last of the climate-change “hockey stick” finally disappeared into Steve McIntyre’s wood-chipper, it makes complete sense that a gang of five Republican United States Senators

|  more  |  08/19/08

The Politics of the Social Safety Net

Last week I participated in a voter roundtable on Social Safety Nets at KPLU, a local Puget Sound NPR affiliate. Reporter Paula Wissel played us some audio clips from presidential speeches on Social Security, Medicare, and welfare, and then we got to talk about our feelings.

As you’d expect, there was an unspoken assumption that

|  more  |  08/07/08

"Obama Doesn't Really Think This Way"

This last week conservatives spent a lot of time in the vomitorium. Everything that Candidate Barack Obama has done has seemed like an invitation to upchuck.

We are talking about the kumbaya speech at the Siegessäule in Berlin, the culmination of Barack’s

|  more  |  08/01/08

Energy and Freedom

When singer Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers in Los Angeles got a chance to audition for the Tommy Dorsey big band in New York, they piled into a car and drove across the nation—in 1939. No doubt it was cheaper than taking the train.


|  more  |  07/29/08

Beyond the Blame Game

In politics the game always goes to the politician who can stick the blame on the other guy. Sometimes, like New York Senator Charles Schumer, you can even nudge a bank into receivership. Loose lips sink ships, Senator!

When things go wrong for the Ins the Outs make hay deploring the “mistakes” of the Ins. Then the Outs get in and

|  more  |  07/17/08

New Hope for Global Warming Deniers

Why would anyone be a global warming denier? What’s the point? You earn the scorn of Al Gore and maybe Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s pre-eminent climate scientist will call for you to be put in jail. Of fossil fuel company CEOs Hansen recently testified to

|  more  |  07/14/08

The Hard Choices Will Wait

We talk a lot about “choices” in the United States, but what do we mean? Usually, we are talking about “rights,” as the the right to an abortion, or the right to choose a school for your child.

But real choice is about making hard choices; it is about recognizing that things can’t go on the way they are any more. It

|  more  |  07/08/08

Those Mean-spirited Liberals

Every now and again our learned scholars in the liberal university come up with a study, financed by taxpayers’ money, that concludes what every liberal already knows. Conservatives are rigid and not very intelligent. In fact, as one study by

|  more  |  06/30/08

War and Its Moral Equivalent

Last week, in a decision that everyone except conservatives agreed was a defeat for the Bush administration, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the inmates of Guantanamo Bay could sue in federal courts to challenge their imprisonment. For the

|  more  |  06/23/08

The Big "O"

Like Peggy Lee in “Is That All There Is,” conservatives keep wondering if they are missing something about the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Meanwhile, we hum to ourselves, in a rich contralto,

|  more  |  06/12/08

Are Conservatives Dead or Resting?

The first boss I ever had, in 1968, was a Nixon-hater. A Democrat from upstate New York, he kept a coffee mug emblazoned with a Nixon $3 bill, and he could recite the litany of Nixon’s red-baiting campaigns. First there was Jerry Voorhees in 1946, then there was Alger Hiss and the pumpkin papers. Then there was Helen Gahagan Douglas in

|  more  |  06/04/08

Remember the Fallen

Unlike our British cousins we Americans honor the veterans of our armed forces twice a year. On Veterans Day we honor the service of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guard. But on Memorial Day we honor the Fallen.

In many parts of the nation communities still call it Decoration Day, the day to decorate the graves of those

|  more  |  05/26/08

US Can't Pass English 101

Most Americans can’t write a decent college paper. It’s not exactly news. Half a century ago Bernard Malamud, smart Jewish kid from Brooklyn, taught English out at Oregon State University. He found the experience so grueling that he wrote it up in A New Life. His

|  more  |  05/24/08

How About Those BritCons?

For eleven long years the British Conservatives have wandered in the political wilderness. Political magician Tony Blair won three smashing elections with a re-branded “New” Labour Party in 1997, 2001, and 2005. The Tories were written off as the “nasty” party, and it looked like New Labour would rule forever.

Not to

|  more  |  05/16/08

At the Turn of the Cycle

For those of you worried about the start of solar Cycle 24, good news. A small sunspot recently appeared in the sun’s southern hemisphere. So it looks like the next sunspot cycle has well and truly started.

Meanwhile scientist

|  more  |  05/08/08

America, You've Been Had

Liberals are right about the “Right-wing Noise Machine.” It really is a wonder to behold, and last week it was performing like a well-tuned NASCAR race car. They say that liberals are all prepared for the inevitable “swift-boating” of Barack Obama. Look behind you, liberals. It already happened and, like last time, it was an

|  more  |  04/30/08

The Pope's Challenge to Conservatives

The mainstream media seem to think that the pope’s visit to the United States was all about the delicious priestly sex-abuse scandal and liberal agenda issues like abortion and women priests.

Even some conservatives wonder about Benedict XVI. Last week Catholic convert David Allen Tate worried to host Hugh Hewitt about Benedict’s

|  more  |  04/24/08

A Century of Tax

I was talking with a liberal friend recently over some convivial post-theater refreshment and the question of privacy came up.

What do you mean, I asked? What privacy? I just sent in my Federal Income Tax return for 2007 and I reckon that the government already knows everything about me. For 2007 Uncle Fed knows how much I earned in wages,

|  more  |  04/18/08

Looking Round the Corner

What do you think? Is the mortgage meltdown over?

Predicting the future is like trying to look round the corner. If only you could take a quick look without getting your head blown off. If only.

Let’s take a look at the faces of the pedestrians on the other side of the street. What can they see that we can’t see?

First of

|  more  |  04/09/08

Doing Something About the Financial Mess

The Bush administration launched another plan Monday to do something about the mortgage mess.

In a major speech Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson proposed a Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory

|  more  |  04/04/08

Let's Ask for Forgiveness

For months and months the suspense has been palpable. Here was Barack Obama, the first African American candidate for President of the United States who wasn’t Jesse Jackson, promising to heal an angry and fractured nation with nothing less than Hope and Unity.

But what did he mean? Was he promising to close up America’s racial

|  more  |  03/27/08

Conservatism in an AQAL Context

I suppose that most folks around the integral world think that conservatism and AQAL are mutually exclusive. After all, we all know that conservatives are blue/amber or business orange, or even red power types. And they really have little understanding of any other levels/stages/spirals.

In the spirit of How the Irish Invented Civilization I

|  more  |  03/25/08

The Meltdown on Bush's Watch

You can be a principled conservative and a loyal Republican and still be as angry as a Bush-derangement-syndrome Democrat over the mess in the financial markets.

You thought that the Republican Party was the safe-hands party, the party that you could rely on to manage the nation’s economic affairs in a competent and businesslike

|  more  |  03/20/08

We All Make Mistakes

Now we know what Change-You-Can-Believe-In means. It’s a code-word for the loose change that Tony Resko dealt out to the young Barack Obama when the young state senator was looking for a house in a ritzy part of Chicago.

That sort of change is completely different from the chump change that you or I put up when we buy a house in some

|  more  |  03/14/08

Bill Buckley's Conservative Family

It’s a pity that great conservatives have to die for us to find out how remarkable they were. We learn, now that he is dead at age 82, that William F. Buckley, Jr. was the best friend in the world.

He was a man of astonishing work habits, productively busy every waking hour. Yet he was a man who would sit down with you and be genuinely

|  more  |  03/07/08

The Home Equity Partnership

Let us suppose that the mortgage meltdown has about finished melting and that some sort of recovery will shortly begin. The Federal Reserve Board has aggressively reduced interest rates from the 5.25 to 3.0 percent. And the seized-up interbank loan market appears to have eased, with the LIBOR 3-month interbank rate now close to the fed funds

|  more  |  03/02/08

Reviewing Obama's "Blueprint for Change"

Last week several conservative columnists, with one voice, declared presidential candidate Barack Obama an empty suit. At least, they reckoned that his speechifying demonstrated an astonishing lack of content.

|  more  |  02/19/08

A Budget Valentine

OK, conservatives, now that the race for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party is all over bar shouting, as my grandfather used to say, let’s get back to more serious topics.

Let’s talk about the federal budget.

What’s that? You have to go get your wife a present for Valentine’s Day—right

|  more  |  02/16/08

The Path to Real Change

After Super Tuesday the picture has changed.  The Democratic race is all tied up and Mitt Romney has made a graceful exit.

But what about the issues? The war! The judges! The Bush tax cuts!

The fact is that the American people aren’t listening. They just want change. They are worried about all the excitement that Republicans

|  more  |  02/08/08

The Liberals' Mommy Fascism

At the end of the Bush administration conservatives need to clear their heads and think about the future. It’s time to do some serious political philosophy.

Jonah Goldberg believes that the way to start is to understand how ubiquitous fascist ideas have become in our present age.

A project like that runs immediately into the

|  more  |  02/01/08

So's Your Father!

Conservatives have long understood that socialism and fascism are two sides of the same coin. They are both reactionary movements attempting to roll back the modern era to a simpler, less corrupt age driven by something higher than money, money, money.

As Marx put it in The Communist Manifesto: “The bourgeoisie... has left

|  more  |  01/25/08

Does Big Government Help Women?

When the first woman to be a major party candidate for president wins her first presidential primary by playing the gender card it tells you something. The Romantics were right and the rationalists were wrong. Life really is all about feelings and not about reason.

That was a week ago. Now the first woman candidate for president is trading

|  more  |  01/16/08

When's It Gonna End?

It’s all Bush’s fault, said the young man, echoing his betters at the establishment media and the angry academy.

Things were going so well in the 1990s until Bush and his neocon theocrats came along and ruined it with their global “war on terror.” When’s it gonna end?

But what can you expect from a president who

|  more  |  01/03/08



What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District

Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


[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


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion

Government Expenditure

The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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