“Why are you guys cheering for them? Do you even know anyone from Iowa?”
“In fact, I do,” I replied. “But people are cheering for them because Americans love an underdog that won’t back down.”
Northern Iowa, a tiny school compared to Big 12 giant and basketball juggernaut Kansas, pulled off one of the most memorable NCAA Tourney victories I have ever personally seen, beating the heavy favorite in what was essentially a home game. One Jayhawk player was so distraught by the loss that he lay prostrated on the court, inconsolable as all the other players and coaches left the floor. We were once again reminded that the do-or-die consequences are what make the college basketball championships so dramatic and utterly, utterly American. I could not help but feel in watching their victory that great things were impossible even when you had been counted out and you were little more than an afterthought in most people’s brackets. As a conservative and Tea Party “whatever,” this was a sign that we can make things happen. We can change Washington. We can restore our founding vision.
And then, Northern Iowa lost in the next round.
In 1992, “conservatism was dead.” Every time Democrats (or liberals of any stripe, for that matter) win an election, the media can be counted on to repeat the premature obituary for opposition to statism in the name of Liberty. Thankfully, Bill Clinton wasn’t interested in governing as the centrist he campaigned as until he and his wife’s health care plan gave rise to what would be called, brilliantly I must add, “The Contract With America.” In just two years, the Clintons squandered their defeat of George W. Bush and a Republican majority took both houses of Congress for the first time in decades. That majority essentially lasted for twelve years and, if it happens to another ideologue who promised to rule from the middle, my guess is that it’s mileage would be half as long, six years, at best.
Like the plucky underdog represented by the small rural school who boldly dismisses the mighty giant, we conservatives and libertarians have not learned the thing that separates the underrated teams that make great news headlines and the ones that become a regular story. First, you must prove you belong at the top. Then, you must forget you were ever an underdog as quickly as possible. Know you belong. Know you must stay. Do not even let the thought that participation is enough enter your mind. Demand of yourself victory and then demand that you return to that summit.
It’s My Fault
Why did the victory of ’94 fade in less than a quarter of the time that the Democrats controlled the legislature? I’m sure there are numerous reasons. I’m sure that people who are actually paid to write articles like this have talked about it, publicly and privately, and have a myriad of theories and many of them with a strong element of truth. There is no simple answer unless you pay attention to the thing that drives sporting champions and Born-Again Christians, alike: it’s our fault. Most of all, it’s my fault. The champion does not complain to the referee when a call does not go his way. The Christian knows that he is a sinner for whom there is no excuse, only salvation. We’re in this mess because I didn’t do all I could and I imagine a great number who read this will have had this same thought and the same, accompanying sickening feeling.
Liberals who love the “club of angry nihilists” aspect of their philosophy more than the misguided compassion side of it constantly make the mistake of equating Republicans with Conservatives. It happens often enough that they at least resemble each other so our mistake in doing the same thing is understandable. In 1994, I was 17 and had grown so disaffected with politicians that I shifted hard to the left. Then, feeling betrayed by Clinton’s crony empire, I saw the flaw in Marxism only as someone who climbs a mountain sees its peak. Statism of any flavor requires that at least one individual somewhere in the halls of power act selflessly. That mortal does not exist. I was then on to anarchism as a way to prevent this dilemma. Then I didn’t think much about it until I had two beautiful kids. It was an odd realization that anarchism, libertarianism, and conservatism are in many ways analogous. An anarchist calls for consensus and personal responsibility to replace the state and a rotating group of enforcers for the most violent and awful matters. Libertarians and conservatives call that “civil society” or constitutional governance through the rule of law.
In this transformation, it occurred to me that our servant government was a firm which essentially fulfilled one half of Kant’s social contract while the people performed the other. In 1994, we hired a new group of employees to clean up the mess made by the last bad batch. I have realized, though, that my mistake was to think that it was only fair to let the replacements stand on their original set of promises as if they did not owe me adherence to the principles for which I backed them. It was, again, MY FAULT that I did not watch them, correct them, and demand that service every time I noticed that they were falling victim to the same trap as the original violators. Sure, the job has a natural tendency to corrupt those who take it, even those who begin with the best of intentions. Without punishment, though, reward can have no meaning.
Sean Hannity spoke from the Reagan Library a few days ago to Michael Reagan who said that the difference between liberals and conservatives is that when conservatives win elections, they quit. I don’t want to get too involved in politics, honestly. I love to run my mouth: to my family and friends. The constant drumbeat of online conversations, strategy sessions, meetings, congresses, conferences, and all that has begun to wear on me. But not paying attention is no longer an option. Looking over the horizon, the ridiculous behavior of the liberal “majority” has to result in big wins for the Republicans. There is now a distinct lead for them in the polls, reasonable projections of at least slim majorities in both houses, and most people haven’t heard that Obama’s next big project, Cap and Trade, is a plan from ex-Enron CEO and thief of billions who died in prison right around the time fake climate data was being circulated to support the claim of global warming for the noble cause of procuring more grant money for elitist professors. BUT WE WILL TELL THEM.
I Worry About the Constitution
The point of this article isn’t what will be. It’s about what was and what is. We still must fight hard to shift the balance of power in Washington this November and two years hence for our house, the White House. But November is now close enough that we must begin to plan for eventualities. Most of us know about Nullification efforts and plenty more are aware of citizen-based initiatives like the one I helped write. (http://articlesoffreedom.us) But we’re not planning for the possibility that we might really win this thing. We have won victories in New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, and even Doug Hoffman’s narrow 3rd party loss in New York is positive. And still, we are acting like the underdog, staring down the people that doubted us instead of our competition. Corruption is our competition. So are greed, envy, apathy, and contempt for the rule of law. If our analogy is sports, then our playbook has to have an answer for everything that thrown at us. If our analogy is the contracted firm, this current crop is in breach and our responsibility to it is not to honor the offenders but to offer that contract to a new firm but this time we will make our conditions more precise and our list of duties long enough that there’s no time in the shift for screwing around.
Plenty of people are working on different versions of something like a “Contract From America” that hopes to capture the spirit of ’94 with a condition to Republicans that we will help put you in office but the price will be stern and fair. I have three concerns with most that I have seen. The first is that so many of these statements are vague that even those who wrote them will have trouble judging the compliance of our new employees. The second is that many of these statements sound as if they’re being made in a spirit of cooperation with our servant-government-to-be. The third and biggest problem, in my opinion, is that the lists are conceivably achievable in four to six years. I realize that Mr. Hannity’s heart is in the right place but “Conservative Victory 2010” is a poor, poor choice of words. If we can tear down this monstrosity and replace it with a Constitutionally-bound iteration of the federal government in ten years, we will be truly blessed. If the GOP wants victory, they may very well have it but they have to be in it for the right reasons and they have to stay for those same principles. I think “Conservative Victory 2020” is an objective that gives us something to work for, ambitious goals to direct us, and a constant test of politicians who contract to take us there. This isn’t a formal declaration; it’s a series of ideas around which there seems to be consensus in the dedicated Tea Party movement. I’ll just start listing and give credit where it’s due to some great friends and Patriots who saved me some time in getting these ideas together.
Greg W. Howard starts out simply enough:
“Our first plan of action once a conservative majority is in place is to DEFUND the entire Obama agenda. We won’t be able to repeal due to lack of veto proof majority, but taking away all funds can be done by Congress.”
“I’m taking Obama up on his offer. Let’s not take baby steps. Let’s do it right.
- Permanently cut government spending by 50%.
- Permanently reduce the Corporate Income Tax across the board to 15%
- Implement a consumption “flat” tax across all income levels.
- Eliminate the Estate “Death” Tax. Permanently.
- Allow health care insurance to be sold across state lines using no Government Run Exchange.
- Repeal the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies.
- Abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Convert to wholly publicly traded company.
- Abolish the Department of Education. It’s done nothing for our children.
- Abolish the Department of Commerce and spin off “divisions”.
- Bring the average federal employee salary of $75,000 down to the $50,000 avg salary of private sector.
- Repeal the remaining ARRA stimulus package and veto the 2nd Stimulus (jobs) bill..
- Eliminate all earmarks in any future bills permanently.
- Mandate all members of Congress fly commercial. No private jets for anyone.
- Have Congress convene for only 6 months out of every year. Cut their salaries in half.”
And again in: “America The Beautiful”
“There is no need for the signing of the Mount Vernon Statement or any other statement for that matter. We already have what we need. Our Founding Fathers saw to it with their wisdom and prescience. It is not the right of Obama and his mob of Statists/Progressives or any President or Congress to abolish our government. It is the right of the people.”
Katy in Indy writes:
“We need to push for a dismantling of the Fed Govt 51% takeover of our economy, including healthcare & impeachment of Obama.”
“Used up the 140 characters; after dismantling of Fedzilla & impeachment of Obama, hunting down & putting on trial all Democrats”
“We had to send a warning to future generations of Marxists, Socialists, Communists Democrats we will not tolerate this in USA”
Notice how Katy includes the word “trials.” Even when demanding justice, we adhere to the rule of law. Yes, there must be punishment as honor is not a guide of the statist. If it were, the entire Administration would have resigned ten minutes after we told them what we thought of reporting our neighbors to email@example.com.
@Jenevalynne responds: “wow. how much time you got?” Good question. She continues: “repeal a whole bunch of things…drill baby drill. water California. Goodbye lobbyists. ..take real good care of our military. Gitmo open for business. Ask England for Churchill’s bust back. goodbye mandatory volunteers. Goodbye Fed. Give GM back. Give Poland, Czech Rep and Israel their defense systems. Goodbye FDA. Goodbye Unions. Goodbye EPA. we can dream, right? #1 : US is Sovereign. No Global agreements on anything not in best interest or unconstitutional.”
I ask about leaving the United Nations, the World Bank, the Internation Monetary Fund and other international “agreements.”
She responds: “that i would have done anyway.”
God taught me that theft is wrong, even if 99 conspire against one to deprive him of Liberty through the misapplication of law.
For my own part, I have priorities:
- Repeal, defend, or effectively nullify the health care bill. It is not the biggest of our concerns in the long run but it’s certainly the most likely to cause real harm if something isn’t done and soon.
- Eliminate the Department of Education and the FCC. If we do not take quick measures to break the hold of the statist on the education of our children and the unconstitutional regulation of public airways, we will fight this battle to restore a lawful republic every twenty years as a new generation of usurpers will attempt to defy history and wisdom by repeating failed socialist experiments.
- Repeal the 16th Amendment. Every other ill of the welfare state is based on the same progressive scheme that is reinforced but what was meant to be a temporary measure and for which the means of its ratification are suspect, at best. No flat tax or “fair tax,” both of which are constitutionally sound alternatives, can ever really exist without first ending progressive, arbitrary, and patriarchal/matriarchal enforcement against legal, protected liberties.
- End the Federal Reserve, its fiat currency, and replace it with constitutional money printed by the Treasury alone. By definition, then the people and the states would regain their 9th and 10th Amendment rights to trade in minted metals because a thing that has intrinsic value cannot be counterfeited.
- It might not be as widely held as some of the other demands but, in my world, driving on roads you pay taxes and tolls on should be a right and the ability to end the life of the unborn should be a privilege of only those who are in grave danger, themselves.
That ought to keep them busy. Nonetheless, I will be adding more as they come in. If you don’t see it in this list, post it in the comments. The longer the list, the stronger will be the shackles of tyrants.