Saturday, April 27, 2013

Against the ‘New Normal’ - Obama's Acceptance of Permanent Decline

How refreshing. I had wondered if ANYONE in America worried, or even noticed, our stunning and precipitous decline these last 5 years

Are you alarmed by the counterterrorism failures increasingly evident as we learn more about the Boston terror attack? Don’t be. Former CIA director Michael Hayden has helpfully explained, “This tragedy is the new normal.”

Are you surprised that a whole city was ordered to “shelter in place” as one “knockoff jihadi,” in Vice President Biden’s term, roamed the streets? Don’t be. It’s the new normal. Are you shocked by the Obama administration’s dissembling in response to terror attacks in Benghazi? Don’t be naïve. It’s the new normal. Are you worried that the president proclaims “red lines” to deter dictators from, e.g., using chemical weapons, then does nothing to enforce them? Don’t be unsophisticated. As Rep. Adam Smith, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, explained, “The president said it was a red line. What the president never said was what that meant exactly.” It’s the new normal. Are you startled that the commander in chief accepts defense cuts that the president’s own defense secretary said would be “devastating” and “a disaster” and “would inflict severe damage to our national defense”? Don’t be foolish. It’s the new normal.

And do you think, back home, that we might do better than slow economic growth, high long-term unemployment, mountains of debt, and a massive health care reform that’s a “train wreck,” in the felicitous term of the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who helped shepherd it through Congress? Didn’t you get the memo? It’s all the new normal.

By the way, the new normal is bipartisan. It’s of course true that the administration in power during this period of national decline has a particular interest in selling the concept of a new normal. It’s true that the idea fits uncommonly well with the fatalism that, beneath the airy talk of hope and change, lies at the heart of modern liberalism. But Republican elites aren’t immune to the charms of the new normal, which excuses subpar performance in so many areas.

So it’s apparently the new normal for GOP leaders in Congress to be more interested in exempting themselves from Obamacare than in laying the groundwork for repealing it, and thereby exempting all Americans. It’s apparently the new normal for GOP elites to spend all their time, money, and effort trying to quickly muscle through a poorly crafted immigration bill—which once passed will have irreversible effects—than trying to do anything significant for American workers or against crony capitalism. It’s apparently the new normal for GOP leaders, at once terrified and contemptuous of their own base, equally intimidated by donors and voters but uninterested in treating either group as grownups, to think they too can simply shelter in place, under the awning of the new normal. (One might add that, when it comes to the leaders of both parties colluding to preserve power and perquisites, the new normal bears a striking resemblance to the old normal.)

Normal Americans, we would wager, don’t accept the new normal. For one thing, they remember being told that all manner of problems, from the existence of the Soviet Union to economic stagflation to high crime rates to welfare dependency, had to be accepted as normal. Both party establishments were wrong in their earlier embrace of various pathologies deemed to be permanent. Why are they owed greater deference today?

There are times when the conservative party ought to be and has to be the party of normalcy, standing against utopian or destructive or foolish change. But there are times—and this is one of them—when a modern conservative party has to be the party that refuses to accept what is said to be normal. This is a time for a serious political party to point out that the new normal is merely a new excuse by the powers-that-be for their deficiencies and failures.

The historic task of American conservatism is not merely to defeat the liberal party in the next election, which, given the way things are going for this administration, shouldn’t be very difficult. It’s to refuse to accept, to boldly challenge, and to fundamentally reverse, an enervating “new normal” that would acquiesce in American decline and say farewell to American greatness.
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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Three Who Saved the West

Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Reagan
Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Reagan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My thought has always been that Reagan, Churchill, and Thatcher were the greatest leaders of the 20th century. They revived moribund economies, social systems, and military retrenchment. Along with John Paul II these 3 defeated socialism, fascism, Nazism, communism, and progressivism. Now that socialism has returned, who will rise to the challenge? God bless you Margaret Thatcher...T

And now the last of them is gone. Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II—three who won the Cold War and, it isn't too much to say, saved the West (at least for a while!)—are no longer with us. Their examples remain.

They knew what they believed but also knew they had to justify their beliefs, and that one could adjust prudently to circumstances without yielding on principle. They stood firm when in power, and they took risks to get there, challenging the conventional wisdom and the respective establishments of their nations or institutions. They were conservative but not nostalgic, and would counsel us today against excessive nostalgia for their deeds and their days. They would rather, I suspect, urge that we act in their spirit—what one might call a spirit of unapologetic but reformist conservatism.

Whittaker Chambers wrote at the end of his last letter to Bill Buckley, “Each age finds its own language for an eternal meaning.” So each age has to find its own leaders for an eternal task—the defense and renewal of civilization. The death of Margaret Thatcher is a healthy reminder to students of politics of the difficulty, the gravity, and also the nobility of this task.
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