Out of The Swamp

War on Guns has a few interesting posts going on, one of which caught my eye.

So I’ll be receptive to anyone who comes up with a plan to help guide us out of the swamp. But what I have to question is, why should anyone, right now and from this day forward, think that such an effort will be best served by continuing in a direction the candidate himself has ceded will lead us to a dead end?

I don’t think that at this point, we can put our faith in men. In order to bring about a more perfect union, we need something bigger than Ron Paul, bigger than the political process, and that subverts the progressive edifice that was erected throughout most of the 20th century. It won’t be a quick fix, or an easy one, but I believe it can be done. I don’t believe that Claire Wolfe is correct, that it’s too late to work within the system.

To understand why we have found ourselves in this situation, I think we first have to look at how the progressive movement, throughout most of the 20th century, have triumphed. Most of it boils down to the fact that progressives are just much better at using government as a tool to achieve their ends. I’m reminded of a comment left by Dave Hardy over at Bitter’s site last year:

I’m told that at my agency, after Clinton’s election, the Demos planned to oust middle level management (Senior Executive Service)… until they figured out that after 12 years of GOP control, it was still almost all liberal Democrats! The conservative GOP had never bothered to promote their own. I know of at least one case during those years in which a moderately conservative republican careerist, with incredible skills in the area, was passed over for promotion in favor of a liberal Dem, simply because the latter had a few more years experience and so it seemed fair. The Dems would never had made that mistake. In fact, they would not have seen it as a choice. The liberal would have been seen as more intelligent, and the conservative as stupid and out of touch, so it wouldn’t have been seen as a partisan matter at all. The libs, in short, are self-confident in using government, and the conservatives are quite uncertain.

Read the whole thing. In this same vain, I would also point out that conservatives (for our purposes here, I’ll use the term to mean the coalition of libertarian conservatives, social conservative, and foreign policy hawks that make up the Republican Party), acting through the Republican Party, have been dismally unsuccessful at shaping the course of the federal judiciary. Currently there are only two Democratic appointees on the Supreme Court, but it is widely regarded that there are only four conservatives. John Paul Stevens was appointed by Ford, Souter by George H.W. Bush, and Kennedy by Reagan. By all means the federal judiciary should be, by now, overwhelmingly more like Justice Thomas, Roberts, Alito and Scalia rather than like Justice Breyer and Stevens, yet it is not. Ever since FDR, liberals have been masters at stocking the federal court system, and conservatives have been amateurs. Judges today use a presumption of constitutionality, rather than a presumption of liberty, when engaging in judicial review of legislation, and are willing to uphold some pretty awful laws under this regime.

But this just outlines a few major areas where conservatives have failed. It’s not an underlying explanation for why conservatives have failed. After all, if the population were overwhelmingly dedicated to conservative principles, we would have no problem keeping the left out of key institutions. The chief reason we have failed is because we have a population that is not overwhelmingly dedicated to conservative principles. If we want conservative ideas to win, if we wish to have to compromise with the middle less often, if we wish to shift the middle in the direction of liberty, the only way to do that is to begin to seize the social institutions that can accomplish that back from the progressives.

Chief among these social institutions is our education system, which has been all but completely hijacked by progressives. It’s worthwhile to note that the Pledge of Allegiance was created by a socialist as early as 1892, and meant it to teach obedience to the state to the Nation’s youngsters. If we want to reverse the progressive slide, we have to make progress in academia, particularly in topics that tend to feed the political elite, such as political science, law, and economics. The good news is, we’ve pretty much won on economics, and I think we’re making progress in law. But that’s really just the beginning; I think we also need to push into the public education system if we want to have an impact long term. We need to be supporting educational groups like The Bill of Rights Institute, FIRE, Institute of Justice, The Federalist Society, and ACTA. Many of these groups are not overtly political, but that’s the point. The progressives undermined pro-liberty ideas through slow subversion, and we need to use the same tactic on them. It can work, it will take time, but in the end if we don’t win on education, we lose the battle, because the system will keep turning out reliable progressive voters, progressive judges, journalists, professors, and bureaucrats. Education is just one key, but it’s the only way you change minds, create opinion leaders, and grow your movement.

3 Responses to “Out of The Swamp”

  1. Bitter says:

    Well said.

  2. Mr. Bruce says:

    Some naive observations:

    As a gross generalization, liberals like having power over others; conservatives don’t.

    Those conservatives who do want to have power over others find it easier to join liberals and use their established paths, than to persuade reluctant conservatives.

    Liberals admire unlimited covert power. Conservatives admire limited overt power.

  3. Ian Argent says:

    I’m not thoroughly sure I want the kind of conservative who WANTS power. The problem, of course, is that I don’t want the liberals who HAVE the power either.


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