Tag: Conservatism

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In the comment section of a recent Post, I made a remark about The Majesty of Conservatism. I would like to expand on that thought. I think I always knew, even as a misguided liberal in his teens, when I couldn’t really express it, that I would ultimately come to a philosophy that expresses the […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fighting Back: One Conservative’s Rather Modest Thoughts

 

I am a conservative. I know that means different things to different people. In my case, it means that I’m emotionally attracted to the old ways of doing things, skeptical and perhaps fearful of change, generally dismissive of optimizations and improvements, and inclined to defend tradition. In my case, it means I appreciate, intellectually, the value of the accumulated wisdom of the past. I have a low opinion of our ability to understand and manage complex systems, and a distrust of those who claim to be able to do so. It means I’m an American who loves what I believe are the traditional American virtues: limited government, the rule of law, freedom of expression, freedom of worship, civic order and civic duty, the supremacy of the Constitution, and the assumption that these things make America unique and uniquely great. That’s what I mean when I say that I am a conservative.

Almost everything about the Left runs counter to who I am. In its mildest form, the Left embraces change and innovation, places faith in man’s rationality and ability to manage complex systems, seeks to compromise core conservative principles in the name of efficiency and common sense and humanism, and is dismissive of tradition and its value. In its extreme form, the Left is outwardly hostile to the things I value, willing to compromise or negate every core principle in its relentless pursuit of an unobtainable perfected order. Today the Left is in favor of greatly expanded government, opposes free expression and religious liberty, undermines civic order, replaces civic duty with institutional redistribution, disregards the Constitution, and denies American exceptionalism and greatness. I oppose the Left in almost every particular.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. YAF at Brandeis: Dinesh D’Souza

 

This is a report I wrote on the talk that Dinesh D’Souza gave at my school last night, even though you can watch the whole thing here .

In the beginning, the Assistant Dean of Students somewhat awkwardly read a speech about how it is a good thing to have this event on campus, and then she pointed out that if people wanted to be loud, they could go to the convenient protest area behind the actual lecture hall, which got some laughs. (I’m sorry if you were hoping for drama in the piece, but spoilers: There was no trouble, and to be honest I didn’t expect any. D’Souza, who also spoke at Brandeis ten years ago, expressed surprise about this at the end.)

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Member Post

 

Thesis: For 55 years conservatives would eventually win every argument on economics, trade, and immigration by chaining liberals to the whippin’ post of data analytics. America is now on the brink of ruin, conservatism on the brink of irrelevancy, and the two political parties are stranded on terra incognita. If conservatives don’t stop winning arguments […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. There Is Right. And There Is Wrong

 

Tomi Lahren — who jumped on the scene with one well-timed rant at One America News Network, then transitioned to a show on The Blaze where her almost always angry, screaming style generates millions of views per video — seemed almost calm when, appearing on “The View,” she made the startling suggestion that because she believes in limited government she is also pro-choice. The video:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Man

 

OK, it’s really shallow thoughts from a shallow man, but that doesn’t make for a title nearly so eye-catching. I will be on Ricochet five years as of June 2017. Over the years I have read many erudite postings from contributors and members alike. I have also read funny posts, asinine posts, posts that made no sense and posts that I completely misunderstood. Or maybe I wasn’t deep enough to understand them.

These posts often referred to conservative, libertarian and even liberal political philosophers. Some of them I read while in college. But I retained little of the points and theses the philosophers put forth. Since joining Ricochet I have not improved my political education by reading these works. Nor have I read current political philosophy, other than reading articles or online posts, here and elsewhere, discussing these philosophies. I am simply too cheap to buy the books, and too lazy to get them from the library.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How Important Is the Nation-State?

 

Today I’ve been reading over the first issue of American Affairs, a new intellectual journal that appears to have grown out of the (largely Claremont-based) American Greatness movement. American Affairs seems to understand itself as a possible seed-ground for exploring an intellectual foundation to Trumpism.

I should admit forthrightly that I look on this project as a skeptic, and as one who considers that the founders of this project have taken a large (not to say foolhardy) burden on themselves. I’m not, in general, the sort of person who seeks to shut down ambitious intellectual projects. But to my mind, the trouble with American Greatness was always the extent to which it understood itself in rejectionist terms. The spirit of the thing seemed not to be, “The right could use some fresh ideas around now, so let’s explore,” so much as, “The whole conservative movement is intellectually and (probably) morally bankrupt, so we’re starting over. Sign onto our program or be rendered irrelevant.”

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Host Teri Christoph went to CPAC seeking an answer to the question: What the heck’s going on with the conservative movement in the age of Trump? Her guests, Guy Benson and Matt Vespa from Townhall.com, attempt to find that answer.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Neo-Nazi Walks into a Bar…

 

Another CPAC has come and gone. I have attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference here in the Washington area since 1993, when I was a producer on “The G. Gordon Liddy Show.” With the exception of President Trump appearing on Friday, this CPAC was not much different than the many others.

One thing that has never changed are the crushing hordes of people following the biggest names in the conservative world. This year, people like Sean Spicer and Ted Cruz were swarmed by reporters, photographers, curious bystanders, and the ubiquitous college students desperate for selfies. I never tire of watching the tight packs of humanity shuffle down the CPAC hallway with their standard, awkward choreography.

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Member Post

 

[This is the second admirable American I’ve written about. The first was Paul Newman. I’d be pleased to read about who you consider praiseworthy, either in the comments or a post of your own.] I confess, I’m a Larry Arnn groupie. I was in the great man’s presence once and was so overawed, I said […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Patriotism Not Nationalism

 

National Review has sparked an important debate about nationalism. As someone who has been accused throughout her life of excessive love of country (can’t count the number of times I’ve been reproached for arguing that despite slavery, Jim Crow, and the internment of Japanese Americans, our country is eminently lovable), I feel a bit awkward rebutting anything that travels under the name “Love of Country.” Nevertheless, I must join Jonah Goldberg, Yuval Levin, Ben Shapiro, and others in demurring from Rich Lowry’s and Ramesh Ponnuru’s defense of nationalism.

Lowry and Ponnuru are two of the writers I most admire (at a time when that group is shrinking fast). If they make an argument with which I disagree, I’m inclined to question my own judgment. So I remain open to the possibility that they are right. But it seems to me that their willingness to believe that nationalism, as opposed to patriotism, can be benign is not convincing.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You Don’t Own Conservatism

 

There is no bible of Conservatism, nor is there a catechism, nor a creation story, a Black’s Law Dictionary, an oracle to consult, a pope, a clearing house, a party congress, golden tablets, holy scroll, an authoritative canon, or even a Lord High Executioner (though I’ll volunteer for that post if the perks are any good). There is certainly no universal agreed-upon definition of Conservatism either. There aren’t even any reliable prophets, be they William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand, Hayek, von Mises, Russel Kirk, Margaret Thatcher, or Richard Milhouse Nixon. These thinkers had advice and wisdom for their time, and indeed beyond, and much of that of course carries forward to today, but little of it could be deemed prophesy in the truest sense, and even there we are all constantly arguing (or bickering) over assigning primacy of importance to their various sayings and deeds, while ignoring the seemingly heretical utterances and doings of these touchstones of conservative thought.

“Reagan was the greatest Conservative leader in American history!” one might say while citing his regulatory reforms and tax cuts, but how does that square with his long history of gun control and import tariffs? Nixon cleaned up American foreign policy while burdening us with the EPA and national speed limits. Buckley’s own views were often a mixed bag, at one time in favor of marijuana legalization, then questioning the ongoing legality of tobacco just after he lost his wife to lung cancer. Indeed we can pick apart the irregularities and seeming failings of anyone associated with conservatism.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. One Man’s Impact

 

On December 19, radio host Charlie Sykes completed his last broadcast for WTMJ in Milwaukee, WI. His last hours on the air were adorned with encomia from some of the leading figures his show had helped to incubate: Reince Preibus, Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, and Paul Ryan, among many others. For three and a half hours every day for 23 years, Wisconsinites got the Charlie Sykes catechism: free markets, rule of law, school reform, free speech (and anti-PC), and strong families. The policy meal was substantial and nourishing, but that didn’t mean the taste was bland. Sykes delivered information with just the right soupçon of humor and entertainment, and, of course, a hearty serving of Green Bay Packers hits.

Along with five other conservative talk radio hosts, and with the help of the Bradley Foundation (whose headquarters are in Milwaukee), Sykes helped to create a climate of opinion in Wisconsin that led to actual policy results. With the steady, smart, daily spadework of persuasion, Sykes opened his microphones to conservative reformers in politics, education, and the courts. Long before the “blue wall” crumbled in the 2016 electoral map, Charlie Sykes had been scaling the ramparts of Wisconsin’s entrenched liberal fortresses.

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Victor Davis Hanson describes how higher education and the media have eroded — and provides recommendations for reforming each.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Boy Named Lucia

 

15420922_10154208922519072_7420073817290444484_nEvery year around this time, Sweden celebrates the feast of Saint Lucia, a Christian martyr who according to legend brought aid to persecuted Christians in the dead of night, her head adorned by a candle-lit wreath. This is commemorated yearly by a reenactment, usually performed by children, carrying candles and singing Christian songs.

Most major Swedish companies do their best to capitalize on this cutesy tradition, but this year Åhlens, one of the largest department store-chains in the country, decided to go above and beyond the traditional and the ordinary. On the cover of the Christmas edition of their company magazine as well as their website, they chose to use a young black boy as the Lucia-model, dressed in the traditional gown and wreath, and the internet lost its collective mind. The comments ranged from “this is genocide on white people” and “A disgusting affront on Nordic tradition” to the more blunt “You make me puke.” Just a few days after the picture was published it had to be taken down after the boy’s mother asked the company to protect the boy from what ended up being a racist hate-storm.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 2 Cheers for NGOs

 

Skipsul’s recent post on the nefarious role that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) sometimes unwittingly play in the third world is an excellent read and echoes other recent articles critical of NGOs as a whole. (A Jerusalem Post piece called them the “new feudalism”). As an American expat working for an NGO in Iraq, I felt somewhat compelled to respond, not out of any desire to “defend the herd,” but simply to offer a little insight into their nature, both good and bad. I’ll restrict my commentary only to the areas I’ve worked in or observed personally. I would suspect some of what I say might not be relevant or applicable to NGO work outside of Iraq.

Important to note, NGO work is broadly divided into two often mutually exclusive parts; advocacy and humanitarian work. Most NGOs exist either to advocate and lobby for a particular issue or to provide a particular humanitarian service. You might assume they do both as a matter of course, but with rare exceptions, most NGOs stick to one or the other. The reasons for this are quite simple and each have their tradeoffs. Advocacy work is inherently political in nature. Either you’re lobbying for local/foreign governments do do something (give money, provide assistance, etc) or you’re lobbying for local/foreign governments to stop doing something (genocide, discrimination, neglect) Since local governments often bear some responsibility for the disaster being addressed in the first place (Iraq especially), advocacy NGOs can find themselves at loggerheads with local politicians. And believe me, you will never find a more petty and conniving politician than the ones this country produces. As such, advocacy groups are usually reluctant to delve into humanitarian work because these efforts would be hampered by their too-public profile.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Admit it: Trump’s Victory Is a Win for Conservatives

 
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

Conservatives should be the first to recognize that Donald Trump’s victory was a win for them. Indeed, many forward-looking former NeverTrumpers have welcomed the electoral outcome. And yet, a few of the usual suspects still seem fixated on the fact that Trump is not one of us; and they are only tentatively accepting the proposition that Trump’s victory is preferable to that other of the two possible outcomes.

I sense that some of our colleagues are carefully positioning themselves and patiently biding their time in preparation to pounce. For the new President will certainly violate some conservative principle at some point, and those violations will certainly deserve clusters of posts asserting his assault on conservatism. We’ll be treated to dissertations on the damage that the Orange Populist has wrought on the “conservative brand.”

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Member Post

 

It’s been over two weeks since election night. But many of us are still wondering how to interpret the results and what those results will mean for the conservative movement. I was surprised t0 read that Stephen Moore, a supply sider and free trader, is open to a trillion dollar “stimulus” package, even though he […]

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Member Post

 

So, the American electorate actually went ahead and voted to make Donald J. Trump the next president of the United States. Ever since Trump announced his candidacy and was (shockingly, to me) taken seriously by influential “conservative” media figures, I’d been hoping against hope that this result would not actually come to pass. Of course, […]

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Now that the election is finally over, the tough job of paving the future of America has begun. But how much of president-elect Trump’s stated goals are mere lip-service to his base, and how much could become actual policy? Hosts John Hart and Ellen Carmichael weigh in on the obstacles the new administration will have to hurdle, and what it means for the national Conservative movement going forward.

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