Abortion and Silencing Dissent: Two "Great" Tastes That Taste "Great" Together

From EWTN:

A Northwestern University graduate student in chemistry became the first to be arrested under a new Chicago “bubble zone” law after he prayed the Rosary on a public sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. His attorney contends the arrest seemed to be part of a “pattern of intimidating conduct” against pro-lifers.

Joseph Holland, 25, was charged with disorderly conduct under a 2009 law that says a person cannot approach within eight feet of another without their consent within 50 feet of any health care facility “for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling.”

The law also bars intentional interference with any person entering or leaving any health care facility.
Holland said he did not approach or interfere with anyone on July 3, when he was arrested at the Near North Planned Parenthood facility. He reported that he was standing by the building praying the Rosary when a Planned Parenthood volunteer approached him and started yelling that he needed to move eight feet away.

Chicago police spokesman Roderick Drew told Fox News that according to the police report Holland “stood within an inch of the victim, prayed out loud at a high volume for over 10 minutes.” He allegedly refused two requests to move and “continued to block customer access” after being asked to clear the entrance by the person in charge of the facility.

Free speech? Naahh…There’s nothing the Left hates more than the possibility that somebody might inform women about the choice they make – as a debate I’ve been having with a truly despicable NewsReal commenter named Aspacia here and here makes clear, abortionism thrives on ignorance. That’s the truth, no matter how many of its apologists dishonestly claim the mantle of reason for themselves.

“American Right to Life’s” Misguided Pro-Life Profiles (UPDATED)

I recently came across a website called Pro-Life Profiles (hat tip: Lisa Graas), which evaluates the pro-life credentials of various center-right figures, from GOP candidates to conservative activists.  The first thing that’s important to note about the site is that it’s a project of American Right to Life.  ARTL proclaims itself the “personhood wing of the pro-life movement,” but according to the National Right to Life Committee, ARTL is a scam that does little more than raise funds from people who confuse them with the more well-known NRLC.  Who’s right?  I can’t say for sure, but I’m inclined to trust NRLC (despite some disagreements with them) based on my familiarity with all the work they undertake on behalf of the pro-life movement, whereas I know of ARTL doing no such work.  (UPDATE: In the comments, ARTL spokesman Bob Enyart claims the ARTL that ran afoul of NRLC was a different, now-defunct organization.) I report, you decided.

Their website seems entirely devoted to tearing down other pro-lifers as traitors to the cause (or at least insufficiently devoted), and that’s the exclusive mission of Pro-Life Profiles.  Admittedly, they have found several legitimate reasons for criticizing politicians such as George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and even Sarah Palin, and they’re correct to stress that the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement must be full, nationwide legal protection for the unborn as full human beings.  Unfortunately, in their zeal to reach the ultimate goal, they make profoundly wrong moral and practical arguments against various valuable, common-sense pro-life policies.

For instance, in criticizing Concerned Women for America and its president, Wendy Wright, ARTL argues that pro-lifers should not support laws that require obtaining parental notification/consent, or require being shown ultrasounds, before obtaining an abortion.  They claim that it’s immoral to support any law that tacitly accepts abortion’s legality, and that such laws are somehow counterproductive to the goal of legal protection for the unborn.  Among their arguments (many of them are vapid & repetitive, and life is short, so I’m only going to address the highlights):

ARTL: They don’t actually reduce abortions, and in fact may increase abortions.

ME: Simply ask yourself: does having to inform or get permission from your parents to get an abortion, does that make seeking an abortion easier or harder?  If a women sees an ultrasound showing that unborn babies aren’t simply a lump of tissue, is she more or less likely to go through with it?  Though these laws won’t prevent abortions in all cases, it should be obvious which direction they move things in.  In particular, does ARTL mean to deny the enormous power of ultrasounds to change people’s hearts and minds?

ARTL: It’s immoral to support any law whose end result still permits abortions to take place.

ME: You’re not giving abortion tacit approval by voting for something less than outright prohibition if outright prohibition is not an option available to you.  If it pushes the law in the right direction, and if it saves lives, it’s not only moral, but necessary.  Strategy is not an either-or proposition; you have to pursue every available avenue.

ARTL: “Thirty years of evidence also shows that the regulation strategy has failed to move the federal judiciary, which is mostly Republican and overwhelmingly pro-choice, toward the right-to-life position.”

ME: This is just stupid—who ever said they’re supposed to move the judiciary?  Reducing abortions legislatively and getting good judges on the bench are both important goals, but one has nothing to do with another.  Again, it’s not either-or.

ARTL: Such regulations “call upon our own judges to uphold laws that regulate killing the innocent, and thus turn conservative judges increasingly against the personhood of the unborn.”

ME: Their link claims that “Antonin Scalia has publicly stated that he would strike down any law that prohibited abortion in all fifty states, and Clarence Thomas has ruled that the public has the right to decide to legalize the killing of unborn children.” I don’t know what cases/remarks they’re referring to, but in Scalia’s case I suspect he was simply noting that, as a judge, he does not have the authority to criminalize abortion.  And unfortunately, he’s right: judges are not policymakers, and even the language of the 14th Amendment discusses “born” citizens, making any judicial abortion ban shaky Constitutional ground.  That’s why pro-lifers should fight for the Human Life Amendment.

ARTL: These laws “will keep abortion ‘legal’ if abortion is wickedly ‘returned to the states.”

ME: “Wickedly” returned to the states?  Short of a constitutional amendment, you can’t make much legislative headway until you return it to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade (and popular support for state abortion bans will certainly come before enough support to pass a national constitutional amendment).  Because abortion is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the states have the right to determine abortion policy.  Reverse Roe, and abortion automatically becomes illegal in those states whose pre-Roe abortion bans remain in effect, and the rest of the states get a fighting chance.  Pro-choice politicians would no longer be able to hide behind the Supreme Court.  This scenario is bad why?

It’s absurd to think parental notification laws would prevent full abortion bans.  Even if they did give tacit approval to the principle of choice (which they don’t), they’re mere legislative acts, and can be superseded by new legislative acts with a simple majority vote.

Absent in ARTL’s analysis is any recognition of Constitutional originalism, separation of powers, or judicial restraint.  Understandably-frustrating though it may be at times, the Founders placed clear limits on how political goals—even noble and essential ones—may be pursued.  In their view, how much should the pro-life movement respect the rule of law? If they think the ends justify the means, and that the Right should embrace judicial activism, they should come out and say so.  But before that, they’d do well to brush up on how past leaders reconciled human rights and constitutionalism, and think twice before condemning the rest of us as traitors to the unborn.

Journalism Is Dead in America, Exhibit #8,739 (Updated w/ Video)

Glenn Beck just had a stunning segment (Update: Ol’ Broad has the video) on the following story:

By now, you’ve probably seen the mob-scene that developed on the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.  This was planned for some time by the SEIU as part of a larger national event, their Showdown on K Street, which was shared with National People’s Action and thousands of other activists from MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups.

Prior to the main event on K Street in Washington DC, SEIU and company made a little pit stop.  According to Fortune magazine Washington editor Nina Easton, 14 busloads of riled up protesters unloaded on Baer’s private property and stormed up to his doorstep, while his teenage son was home alone.  Easton is a neighbor of Baer’s and had called to check on her neighbor’s son when she heard and saw all the commotion outside. Easton writes,

“Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

A blatant display of unhinged, left-wing mob extremism, and where is the media?  Last time I checked, angry, ideologically-driven mobs were supposedly really, really bad.

Boy, sure would be nice if an elected official or two were interested in pointing this sort of thing out once in a while……

Michael Medved: What Does “Get Back to the Constitution” Mean?

Michael Medved is, bar none, one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and eloquent guys in all of talk radio—which is why it’s such a shame that he devotes so much of his skill to deflecting substantive criticism away from the Republican Party.  Townhall’s Greg Hengler highlights the following exchange between Medved and a caller (h/t to Hot Air):

Here is a great exchange between a caller to Michael Medved’s radio show who’s obviously influenced by Glenn Beck’s daily mantras like “There is no difference between the two parties — they’re both ‘progressive’,” etc. Without naming Beck’s name, Medved goes off on this caller (read: Glenn Beck). Take a listen:

I’ll be the first to agree that Beck substantially overstates the similarities between Republicans and Democrats (in fact, I’ll go even further and say that Beck’s analysis often comes across as impulsive and poorly thought out), and this particular caller does not make his case well at all.  But while Beck overstates the problem, that doesn’t exonerate Medved from understating it.  He challenges the caller to provide a single example of an issue on which John McCain and Barack Obama were on the same page.

I’ll take that challenge, Michael: not only is McCain’s role in campaign finance reform the stuff of legend, but it could even be argued that he’s even more to the left here than Obama is.

I do believe that satisfies the original challenge, but let’s throw in a second, for good measure: immigration.  McCain is also infamous for his left-wing zealotry in favor of amnesty, and though he may have backpedaled ever so slightly in 2008 for political expediency, he incredibly ran an ad running to Obama’s left here as well, accusing Obama of playing a role in killing 2007’s amnesty bill.

Besides, being somewhat better than the alternative is still not sufficient to rise to the level of good.  Take abortion, for example—when your opponent gets caught red-handed on the wrong side of starving newborns to death in broom closets, it doesn’t take much effort to look good by comparison.

On almost every conceivable issue, John McCain’s conservative credentials have serious flaws, not the least of which was the mainstream conservative Club for Growth’s judgment that his “overall record is tainted by a marked antipathy towards the free market and individual freedom.”

I voted for McCain. I understand that half a loaf is better than no loaf.  I don’t demand 100% ideological purity from every single politician.  But the GOP’s lack of commitment to conservatism is bigger than a handful of isolated blemishes; it’s an identity crisis that caused and enabled many of the Bush presidency’s failings and led to the election of Barack Obama.  Will Medved admit that this is a real, legitimate problem?  How does he propose that we address it?  (And no, throwaway admissions that “Republicans aren’t perfect” don’t count.)

As to the third party question: it’s true that anyone who expects a third party candidate to actually win the White House is delusional, and I’m not aware of any existing third parties that deserve to be taken seriously.  But while many disgruntled conservatives may have mixed-up views of them, a decent third party might be useful in a different way: not as a replacement for the GOP, but as the catalyst for real GOP reform.  As long as Republicans keep limping along on life support, the Beltway types will take their every victory as an affirmation that they’re doing enough right that they’re justified in maintaining the status quo.  It’s doubtful that anything less than a real threat to Republican viability would be enough to force any real self-reflection.

What’s most shameful is Medved’s angry, impatient reaction to the idea that Republicans need to “get back to the Constitution”:

What does that mean?  Stop with the slogans! Talk to me about reality! Americans are out of jobs, there’s 10% unemployment in this country.  We are being spent into oblivion […] so why are you talking about pie-in-the-sky stupidity, fantasy land, kindergarten, childish idiot stuff?  I mean, and you are!

Regardless of Brian’s inability to articulate his message, the fact remains there is no way Medved does not know exactly what “get back to the Constitution” means.  He’s simply too smart, too informed, and too active a conservative intellectual not to.  Take the courts—did the GOP put up much of a fight against Sonia Sotomayor?  Federal influence in education, healthcare, and environmental & workplace regulations have obvious constitutional problems.  In many cases, the GOP has been on the wrong side of these questions, and even when they haven’t, often they fail to make an issue of the constitutional aspect (though there are a few bright spots).  Is restoring a proper understanding of & reverence for the Constitution no longer a major priority of conservatism, in Medved’s view?

This exchange was indeed educative, but not for the reason Hengler thinks.  It demonstrates that, while talk radio personalities like Michael Medved are a tremendous asset in some ways, in others they’re part of the problem.

Generation Y Conservatism

David Swindle has graciously linked my reaction to his Conservative Chessboard piece on NewsRealBlog, but notes that I didn’t opine on “the piece on the board which he and I both fall into,” that of Knights and/or Pawns:

As those of us from Generation Y (born from the late ’70s through the mid ’90s) are beginning to emerge into the political culture it’s time to start the discussion: what will be our role in helping articulate Conservatism? What distinguishes those of us in Generation Y from generations past? What sensibilities and life experiences do we bring to the project of defending American Freedom that differentiate us from those who came before us? In other words, what is Generation Y Conservatism?

An interesting question, though one I’ve honestly never given much thought to.  I may be a bit of an odd duck among young conservatives (I’m a 22-year-old college junior, for those just tuning in) in that I tend not to think in generational terms.  (In fact, one of the things that most grates me about Meghan McCain is how every other sentence she writes seems to be “as my generation knows,” or something similar, as if there’s something intrinsic in youth that somehow confers heretofore-unknown wisdom on someone.  But I digress…)

Conservatism

I suppose a good place to start would be with what I understand conservatism to be.  With paleocons, neocons, libertarians, value voters, and assorted mix-‘n-match varieties vying for control of the Right, we can pretty much forget about pleasing everyone.  But in short, the conservatism I espouse can be defined thusly:

“Firm belief in the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the form of government established by the US Constitution and explained in the Federalist, the arguments for union and human equality made by Abraham Lincoln, and the observations about human nature and democratic society made by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America; and following this wisdom to its logical conclusions.”

This means that truth is neither bound to the passage of time nor relative to any given place or culture, that essential human nature does not change, and that the Founding Fathers were right then, right today, and will still be right tomorrow.  This means standing for government by consent of the governed, not the progressive notion of rule by an unelected, unaccountable expert class.  On the other hand, constitutional government also means that we have the rule of law to check the passions of the people, because there are things neither majority nor minority should be able to do to one another.

This means that all men are created equal, endowed by God with an inalienable right to life (from conception to natural death), liberty (free of government control over actions or property, so long as one is not violating the rights of another), and the pursuit of happiness (it is not the role of government to enforce anyone’s conception of morality; however, this does not mean individuals or private groups should be indifferent to such concerns).

I believe in the free market, low taxes, law & order (though I lean against capital punishment), the right to bear arms, and an originalist interpretation of the Constitution.  I believe in ending abortion, an injustice every bit as odious as slavery; and defending true marriage, an essential institution for a healthy society.  I believe that government efforts to provide for the people foster dependence on government rather than improve lives.  I believe in the separation of church and state, but not of religion and public discourse; like Washington, I understand that, “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

I believe we should welcome immigrants who long to better their lives and truly join the American experiment, but not at the expense of national security or societal stability.  There is no “right” to US residency or citizenship, especially for those with no intention of truly becoming Americans or giving back to this country.  I believe in a truly color-blind society where all are judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I believe America has real enemies in this world, and cannot protect herself via isolation or appeasement.  I believe in peaceful conflict resolution if possible, but I also believe our words are worthless if our enemies know we lack the will to follow through with action.  I support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (if not their execution), President George W. Bush’s national-security and intelligence-gathering measures, and comprehensive missile defense.  I believe America must consistently maintain the most powerful military force on Earth, should never waver from her support for Israel’s fight for survival, and should never concede our sovereignty to foreign nations or entities.

Generation Y Conservatism: New Strategy, Same Substance

What, then, is different about Generation Y Conservatism?  For me, at least, its substance is unchanged.  I agree that David’s observations about distrust of non-government institutions, not putting all our eggs in the GOP’s basket, and distrust of elites are healthy, and should be aspects of everyone’s conservatism (though we abandon social issues at our own peril); but I’ve never understood these things to be lacking in past conservatism (inconsistently followed by self-described conservatives, yes, but not deficiencies intrinsic to the ideology).  Likewise, I believe open-mindedness is essential, but I’m always mindful of Chesterton’s reminder that the point of opening one’s mind “is to shut it again on something solid.”

Conservatism is that something.  I believe those who came before us—among them Locke, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Lincoln, Bastiat, and Reagan—got it right.  We Generation Y Conservatives are the inheritors of an incredible moral & intellectual legacy, and our task is not to remake conservatism in our image, but to faithfully pass it down to the next generation and proclaim its timelessness.

Generation Y can contribute its energy, its vigor, and its familiarity with the contemporary “lay of the land” in finding the most effective strategies for bringing our message to the next generation.  We can keep conservatism attuned to the latest communication technology.  We can fight the stereotype that conservatism is only the domain of the old, prejudiced, and affluent, and show our generation that the Left doesn’t have a monopoly on vibrancy, fun, and individuality.  We can apply our energy to keeping a critical eye on those in power, fighting the Left at every turn, and holding the Right to its own standards.  We can remain ever vigilant for ways to show our generation the real-world consequences of liberal promises, and demonstrate how conservatism has already passed the test of time.

Perhaps our biggest contribution can be fighting back against the Left’s stranglehold on American education, from public schools through college.  The nation’s youth are, at best, given an education that doesn’t include an understanding of why the Founders established the country they did, or, at worst, actively taught falsehoods that tear down the Founders, slander America’s character, and distort the very meaning of freedom.  Leftist academics are reinforcing youth’s natural tendency toward arrogance and turning it into a religion that rejects the wisdom of the past and casts old, dead, white guys are the enemy—and we all know how well that turned out with the Flower Generation.

It is up to us to pull the curtain away and show the world the Left as it really is.  David is absolutely right that understanding the Left’s true nature—its origins, tactics, and character—is essential to effectively countering it.  If you think liberals and conservatives are operating from the same premises on human nature, belief in the Founding Fathers, or even the same definition of freedom, you’re in for a rude awakening (Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is essential in this regard, as is familiarity with the writings of Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Croly, and other works of the early progressives).  The same goes for knowing how they fight and what they’re capable of (many people have documented and analyzed these things, but of particular value are Ann Coulter’s Slander and Guilty).

In short, I believe Generation Y Conservatives can embrace and reinforce our generation’s potential while countering the arrogance of youth and fighting for the timelessness of truth, justice and the American way.

Healthcare, Hatred & Hypocrisy

The Reporter has published my latest flagrant act of speech.  Here’s the Director’s Cut:

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Barack Obama’s national healthcare plan [PDF link] has met tremendous opposition—polls show ObamaCare becoming less popular the more America learns about it, and townhall protests have many politicians cowering under their desks.

It’s easy to see why—the Congressional Budget Office contradicts Obama’s cost predictions almost as soon as he makes them. His promise that you can keep your current plan contradicts his campaign-trail desires to use a public option as a bridge to single-payer.  Despite claims to the contrary, FactCheck.org says ObamaCare will cover abortions, and the Congressional Research Service says it’ll likely end up covering illegal immigrants.  Countries like Canada are moving away from government and towards the free market to remedy their disastrous nationalized systems.

The Left is retaliating as they always do: demagoguery.  House leaders Nancy Pelosi & Steny Hoyer call the protesters “un-American.”  Pelosi makes blanket statements about protesters “carrying swastikas.”  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls them “evil-mongers.”  The media routinely insinuates that anti-Obama sentiment is really just anger over a black man in the White House.

As usual, liberals are lying—most of the Obama-Hitler comparisons have come not from conservatives, but from followers of Lyndon LaRouche, a fringe figure who supports a single-payer healthcare plan even more extreme than ObamaCare.  MSNBC pondered the racism of those bringing guns to townhalls—while running selective footage hiding the black skin of the armed person in their video.

And lest you think their anti-hatred sentiment is sincere, recall the antiwar protests of 2002 onward, where Bush-Hitler comparisons (plus plenty of anti-Semitism) were all the rage (no pun intended).  Pelosi felt differently about “shouting down” opponents then—she told a group of Code Pink extremists: “I’m a fan of disrupters.”  As the Sweetness & Light weblog recently noted, there are over 16 million Hitler references at the liberal weblog Daily Kos—an organization embraced by Obama, Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Barney Frank.  Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Robert Byrd, Rep. Keith Ellison, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann have all compared Republicans to Nazis.

Indeed, it was the “Lion of the Senate,” the late liberal icon Ted Kennedy, who arguably did more to debase modern political discourse than anyone in recent memory, with his famous screed that ““Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of the government.”

Former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe endorsed Michael Moore’s fanatic, lie-filled Fahrenheit 9/11, whose DC premiere was attended by “Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Montana Sen. Max Baucus, South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, New York Rep. Charles Rangel, Washington Rep. Jim McDermott, and others.”  Moore also attended the 2004 Democratic National Convention as the personal guest of President Jimmy Carter, who called Fahrenheit 9/11 one of his favorite movies.

Obama himself saw no problem exposing his children to the bigoted Rev. Jeremiah Wright for years, or numerous relations with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Will Ayers, including a 1995 political “coming-out” party, a favorable review of one of Ayers’ books in 1997, and more.  In 2008 he routinely said his opponents would say Obama “doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency.’”

Have some protesters acted badly?  Sure, every movement has its loons.  But so what?  It’s ridiculous to think the conduct of some conservative in Vermont should reflect on another in Wisconsin, and as anyone who’s ever tried to calm down Crazy Uncle Billy at Thanksgiving dinner should realize, it’s insane to expect that Michael Steele or Rush Limbaugh can somehow enforce behavioral lockstep among every member of a movement comprised of millions of people.

Indeed, if you think only bad movements have extremists, look up abolitionist John Brown sometime.

What matters is the character of the majority and the responsibility of the leadership, and here conservatism leaves liberalism in the dust.  For instance, a few fringe conservatives embrace the Obama birth certificate conspiracy, but most—the Republican National Committee, National Review, Human Events, the American Spectator, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, John Hawkins, and more—have rejected it.  Can the Left say the same about “blood for oil” in Iraq, or President Bush’s National Guard service?

Savagery is at the Left’s core (as a stroll through the comment threads on fdlreporter.com can confirm).  It’s all about intimidating dissenters into silence.  Yesterday’s cherished hallmark of democracy is today’s intolerable act of treason.  Don’t fall for their lies—and don’t let them get away with their own sins.

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Once again, the comment section is a merry menagerie of missives from morons & malcontents (with a couple much-appreciated exceptions)—you’ve got the inability to distinguish between sweeping generalization and specific statement of fact, or between ordinary expression of disagreement and genuine hate speech; the standard-issue big business boogeyman (sorry, guys, but not quite), blurring the distinction between “reform” and a specific plan of “reform,” a groundless insult toward Hillsdale College (a conservative school, yes, but I daresay you’ll find more ideological diversity—both among faculty and students—here than the average state school) and my personal favorite, Marvin49’s suggestion that I’m a plagiarist.  Again we see that Internet anonymity does wonders for the dissemination of slander.

Review: YAF 2009 Student Conference

Me at the YAF Student Conference in the nation's capital

I’m back from the YAF Student Conference, and it was tremendous experience.  The impressive lineup of speakers covered nearly all the bases—social, economic, and foreign policy conservatism; what to look for in higher education, how to get involved in the conservative movement, fighting back against campus discrimination & indoctrination, and more.  I urge you all to watch most of the videos of the speeches here, but here are some highlights I think are especially noteworthy:

– British statesman Daniel Hannan gave a stirring speech detailing the devastating effects of socialism in his country, and imploring us not to follow down the same road.  Hannan spoke with a sense of clarity, purpose, and urgency that puts every single one of today’s Republican officeholders to shame.  It was clear that the only things motivating him were a deep love for liberty and an understanding of what is at stake—not political self-preservation or some arbitrary rubric of acceptable political decorum.  Further, I can’t describe how compelling it was to juxtapose the heartfelt ode to America’s Founding Fathers given by this Englishman with the tumultuous early relationship between our two nations—Great Britain clamping down on the liberties of thirteen colonies, who committed outright treason leading to bloody conflict in response.  Mr. Hannan is one of today’s finest testaments to the bond of friendship that our two countries have shared since then, and I pray that that bond may once again be restored in full.

Dr. Burt Folsom, Professor of History at Hillsdale College
Dr. Burt Folsom, Professor of History at Hillsdale College

– Irish filmmaking couple Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney screened two documentaries: Mine Your Own Business, a look at the environmentalists’ anti-mining crusade; and Not Evil, Just Wrong, a rebuttal to liberal lies about global warming and DDT.  Both films are devastating indictments of the Left, not only offering effective & accessible explanations of the falsehoods in environmental hysteria, but also revealing the very real suffering caused by Al Gore’s & Co.’s chosen policies.  I defy you to watch these films and walk away believing that the Right’s biggest problem is that we’re too “negative.”

– One of the most powerful events of the week was Friday’s “Socialism Rebuffed: Young People’s Experiences with Tyranny” panel, in which representatives from Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union shared their experiences living under socialist rule.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and these four offered a chilling vision of what happens when not even the good intentions are left.  While listening, I could not help but wonder how many times mankind will have to run the same failed experiments before the lesson sinks in and we finally relegate socialism to the ash heap of history, and leave it there.

Me meeting Ann Coulter
Me meeting Ann Coulter

– A panel on the current state of the young conservative movement showed more cause for concern within the movement than was probably intended, thanks to a few words from Zach Howell, chairman of the College Republican National Committee. He stressed the importance of presenting ourselves as “calm and rational,” rather than “shrill and loud and, frankly, not too educated.”  In theory, this is defensible advice (and he was right about the example he gave—a few college conservatives celebrating Earth Day by idling their cars & wasting electricity for hours)—of course our message needs to be intelligent and clear, though it’s worth noting that it ain’t Buckley-style editorializing that has turned the tables on public support for ObamaCare, showing that while reason and prudence are important, passion is also important, as is recognizing that sometimes anger is not only warranted, but necessary, as in the cases of policies that hurt people or dishonesty from politicians.  It also begs the question: who on our side is shrill and irrational?  When asked to defend his assertion that “there’s a lot of shrillness and anger that comes from the right wing,” Howell took the coward’s way out, saying he wouldn’t “get into naming names,” yet there are “a lot of voices on our side” who are shrill and detrimental.  Why not name names?  Howell’s claim is only meaningful and useful if it can be substantiated with examples so that we can evaluate its substance.  Otherwise, it’s empty smear-mongering more suggestive of wanting to win the good graces of non-conservatives than clearly & honestly identifying problems on the Right.  One would hope for better from the leadership of the College Republican National Committee, but we shouldn’t be surprised to see this instead.

The main message I took away from the conference: Reports of conservatism’s demise are greatly exaggerated.  I saw last week a smart, vibrant assemblage of young conservatives.  Across America, scores of patriots are working to educate their communities, beat back the forces of liberalism and restore America’s founding principles.  But we need more.  No matter how much you see somebody else doing, no matter what the polls may say or how they change, no American should be content to sit on the sidelines.  The old adage that one vote can’t make a difference shouldn’t be an excuse for apathy but a clarion call to ensure that your contribution to your country doesn’t begin or end in the voting booth.  To quote Abraham Lincoln, “How hard, oh how hard it is to die and leave one’s Country no better than if one had never lived for it.”

The future
The future