The 2021 Inauguration Day edition of The Status Quo: An Electronic Newsletter is dedicated to those who were not able to say goodbye to a loved via social media. From traumatized health care workers to suffering families, the pain so many endure today must fuel a movement to not only reform our governments from the ground up but also motivate us to hold accountable those enemies, foreign and domestic, whose actions and inactions have caused so much pain and suffering. Since we already know how badly we failed each other, we must document for future generations which government officials besides the former fake President of the United States betrayed us and which government offices besides the Office of the former Vice President failed us. For if we fail to hold our elected officials accountable, we will betray the memory not only of those who died needlessly but also the memory of those who sacrificed their lives to preserve a government of the people and for the people. We simply have no other choice if conservative principles are to survive.
As the third decade of the 21st century dawns, Americans can take pride in having achieved the impossible. Despised around the world for decades, Americans have reached a new low in foreign relations. In 2020, Americans were not only despised around the world but are now held in contempt by their enemies and pitied by their allies. Pitied by their allies for supporting a pathological liar who left them to fend for themselves in the face of a global pandemic while being held in contempt by their enemies for allowing career politicians to divide them into warring camps, the American people must understand the consequences of abandoning personal responsibility and embracing a corrupt political process beholden to money. How much longer will the American people tolerate a broken Legislative branch? It is destroying the future of our children and grandchildren.
For over twenty years, this Veteran has demonstrated how easily career politicians are manipulated into serving interests other than the national interest. Two examples of this manipulation should provide ample evidence of just how easily career politicians both red and blue are used to serve interests other than those of the American people. In 2003, many Americans first became familiar with the term Neoconservative or Neo-con. Neo-conservatism is or was a political movement born during the 1960s among liberal hawks (war mongers) who became disenchanted with the increasingly pacifist foreign policy of the Democratic Party. These warmongers became disillusioned with the growing political power of the “New Left” and their desire to end the war in Vietnam. They saw the anti-war protests as somehow damaging to American foreign policy and they labeled the “New Left” anti-American. Sound familiar?
As much pain and suffering as “Neo-cons” brought to the U.S. Armed Forces, their families and the Iraqi people, the newest group of charlatans manipulating our elected officials are aiming to inflict a different type of damage on our country. These charlatans are Neo-Christians. These new or “neo” Christians represent a new form of Christianity; one that embraces greed and lust for power while discarding compassion for the suffering of those in need. It is their hope that they can turn Jesus Christ into a partisan political tool and in many instances they have succeeded. Some call themselves Evangelicals while others call themselves Fundamentalists but what they are not is Christian.
The real damage these Neo-Christians are inflicting upon America is that they are displacing two of conservatism’s core principles with an unmitigated lust for power and a greed that knows no bounds. The displaced principles referenced above are an adherence to the rule of law and a personal commitment to the Judeo-Christian values that once made America the last best hope of mankind. This displacement has left the Republican Party a political organization without honor. The fact that these Neo-Christians reject the rule of law by embracing poor governance is why our former fake President failed to protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic. No better example exists to prove this assertion than how our former fake President dismissed warnings from multiple U.S. intelligence services that Russia prevents a clear and present danger to America and the Neo-Christians still supported him. The damage Russia has done to our government is only now coming to light.
If conservatives are truly afraid that President Biden or any other Democrat is going take away their guns, expand the federal government to rival the bureaucracy of the former Soviet Union and dismantle our national defense, they must coalesce around the principles of good governance, fiscal responsibility, a strong but intelligent national defense, a limited exercise of federal authority, and the true tenants of free enterprise. Moreover, conservatives must do these things while shedding the career politicians and the lunatic fringe created by our former fake President in favor of women, minorities who have suffered from an oppressive system of injustice and most importantly those Americans who have turned away from Christianity because so many of its leaders both Catholic and Protestant have made Christianity appear so perverse. Unfortunately, this will not be easy because the party of conservatives no longer exists. The fire sale for its proverbial soul occurred 4 years ago and the buyer was Donald J. Trump – the now former Fake President of the United States (FFPOTUS).
Greedy Old Patriarchs and the Lunatic Fringe
When Rudy Giuliani is the spokesmen for a fake President, it is time to acknowledge that truth no longer has a place in the Republican Party. When Ted Cruz becomes the arbiter of truth, we must understand the truth will never see the light of day. When Lindsay Graham embodies the idea of self-sacrifice, the idea loses its meaning. It is time to remove the cancer of political expediency that has spread throughout the Republican Party since the first great lie was told by a Republican President in 2003. The Republican Party has now propagated two despicable lies and its members do not seem to care to hold those responsible accountable. What is ironic is that only the core principles of conservatism can save America from the coming tide of failed social programs, a weakened national defense, and a renewed effort to place blame where it does not belong. Let Conservative Americans place the blame where it belongs and the first place to start is with Donald Trump and his lackey Mike Pence – the most dangerous Neo-Christian of all.
Goodbye Principled Conservatism
By Bret Stephens, New York Times, October 30, 2020.
If Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court turns out to be the last major act of a one-term Trump presidency, it will be a fitting finale. Republicans, like the Federalist Party of yore, will consolidate power in the judiciary. Apart from that, they will have spent the past four years squandering their reputation, forsaking their principles, and trashing the kind of political culture they once claimed to hold dear.
As victories go, the word Pyrrhic comes to mind.
How did the conservative movement reach this pass? Hemingway’s great line about how one goes bankrupt — “gradually, then suddenly” — seems apt. But the tipping point arrived on a precise date: July 20, 2015. That was the day Rush Limbaugh came to Trump’s political rescue after the developer nearly self-immolated with his remark that John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, refusing early release at the price of gruesome torture, should not be considered a war hero.
“This is a great, great teachable moment here, this whole thing with Trump and McCain,” Limbaugh gushed. Americans, he said, “have not seen an embattled public figure stand up for himself, double down and tell everybody to go to hell.”
Here was a stunning moral inversion. Limbaugh turned public respect for McCain’s wartime record into an act of surrender to political correctness. And he treated Trump’s shamelessness as an expression of moral courage. It set the template for the campaign, and presidency, that followed. Every time Trump lied, broke a promise, humiliated a subordinate, insulted a stranger, bullied an ally, tweeted something vile, said something idiotic, threatened to blow up NATO, and otherwise violated moral, political and institutional norms, his appeal among the Republican base didn’t decline. It rose. As far as they were concerned, he wasn’t embarrassing himself or degrading the country. He was “owning the libs” — hoisting them, as his supporters saw it, on their own petard of priggish propriety.
This form of politics — not as a complement to statecraft, but as the outpouring of resentment — is what has come to define the conservative movement in the age of Trump.
Conservatives used to admire Edmund Burke. Not anymore, insofar as Burke stood for the importance of manners and morals to the health of the state. Conservatives used to admire Milton Friedman. Not anymore, insofar as Friedman stood for free trade, sound money and a balanced budget. Conservatives used to admire Scoop Jackson. Not anymore, insofar as the Washington state Democrat was a champion of the idea that human rights should stand at the center of U.S. foreign policy. Conservatives used to admire Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Not anymore, insofar as both Reagan and Bush believed in humane immigration reform, international coalition building, standing up to Russian tyrants and, when possible, making deals with Democrats.
In place of all this, what today’s debased conservatism now boils down to is anti-liberalism. Sometimes this resembles old-fashioned conservatism, particularly when it comes to economic regulation and the judiciary. At other times it has entailed undisguised reversals of past conservative positions, such as Trump’s appeasement of North Korea or his derision of the 1994 crime bill.
But anti-liberalism is not conservatism. At its principled best, conservatism holds that liberal ends — the right of the individual to enjoy the maximum degree of freedom compatible with the right of his neighbor to do the same — are best secured by conservative means. Those means are the practices, beliefs and institutions that, for the most part, lie outside the state: stable families, religious communities, voluntary associations, productive businesses, the habits of a free mind. Ultimately, the goal of conservative politics is to produce competent citizens capable of responsible self-government.
Anti-liberalism, by contrast, seeks self-serving ends through illiberal means. The ends are the benefits that accrue from the possession of political power, ethnic dominance, or economic advantage. The means are the demonization of competitors for power and the delegitimization of people, laws, and norms that stand for the ideals of an open society. In this sense, Trump’s Ukraine gambit was the quintessence of anti-liberal politics: a self-serving and secretive use of raw power to threaten the security of an embattled democratic ally in order to criminalize a domestic political opponent.
It’s true that Trump did not quite get away with that gambit, thanks to a courageous whistle-blower, just as he didn’t get away with some of his other his anti-liberal efforts, like canceling the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement, firing Robert Mueller or terminating DACA (for now). But if anti-liberalism can still meet effective opposition within government, that’s mainly because Trump is often an inept practitioner of his own brand of politics. Another four years in office, however, will only embolden him, entrench his cronies, and inspire his imitators.