In the first time since the 2010 elections, a conservative awakens to the electronic newspaper on his porch, and all of a sudden the sunshine is a little shinier, the crispy bacon is a little baconier, and the orange juice is a little juicier.
Obamacare is being railed against in the Supreme Court. The president is being condemned for his embarrassing “flexible” comment to the outgoing Russian president. It looks increasingly likely that the left’s politicizing of the Trayvon Martin tragedy is going to backfire — big-time. The 2012 election picture is very enticing. And just recently, the Obama “budget” was smoked in Congress. At first blush, it seems that conservatives are having one of their very best weeks ever.
But conservatives are well-conditioned during the Obama regime’s onslaught to shun resting easy until the stench of Chicago corruption is Febrezed out of the Oval Office carpets. Even if we air out the White House, we would still have daunting House cleaning to do, like bleaching the malodorous miscreants out of our nominal opposition party. It could also require running off the lobby of stray cats congregated at the capitol and a little Norwegian elbow steam, but there’s no point breaking out the bulldozers yet.
With such a Promethean task set before us, how could a conservative dare to celebrate? Or better yet to ask, why start sniffing cigars? If there is anything we unhinged right-wingers know, it is that the GOP has a talent for botching a sure thing. Our party is the geeky kid in high school who couldn’t get a prom date if he was sexually outnumbered by the gals two-to-one. And forget second base even if he does.
What is pathetic about the state of our country is that we are tempted to celebrate victories that are no more than the losses of our ideological opponents. Such Schadenfreude is par for the course in demented left-wing circles, where the progressive cultists shoot politics and economy through the prism of “you lose, we win.” What makes us depraved right-wingers is we have that ignoble and inhumane spirit that if we work together in a free society, we all win.
And so the left is imposing its zero-sum perspective onto our politics, and no surprise it is leading to volatility and animosity. We conservatives are tempted to celebrate Obamacare going down in flames, or a revelation about the president’s treachery, or a left-wing stratagem gone awry, or the obliteration of an absurd bill as victories. And they are, of a temporary sort.
We conservatives are so starved for hope that we are not able to see as vividly the path towards national rejuvenation as we do the immense obstacles looming before us. These obstacles have become concretized in the form of personal enemies, rather than remaining abstract impediments in the way of propelling our country towards shared stability and prosperity. This is a dangerous development indeed.
It is not that conservatives should bear the brunt of the blame here. After all, we mostly just want to be left alone. It’s not that we don’t care about others, it is that we want to care about them ourselves. Progressives want to care about everyone through the aegis of government and wind up harming many and hating those who don’t share their point of view. In effect, lefties impose their “caring” on people whether they want it or not.
And thus, if you reject the left’s “caring,” then you don’t care about everyone, and thus you are hateful and bigoted. There is no way to cut this Gordian knot with leftists. They are always going to hate us and will never leave us alone, so long as we believe our lives, our minds, and our agency belong to us personally as individuals.
Thus, there are really very few moments when we conservatives can celebrate. One of them is after we beat back the hordes in a crushing election, as in 1994 and 2010. These victories buy us a moment’s respite from the left’s insane totalitarian scheming. Another is when an outrageous proposition from the left that threatens our freedom and way of life gets shot down in flames. The actual defeat of Obamacare would provide us with such a breather.
But simply watching the left self-conflagrate is not enough to make conservatives truly happy. What makes us happy is when we as a country win together. Sounds cliche, but it’s true. And this is not accomplished by bullying others through government, but by willingly tending to one another’s needs and wants.
It seems lost on some people that this is what the free market is based on: voluntarily serving one another through the facilitation of capital. So there is some opportunity for inroads there. What some on the right seem to lose sight of is that capitalism is the system precisely under siege, because it is a barrier on the left and the state’s totalitarian designs.
Regardless, leftists and statists will not relent until they forcibly collectivize us into a system where they call all the shots. Therefore, being a “conservative” means always being willing to resist tyranny. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Yet there comes a time when a movement devolves into a rear-guard struggle instead of the advancement of a visionary agenda.We must remember with Lord Acton that “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.” It is too easy to frame liberty as the mere negative of the statist agenda, instead of the empowering and ennobling value that it is.
If we want to win the hearts and minds of more of the American people, we must never forget that there is a danger in backsliding. Simply pointing to The Constitution is fine, but it does not by itself advance the vision of a free nation. That is because The Constitution is widely and erroneously perceived as a limiting document and not an empowering one.
The prerequisite for anyone to speak politically on conservatives’ behalf must thus be that he openly and ardently advances the causes of liberty, individual rights, and free market enterprise, whether campaigning or while in office. We must fix that firmly in mind as the lead-up to our potential victory in the upcoming elections unfolds. We are here to promote the cause of liberty, and not merely to tell the left what it can’t or shouldn’t do.
Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker and Own the Narrative, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.