Friday, March 20, 2015

What Do Conservatives Want?

So, over at the HQ this morning, commenter jwest raised an interesting point.  His comment is too long to quote in its entirety, but the gist seems to be this:  Conservatives, especially in the blogosphere, are too ready to pull out the Long Knives whenever one of our allies (actual allies- a Perry, or Walker, or Cruz, or Lee) makes a tiny misstep.  So we should probably make some decisions, as a movement, about where we really stand.

So here are some areas he highlighted, and my thoughts on them (all quotes: sic; I'm not a proofreader).  I'll follow up with a couple more at the end.

1: Immigration/Border

On immigration, has anyone defined what the word "amnesty" means? We can't simply say "follow existing law", because than entails kicking in doors at 2am and dragging mothers away from their children (which looks bad on the evening news). It would be good to have a well written position on what true conservatives want.
Amnesty means "officially not administering just punishment for a crime."  Any "path to legalization" or "path to citizenship" is Amnesty.

Step 1 (before anything else) secure the border (or take real, substantive steps to secure it).  Step 2 Make explicit that illegal aliens are not eligible for any federal benefit, reduce Medicaid payments to States who pay State benefits for illegal aliens.  Step 3 Come down like "a ton of rectanular building things" on any employer- large or small- found to be hiring illegals.  Step 4 expedite deportation hearings, stop releasing illegals into their own recognizance.

2: ObamaCare/Health Care/Health Insurance

On healthcare, certainly everyone wants Obamacare repealed, but that's not a position. Never in the history of the U.S. has the government been able to give citizens free shit and then turn around and take it back. Those who think this is an option just aren't being serious. We need a conservative plan on what is going to replace Obamacare.

Burn it down. 
Scatter the stones. 
Salt the earth where it stood. 

The federal government has no authority over health care/health insurance.  The only space where the feds have authority is to end the prohibition on interstate sale of insurance.  Would consider making personal health insurance tax deductible, just like employer coverage... but that has issues (since I want the tax code to be much less complex).

3: Defense (esp. Defense Budget)


On defense, some are taking the position that patriotism can be gauged by how much we spend on the military. Others know that at some point, enough is enough. It's hard to make the case of being a budget hawk while handing out blank checks. We should nail this down so that voters know where we're at.


I'm sorry, Hawks, we don't have money.  I don't want to cut defense spending, but neither can we let it grow (or, at least, grow much).  Let's fix the procurement process, cut out the "diversity" stupidity, and see any other avenues available to make the defense budget more efficient.  If that's still not enough, *then* we can talk about more money.

4: Social Security


On Social Security, for decades the holy grail of the conservative side of the aisle was a plan to privatize SS. If this is still the plan, it could be marketed in such a way as to gain the black vote. Of course, our side needs to agree on plan first.


One-time payment of "your" SS money into an IRA.  Retirement planning is your business, not Daddy Government's.  For current or near retirees, we'll have to figure out a plan.  Some kind of phase-out will be necessary, but not sure exactly how that would work.

I'll add on top of that:

5: Taxes

A massively simplified tax code.  Flat tax, fair tax, even a progressive/graduated tax which is simple to understand would be far better than what we have today.  I don't think, realistically, we'll ever get a true "flat tax," and the "fair tax" scares me unless we can repeal the 16th Amendment.  Repeal the estate tax, drop corporate taxes to around 15%, stop taxing capital gains (and maybe dividends).

6: Budget


A balanced budget amendment is way over-due in this country.  Texas has one in our State Constitution, and it has contributed to tax surpluses (since people and especially businesses know that there aren't huge deficits, Texas is seen as very tax-payer friendly).

What are your thoughts?  Jwest is right- the sooner the *base* figures out our starting point, the easier it will be to judge when someone has deviated from it, and to what degree- thus (hopefully) preventing some of the circular firing squads which have led to the last two disastrous Republican presidential candidates.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

On Virtue

We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise.  We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst 

--C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man

It is often said that Conservatives can't simply be "against" things, we have "to have a positive message."  Many Conservatives then protest that we *do* have a positive message, it just gets drowned out because we have to oppose all the cultural rot, or the Progressive agenda, or whatever.

While there is a point there, it must be said that our message *does* get drowned out.  So it is good, from time to time, to remember what it is we are for.  But what are Conservatives for?  What do we want to "conserve?"

I would suggest that Conservatives are for Virtue.  Honor, Courage, Justice, Thrift, Sobriety, and Industry are character traits seemingly in short supply.  Anyone who argues against government expansion, but does argue for personal virtue is arguing for chaos.

John Adams is quoted as saying "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

We have fallen into the trap C.S. Lewis mentioned in The Abolition of man.  Every "advancement" of the progressive era has served to remove virtue.  Welfare has assaulted industry and thrift.  The Left's assault on self-defense (see also: Martin, Trayvon) is an assault on courage.  Every HBO or Showtime show seems to be an assault on sobriety, and often justice.

The results have been predictable.  A society which will not maintain its own virtue will require an ever growing government.  A People which does not practice Honor and Justice will become a police-state.  A People which does not practice Thrift, Sobriety, and Industry, will become one constantly on the verge of economic disaster.

Conservatives seek to promote Virtue.  A People of Personal Virtue are a people who do not need a big government.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Enough

Here, go read this.

Now, I'm not going to go over anything Drew says there.  Read the whole thing, it's worth it.

So what we have here is the GOP, once again, trying to have their cake and eat it, too.  The Chamber of Commerce really likes Amnesty.  They've made no attempt to hide that fact.  The Chamber of Commerce is a big Republican donor.  No one has tried to hide that fact, either.

So when the SCOAMT enacted Executive Amnesty, the CoC and the Republican establishment were jubilant (in private, anyway).  The CoC gets what it wants (amnesty) and Republicans get to pretend that they had nothing to do with it and no way to stop it.

Except then November 2014 comes along, and Republicans retake the Senate- largely on promises to stop ObamaCare (how's that going?) and Executive Amnesty, so the GOP is in a bind.  If they actually act on their promise, they tick off the CoC and lose donation money.  If they do nothing, they tick off the base and become the minority party again.

So rather than showing some moral fiber, making a decision, and explaining it like men, they hide behind this pathetic move attempting to be seen as trying to do something, while their actions actually make it impossible for anything to be done.

A commenter at the HQ summed it up like this:
"Or to paraphrase Rudy Giuliani, 'They do not love the American people.'"


This is correct.

The rest of this post goes out to the few Republicans who *do* love the American people.

Please join us.  Various pundits, bloggers, and commenters have mentioned a 3rd party.  The Republican party is going the way of the Whigs- they care too much for their privilege and "unity" than they do doing what is right.

It is time for a 3rd party.  It is a time for you, you remnant of the Conservative Right, to stand up and say "No more."  While you support Mitch McConnel and John Boehner even simply by wearing the same party label, you are supporting people who are willing to sacrifice the American People to their privilege.

You must disassociate with them.  You must form your own bloc, your own Party.  If you lead, there are countless Conservatives who will follow.  You will be amazed at the support.

If you love this country- if you love her people- you will stand for what is right, even though the cost will be high.  The cost will be so much higher if you do not.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thank You, Ace and Oregon Muse

Anyone who went over to the Ace of Spades HQ’s Sunday Book Tread, saw this:

Moron commenter AllenG is attempting to crowdsource his writing of a fantasy novel, which if I am reading his description correctly, will be called "Fire & Frost". It takes place on a world that is not your usual mountains-and-forests fantasy fare

Well, he is indeed reading correctly.  I have written a novel, and started a GoFundMe page to pay for publishing costs- line editing, graphic design, and a publishing service.

You can click over there and contribute, but this is really a thanks to Ace & Oregon Muse for highlighting me on the Sunday Book Thread.

So…

Thanks you guys.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

An American Movie

So I finally got to see American Sniper on Friday (I have an awesome wife: she took me for Valentine’s day).  A lot of ink has been spilled, and a lot of pixels lit about this movie, so there’s not a lot I can add.  But I do think there’s one thing- a something at the back of all the hate on one side, and love on the other, for this movie.

This is an exceedingly American movie.  Heck, you could almost imagine it was John Wayne playing Chris Kyle.  Okay, Bradley Cooper is a better actor than John Wayne really was (no offense to the Duke, but he cycled through about 3 characters), but the point stands.  This wasn’t a “war movie,” it was a warrior movie.  This was not about a soldier in Iraq.  It was about a soldier in Iraq.  And at home.

I think this is simultaneously what repels the Left and draws the Right.  Chris Kyle is not portrayed as a good man.  He is not some D&D Paladin.  He is not Galahad.  If anything he is Lancelot.  And I think he’s more Gawain.

There were more “fucks” in the first ten minutes of the movie than I think I’ve heard in a year.  Kyle is portrayed as the worst kind of cowboy (early on, at least), and later his violent nature overcomes him at a family picnic.  No, Chris Kyle was not portrayed as a good man.  He was, however, absolutely portrayed as a man on the side of Good.

It was clear in the movie, and is even more so in the book, that Chris Kyle took threats to his fellow servicemen, and to his country, very personally.  He was a hero in every sense that mattered.  And the Left hates the movie for it.

To the Left it lacks “nuance.”  It lacks “even handedness.”  It is “black and white.”

To the Right it lacks nuance, even handedness, and it is black and white.

In many both sides are separated by a common sense of the movie.

The Greatest Command

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

I've been think about this, the Greatest Commandment, a lot recently.  What does it mean?  How do we obey it?  How are heart, soul, and mind different?

We get a lot of advice on how to love one's neighbor as one's self, but not a whole lot on how to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.  And, while I was thinking about that, I realized something.  I'm fat.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not confined to a chair or anything.  Many people would probably not give my weight a second thought.  Sure, I look overweight, but in modern America, who notices that?  We notice when people aren't far more than we notice when people are.  Fat is just how things are, right?

But God recently hit me with the clue-bat.  See, I have a family history of diabetes so I happen to know that one of the warning signs is being constantly thirsty, especially when you've been drinking water anyway.  And this is where I find myself right now.  Which is kind of scary.

But that got me thinking, in light of the Greatest Commandment, how have I been loving God with my strength?

And the answer came back: I'm not.

I will here stipulate that I do not think I can "lift weights for God."  I don't think getting ripped like a certain Australian actor in a certain comic book movie about a certain Norse god is the objective.

Nevertheless I am convicted that being fat, unable to climb or descend stairs without breathing heavily, and so out of shape that even thinking of walking down to the park is exhausting is *not* what God intended.

I have already told some that I'm starting on a journey of small steps to a new me.  This is a slow life-style change that I hope will get me into better shape.  I had decided that before the clue-bat struck. 

I want to challenge you to think on the same thing.  I'm very cerebrial.  I live in my own head a lot.  Loving God with my mind is not difficult for me.  I'm still not completely sure on the difference between heart and soul, but I find my passion for God growing every day, lately, so I'll chalk that up as a win.  But in modern America, with our computers and cell phones and tablets and cars and... well, that whole "strength" thing doesn't mean as much to us anymore.

So I am committing to love God with my strength by first *building* my strength.

How are you loving God with your strength?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wait, what?

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am.  At today’s national Prayer breakfast, Barack Obama made some remarks.  That’s surprising enough, really- he doesn’t seem to be too big on prayer- but it’s the contents of the speech that are so insulting.

After talking some time about Mohammedan terror, he went on to say this (quote taken from the CSPAN link above)

HUMANITY HAS BEEN GRAPPLING WITH THESE QUESTIONS THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY, AND UNLESS WE GET ON OUR HIGH HORSE AND THINK THAT THIS IS UNIQUE TO SOME OTHER PLACE, REMEMBER THAT DURING THE CRUSADES AND THE INQUISITION PEOPLE COMMITTED TERRIBLE DEEDS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. IN OUR HOME COUNTRY, SLAVERY AND JIM CROW ALL TOO OFTEN WAS JUSTIFIED IN THE NAME OF CHRIST.

Take a look at that again.  We should not “get on our high horse” about Mohammedan terror because “during the Crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” also because “slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

You have to love the moral equivalence there, right?  Because of things that happened 1000 (ish) years ago (the Crusades), several hundred years ago (the Inquisition- I presume he means the Spanish Inquisition), and decades ago (Slavery and Jim Crow) we should not “get on our high horse” and think ourselves better than Mohammedan terrorists.

Seriously, he could have saved some poor closed caption transcriber a lot of words by simply saying “Godwin” and sitting back down.

But. lest the historical inaccuracies continue to propagate, I felt I should address them.  Let’s do it in reverse order:

Jim Crow

Jim Crow laws (enacted by southern Democrats, mostly) were laws designed to keep blacks from doing a great many things, including vote.  To my knowledge, never once was Christ invoked as a reason blacks should not vote.  So while southern Democrats were, indeed, Christian, there is no indication it was their Christianity that excused Jim Crow laws.

Slavery

Slavery existed long before the United States of America, and continues to this day (largely because of Mohammedans, in fact).  Slavery as practiced in the United States (and other places) was a horrible evil.  And, indeed, some people did claim that African slaves were slaves because of Noah’s curse on Ham. 

However.  It was precisely this nation’s foundation on Christian principles which lead many religious types to oppose slavery.  Far more Christians (as Christians) were abolitionists than were slavery apologists.  If you are going to claim that Slavery existed “in the name of Christ” it is only right that you also point out that it was opposed (violently, when that became necessary) in the name of Christ.  Indeed, the Battle Hymn of the Republic states: “as He died to make men holy let us die to make men free.”

“The” Inquisition

Apparently the President is unaware that there were numerous agencies which went by “the Inquisition.”  The first- called the Medieval Inquisition- was created specifically to *stop* violence against so-called heretics.  They used much more strict evidentiary requirements than kings of the day, and when heresy was found allowed the heretic to repent and rejoin society. 

Eventually, Kings took over the reigns of the Inquisition.  This lead to the now infamous “Spanish Inquisition.”  But even there the reality is vastly different from popular belief.  Yes, the Spanish Inquisition was a terror for a time.  It was built on Jew hatred, and was used as a tool of political force.  But not for terribly long.  It was then reformed and became the most lenient and merciful court in Europe.  The witch hunts which spread throughout Europe (and put thousands of innocents to death) did not gain foothold in either Spain or Italy specifically because of the Spanish and Papal Inquisitions.  Indeed, almost everything you think you know about “The” Inquisition is likely wrong.

The Crusades

The Crusades were responses to Mohammedan aggression, pure and simple.  It was only after Mohammedans took over several of Christianity’s Holy cities- and then began butchering pilgrims- that the first Crusade was declared.  The second, third, and fourth Crusades were each called specifically to restore Jerusalem to Christian hands.

The thing about the Crusades was that they were *wars.*  Wars fought in the middle ages were brutal affairs at the best of times.  Yes, atrocities were committed by both sides.  But where Mohammedans claimed such atrocities were justified, the Church opposed all such instances by the Crusaders.

In short, there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Mohammedanism, which really does preach death to the unbeliever and conversion by the sword, and Christianity, which teaches personal nonviolence (turn the other cheek, he who lives by the sword will die by the sword, etc.).  To suggest there exists such an equivalence is insulting to Christians.  Worse, it is a way to white-wash or soft-sell Mohammedan Terror.

If we are going to confront Mohammedan Terror, we must admit the truth: the writings of Mohammedanism teach forced conversion, death to the unbeliever, and jihad.  Mohammedanism is an evil death cult, and it must be treated as such.  These comments show, yet again, that the President is either unwilling or unable to understand that fundamental fact.