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Mr. President: It's All of The Above If Conservatives are Social Darwinists, then...

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2012: The Art of Intimidation

by Christopher Chantrill
April 24, 2012 at 12:00 am


WHAT A JOY it was to watch the Romney campaign executing on the Hilary Rosen flap, launching Ann Romney on Twitter in a heartbeat. And then the Romney war room followed up with the dog-meat play. Liberals thought that the dog-on-the-roof scandal had legs. But it turned out that the legs were Indonesian roast pooch.

Of course, as Bill Kristol insists, the candidate himself needs to be presidential and stick to Big Think presidential speeches about Big Issues. That’s especially important in 2012 because the community-organizer-in-chief has left the role of national uniter up for grabs while he shamelessly descended into the gutter, dividing the nation up into the Balkan States of America. Let the president be shrill; let him be petty, writes Bill.

Romney can give serious speeches about the Constitution and the Supreme Court, the case for limited government and the threat of bankruptcy and penury, about undoing Obamacare and what will replace it.

But let’s not get too good-government about this. Government is force, and politics is intimidation. While every campaign needs a great candidate that rises above it all, campaigns are mostly won in the trenches by the side that doesn’t give up first. That’s where intimidation comes in. You need your troops to see the opposition taking hits.

The name of the game in political intimidation is to delegitimize the agenda of the other side and shut them up. The last national Republican that knew how to play the intimidation game was Ronald Reagan. Liberals tried to intimidate him and read him out of the mainstream as a mad bomber and an extremist, but they never quite managed to pull it off. Once Reagan had got liberals on the floor he never let them back in the game. George W. Bush, bless his heart, tried to appease the liberals by running as a “compassionate conservative.” That worked about as well as “hope and change.”

Today the task of conservatives is to toughen up, and figure out how to intimidate the liberals defending what they believe to be the impregnable fortresses of Race, Class War, and Gender Gap. The job of the Romneys is to find the weak spots in the walls and start to demolish them.

Only when these liberal fortresses have been reduced can America resume its journey to the Promised Land.

The liberal fortresses are a lot more vulnerable to attack than liberals believe, for liberals have been on the attack for the last decade and haven’t really thought much about defense. They imagined in 2008, after eight years of Bush stupidity, that their policies would deliver them a permanent Democratic majority. In other words, they believed their own propaganda.

But suppose that the Romney team decided to exploit its tactical victories on moms and dogs. Suppose they went for the big play and decided to end decades of liberal intimidation on race and class?

There is a big opening on race. For half a century white America has hoped that one day, perhaps the day that America declared itself ready for a black president, they would gratefully receive racial absolution. But we now know that isn’t going to happen. So maybe we are getting close to a Rhett Butler moment, when Rhett tells Scarlett O’bama: frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. That will be the day that the race hustle hits the wall.

On the welfare state the liberals have two ways of intimidating reformers. One is the “mean-spirited” argument, that any cuts are made “on the backs of the poor.” The other method is the threat of civil disorder. One day conservatives will simply respond like Dirty Harry: make my day.

Turning the tables means putting the liberals on the moral defensive. On race the liberals have not just tolerated but encouraged moral monsters like Reverends Jackson, Sharpton, and Wright. On class, liberals have demolished the authentic working class culture, as the robber barons failed to do, and they have demolished the black community, as the slaveholders failed to do. We are not just talking about hypocrisy, we are talking about a betrayal of everything liberals said they believed on race and the poor. In the 1930s liberals stood on the picket lines with working stiffs. In the 1960s liberals gave their lives for civil rights. Today well-paid liberals make money, big money, out of urban pathologies, ruthlessly profiting from the sufferings of the poor. This must not stand.

Maybe it’s asking too much to expect the Romney people to turn around the intimidation game all in one year. But someone has to make a start, because in politics if your people aren’t out intimidating the opposition, then the opposition’s people are intimidating you.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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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

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

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

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[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

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.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

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


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


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David Martin, On Secularization

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