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An appeal to my reasonable conservative friends:

Important: if you are not reasonable and open-minded, don’t read any further. I’m not looking for “zots.” I’m looking for reasonable people who are serious about making the right choice. When I know I’ve chosen wisely, I feel at peace, without doubt in my mind, and start to get excited – like Chrissy Mathews, I get “that tingle.” How do you feel when you know you’ve made the right choice?

At this point, you’ve been following the primary race for months, and that means you are looking to make the right choice. Are you aware of how important making the right choice is in this primary process? I agree, and that’s why it is important to keep an open mind. That’s why you’ve read this far, so you might as well hear me out.

Obama has made it clear that he is pinning his reelection efforts on class warfare. So, think about whom you would want the GOP nominee to be if you were Obama, and you needed a target for class warfare? I agree – Mitt Romney. Understand that Obama uses Alinsky tactics, and Alinsky tactic 13 is “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Simply put, it is much easier to attack an organization or an idea if you can ‘put a face on it’. If you can find a single individual who both represents your opponent, and who, given the right spin, can be portrayed as the face of evil, you can use this person as a proxy for your attacks on your adversary. What face would you put on the 1%? Mitt Romney.

You may think that Mitt Romney is a great guy, and a great example of success, and I agree with some of that (and certainly applaud his success), and I would add that you should have no doubt in your mind that this is exactly what Obama will do (stick a big, fat 1% on him), and you can imagine that he is licking his chops in anticipation of doing it. If Mitt Romney is the nominee, this is what the general election will look like. Click Here. No matter what he says or how well he says it, he will not be able to shake that label. How does that make you feel about Mitt? And it doesn’t help that he has a habit of making mistakes and saying the wrong thing. Click here. Even Romney booster John McCain no longer believes Romney can win. Click Here. Moving on.

Obama’s second trick is throwing “red meat” distractions to keep us from discussing the areas where he is most vulnerable, such as economic and foreign policy. The biggest distraction so far has been the contraception controversy. And Rick Santorum took the bait- big time. Rick Santorum is a great father with great moral values, but he is also a one trick pony. Social issues are important, but he just can’t stop talking about them, and that has gotten him in a ton of trouble. The issue isn’t that he talks a lot about social policy, the issue is that he just can’t change gears quickly enough to avoid the damage caused by Obama’s intentional deceptions and sleights-of-hand. Consider how many distractions Obama will throw out there if Rick is the nominee. We’ll be talking about birth control all the way through November. By the time Rick manages to shift the debate back to Obama’s weak points, it may be too late.

Rick also tends to make serious, and very public, mistakes. For example, he loses his cool very quickly. Click Here. Cringing? He also gets confused regularly – in this instance, he gives Obama credit for CREATING jobs, publicly, on CNN! Click here. Just imagine if he makes even ONE mistake like this in the months between the nomination and the general election. Understand the very real risk with Rick. How do you feel about that, given the stakes?

Please understand that all of this is just fact, and I understand that some of you will now feel a bit disturbed and unsure at this point. But, I digress.

Newt is a flawed man, but recognize that his flaws are less subject to substantive attack. For example, Freddie and Fannie? It may be a big deal in the Republican primary, but Democrats do NOT want to go there! Yes, he’s had multiple marriages, but how many times has Rush been married? Do you still listen to Rush, at least here and there? And, of course, Democrats cannot launch credible attacks on the subject of adultery – we can go there. Before I close, I urge you to do one thing, and one thing only… please watch this video – click here. You’ve read this far, so another minute or two won’t kill you. Click here. Now, how do you feel about this man going up against Barack Obama?

The above letter from J.M. Stein at Red Side of Life is so good, as is, that I chose not to break up his text with my comments.

Indeed, Stein makes a very compelling case. But if there is still any doubt in your mind, please consider a few additional facts:

  • Besides the “1%er” card that Stein says will be played against Romney, the Democrats also have their old favorite: the race card. Mitt is a very committed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormons, and until 1978, Mormon theology relegated blacks to a kind of second-class membership in the church. After considerable social and political pressure, the church’s “living prophet” declared a new “revelation” changing the previous position which had been held since the church’s inception. Already, many on the Left are raising a stink about this. We can be sure that if Mitt were the nominee, this ugly issue would only get uglier — much uglier. The Democrat-Media Complex will make sure of that.
  • The issue of contraception is problematic for Santorum not only for the reason Stein explains — namely, that the Left is skillfully and shamelessly using it to sidetrack discussion away from Obama’s staggering malfeasances in both foreign and domestic policy — but also because the driving force behind Obama is the “Shadow Party” funded by George Soros, who has an obsession with population control. Soros and other Agenda 21 promoters believe that world population must be reduced by literally billions of people. Santorum, the father of seven children — one of whom has Trisomy-18, a genetic disorder for which many Leftists believe abortion to be the only appropriate response — has the Left’s bull’s-eye on his back.
  • The Left surely will demonize Newt just as viciously as they would Romney or Santorum. That’s what the Left does — to anyone who opposes them. A key difference, however, is that Newt fights back. Like the late, great Andrew Breitbart, Newt is a “happy warrior” who both understands the Left, and loves taking them on. Plus, like Breitbart, Newt understands that Big Media is every bit as much our opponent as is the Democratic Party. He is smart, articulate and confident enough to be able to answer their attacks on the spot, without hemming or hawing. People in media continually try to nail Newt with their “gotcha” questions — but they never succeed.
  • America’s survival is threatened not only by terrorism and rogue states outside our borders, but by two major enemies within: communism and radical Islam. Yet, no other candidate besides Newt even mentions Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers and George Soros. Newt is the only one who seems to recognize — or at least, will publicly say — that Obama is not a misguided incompetent with well-meaning intentions, but rather a Marxist radical who believes America is more evil than good, and who is committed to destroying the freedoms that have made America great. As for radical Islam, while Rick Santorum recognizes the threat from Iran, and is very knowledgeable on national security matters, only Newt recognizes — and openly talks aboutthe giant strides that sharia (Islamic law) has already made right here in the U.S., thanks to CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MAS, MSA and the whole alphabet soup of Muslim Brotherhood-spawned groups that, despite proven connections to Hamas and other terror groups, are presented as legitimate “moderates” in our media and have infiltrated our government at high levels, including within the Department of Homeland Security.
  • We can look around and see the perfect storm of economic collapse, national-security threats and inflamed social passions that is converging on us. America is — whether or not we yet realize it — in as much danger now as Britain was in the spring of 1940. Almost too late, the British people finally recognized that Winston Churchill — whom they’d previously despised as “impulsive” and “arrogant,” whom they’d castigated for his “poor judgment” and “grandiose ideas” — was actually the best man, perhaps the only man, who could lead them through the crisis. I’m not saying Newt is Churchill — but having studied Churchill, I am struck by the remarkable parallels between the two. Just as Churchill saw who Hitler really was long before most of his countrymen woke up, Newt understands the dangers to America that many people have so far been unable or unwilling to see. Newt will help open their eyes — because, like Churchill, Newt has a gift for explaining things in ways people can understand. Just as importantly, Newt has the bulldog tenacity and unabashed can-do attitude that the nation needs in its leader if we are to make it through the tough times ahead. As we saw so clearly during the South Carolina debate — when standing ovations kept erupting as Newt spoke — Newt has, as Churchill did, the power to inspire.
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If you don’t know who Thad McCotter is, don’t worry; you will soon. The next GOP candidate debate is scheduled for August 11, and it’s safe to say that McCotter’s presence in the lineup will get a lot of folks’ attention. Let’s put it this way: he’s not only the tallest guy in the room, but the brainiest. Also, the wittiest — as anyone who’s seen any of his frequent appearances on FOX’s “RedEye” knows.

When I first heard the name Thaddeus McCotter several years ago, I pictured an older Southern gentleman, white-haired, with spectacles and an old-fashioned pocketwatch in his vest, complete with a fob… Colonel Sanders without the bowtie.  Whoa.  I was way off base. Turns out the five-term Michigan Congressman is lean and tall, relatively young, athletic (football and baseball), and the lead guitarist in a Congressional rock-n-roll band, the “Second Amendments.

Formerly the head of the Republican Policy Committee — the #4 GOP leadership position in the House — McCotter represents Michigan’s 11th district, which includes western and northwestern suburbs of Detroit. A Detroit native, McCotter is highly sensitive to the automotive industry which employs (or has employed) many of his constituents. This may explain several pro-union votes cast by McCotter that many GOP primary voters, myself included, may find troubling.

However, since there is no perfect candidate (“perfect” being defined as: “agrees with me 100% on every issue”), I have a one-free-pass policy: I give each candidate a “Get Out of Jail Free” card on one issue. I figure that’s as close to perfect as you’re ever going to get in an imperfect world — and in the particularly imperfect world of politics. And that’s just on the issues. The perfect candidate also needs to be someone who can win.

Let me tell you how close to perfect McCotter is. He has the sheer intellectual firepower of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann’s passion for the Constitution, the even temperament of Tim Pawlenty, the moral compass of Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain’s can-do American spirit. All that, plus a great sense of humor.

On the issues, McCotter is pro-life, pro-Israel, anti-Obamacare; he advocates lower taxes, reduced spending, small government, a strong defense, energy independence and Paul Ryan’s budget plan. He believes in responsible stewardship of natural resources but doesn’t buy the global warming hoax. The most recent piece of legislation he’s introduced is H.R. 2261, a bill to cut off United States contributions to the United Nations if if the U.N. goes through with recognizing an independent Palestinian “state” as planned this fall.

Actually, most of the GOP candidates share those views. I don’t understand conservative pundits who complain about the lineup of Republican candidates. I happen to think we suffer from “an embarrassment of riches.” Our candidates — those who have announced and the potential ones waiting in the wings — are fabulous, in my opinion, both in their stands on the issues and in their personal skills and experience. If anything, the problem is one of choosing between many excellent and virtuous people.

So what makes McCotter stand out? At least two very major things. First, he has a profound vision of the Big Picture — and, crucially, the ability to articulate it — that is reminiscent of G.K. Chesterton. Second, he has thought through, and deeply cares about, some hugely important issues that I don’t see anyone else in the GOP addressing:

1.  the very real challenges posed by globalization (jobs go to where labor is cheapest, even if that means prison and slave labor);

2.  the fact that Communist China is really and truly Communist, can not be trusted, and indeed is taking hostile action against us politically, economically, technologically and militarily;

3.  the fact that both for economic and for military security, we need a manufacturing base in this country;

4.  the crucial importance of “intermediating institutions” to the social fabric — churches, parent-teacher organizations, Kiwanis clubs, softball leagues, Boy Scouts, small-town chambers of commerce, etc. — without which society is hollowed out, reduced to isolated and vulnerable individuals on one end and an intrusive, overreaching government on the other. It is these intermediating institutions that help keep families and communities strong, strong enough to neither desire nor create an opening for the “nanny state.”

This last point is what Catholic social teaching calls “subsidiarity” — the principle that “human affairs are best handled at the lowest possible level, closest to the affected persons.” In other words, if a need can be met by one’s family, then the school or community should not interfere. If the local community can meet the need, then the state or its agencies should stay the heck out of the picture.

Thad McCotter “gets” all this on a deep, instinctual level — and that’s another reason his thinking reminds me of G.K. Chesterton, who was probably the most able exponent in the English language of the concept of subsidiarity. Many of our conservative candidates are “pro-family” — but precious few (Santorum is the only other one I can think of) explicitly recognize the crucial principle of subsidiarity, without which the bones of a pro-family stance have no flesh.

McCotter asserts that too many of us on the right, losing sight of subsidiarity, have become almost as ideological as our enemies on the left. We have gotten suckered into the ideology of “creative destruction,” which is not true conservatism at all. Here’s how McCotter explains it in his book, Seize Freedom!: “Creative destruction” is

the ideology that led “conservatives” to falsely think materialist panaceas — notably the chimera of “free trade” — would solve all problems between peoples.  Enrapt by this deceit, the heralds of “creative destruction” (for everyone but themselves) placed a greater value on saving five dollars on an imported shirt from a sweatshop than on defending the inherent dignity of individuals; than on ensuring fair competition and jobs for American manufacturers and workers; than on securing the national security of the United States from predatory nations like Communist China; and, yes, than on preserving the moral foundations of American culture, which secures and sustains our free-market prosperity.

I like and trust Thad McCotter because he espouses the basic, common-sense truth that I first heard articulated by Mike Huckabee back in 2008: To be secure and to remain free, our country absolutely must be self-sufficient in three things — food, energy and defense. Did you know that we have been outsourcing various defense-systems components? Not to mention that we import many of the machine tools that we need for manufacturing the components that we do still make here. Unlike any of the other candidates, Thad McCotter prioritizes not just “jobs” in the abstract, but specifically the necessity for America to restore its manufacturing base, which he calls our “Arsenal of Democracy.”

As for the “food” leg of the three-legged food-energy-defense stool, you will notice that McCotter is the only Republican candidate who mentions farmers. (He even put that electric guitar of his to use playing at a Farm Aid concert.) McCotter believes that the information-and-services economy so beloved by the liberal elites is no stable economy at all. A healthy, secure America, he says, is a nation of factories, and (significantly to this heartlander) “a nation of farms.”

As an admirer of E.F. Schumacher, Wendell Berry, and G.K. Chesterton, I love it that McCotter believes these things to his marrow. But the scheming political activist in me that wants to win elections rejoices that McCotter’s combination of conservative social values, strong-national-defense advocacy, and blue-collar (both factory and farm) sympathies will appeal to precisely those same working-class voters who enabled Ronald Reagan to win the White House, introducing the term “Reagan Democrats” to the American political lexicon.

McCotter can win those people in the middle who voted for Obama in 2008 because they’d bought the lie that Obama was a “moderate” and a “uniter.” Those people, now disillusioned, are more than ready to vote for a Republican, provided that they feel that he or she understands their concerns. Most importantly, Thad McCotter will win them not by watering down conservatism, but by explaining it so well that he will persuade people of the logic and rightness of conservatism. Just as Reagan did.

Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio says that McCotter represents an important part of the Reagan coalition that the GOP is going to have to win again to be a successful national party. “When my dad voted for Ronald Reagan, it was the first Republican he ever voted for,” Tiberi says. “He was a Catholic, a union worker, an immigrant. We need to reach voters like that who share our values but identify with the Democrats for demographic reasons.” McCotter, he says, “clearly and confidently communicates what he believes” in a way that “speaks to them.”

All right, enough about Thad McCotter. Check him out for yourself. Here he is in Whitmore Lake, MI, announcing his candidacy at a July 4th weekend “Freedom Fest”:

As you can see,  Joshua Sharf got it right when he said, “McCotter takes his politics seriously, but not himself, a rare characteristic in a politician.”

McCotter has a solid worldview, not just a set of talking points; a philosophy, not just a personal promotion strategy.

His book, Seize Freedom!, is available from Amazon; many of his speeches and interviews are online at YouTube (I’ve added one of my favorite McCotter speeches to the “Great Speeches” page here at this blog); and the best profiles I’ve seen of the man are at American Spectator and the New York Daily News.

Check out his campaign website, McCotter 2012.

As for me, I’m counting down the days until the Iowa Straw Poll. McCotter’s going to rock it — in more ways than one.

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In the wake of the Tucson murders by a lone psychotic, Allen West, for one, has no intention of eliminating military metaphors from his speech.

Via Booker Rising, when home-district newspaper the Palm Beach Post asked West if he regretted any of his choices of words in the past,

West said, “No I don’t, because I think when you look at the president saying don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, and the fact that the president talked about if the Republicans were to win in the midterms we’re going to have hand-to-hand combat….” He also said a blogger in Broward County had once said West should be skinned alive, so “I think there are some things that both sides need to be concerned about.”

…West, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, has said his references to “bayonets” and military imagery are metaphorical — and he has no plans to stop using them. “Now that I’ve been sworn into Congress I’m still the type of person that, if there are means by which I can inspire people, I will use historical references and metaphors, which is what I have done. But my background is, I am a tough guy and in tough times we have to use a little bit of stronger language when you start talking about the future legacy of my country,” West said.

The contrast between Allen West and too many other Republican politicians is brilliantly limned by Marc Tracy, columnist for the West Palm Beach Conservative Examiner

Many Republicans either choose to stay quiet or attempt to dismiss the accusations as being ridiculous.  Congressman West chose to confront the liberal “opportunism” as he knows best, by explaining that he is not about to change who he is because of the actions of a psychotic gunman or the fevered efforts of Democrats to falsely blame conservatives for causing the violence in Tucson.

West’s response to the incident and subsequent political firestorm speaks volumes about the differences between how the right and left view humanity.  Liberals view humanity as perfectible, a grand experiment that always has an answer if you just delve deep enough into the “root” problems.  Politics aside, liberals must have someone or something to blame when incidents like Tucson occur, otherwise their ideas about humanity would collapse.  Because [liberals believe that] people are malleable in all ways, someone or something else is to blame for the shooter’s acts.  His family, his employment problems, perhaps someone treated him poorly at school or he received too much/too little affection as a child, and this combined with the spark of the “violent” conservatives to push him over the edge and thus we have cause and effect.

Conservatives like Ronald Reagan and Allen West see it a bit differently, understanding that the environment of any individual may play a role but never the determining factor.  [emphasis mine] A friend of Jared Lee Loughner was interviewed in Mother Jones magazine.  In the interview the friend theorized that Loughner committed this heinous act “mainly to just promote chaos.” Comparing him to the Joker character in the Batman franchise, the friend said Loughner “fucks things up to fuck shit up, there’s no rhyme or reason, he wants to watch the world burn. He probably wanted to take everyone out of their monotonous lives: ‘Another Saturday, going to go get groceries’—to take people out of these norms that he thought society had trapped us in.”  What understanding or blame could be discovered within the mind of such an insane person?

A conservative understands that evil exists in the world and that a person like Jared Loughner is not “malleable.”  No matter how difficult his family life or whatever sad rejection he could not accept, this murderous act stands on its own as evil without cause.  A political call to arms or campaign slogan could never be the reason for something like this, and those who would try to attribute these things to his act are diminished by their accusations.  The attempt to assign blame to conservatives sadly tries to take advantage of people’s natural response to ask “Why?”  Ultimately, the idea of blame rests solely on Jared Loughner, where it belongs despite the political machinations of the left.  Ronald Reagan once said “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Sarah Palin, Allen West and conservatives in general understand Loughner for who he is, a crazed psychopath immune to reason.  There is a time and place for politics and liberals must discover that an opportunity does not exist in every crisis.  Until that happens they will never truly understand humanity, both good and evil.

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As conservatives try to chart the way forward after the conservative sweep of November 2, some folks perceive friction between conservatives whose top priorities are economic/fiscal (the “FiCons”) and those whose top priorities are cultural/social (the “SoCons”).

This whole debate has always frustrated me, because I see the same principles — which I formulate here as 8 points — undergirding all of conservatism. I hold these truths to be self-evident — as well as inter- dependent with each other, and common to all branches of conservatism, including fiscal, social and the all-too-often-forgotten national-security/defense conservatism.

If FiCons don’t support these principles, then I’m not sure how they can call themselves conservatives. If FiCons do support these principles, then I don’t see anything much separating them from SoCons.

Please read this list. If you disagree with any of these 8 basic premises, please tell us what, and why, in the comment section. If you don’t see anything here that you take issue with, then maybe there’s more unity in our movement than some people think.

1.  Human individuals have inherent dignity, and in this dignity inheres a sacred right to be free.
2.  There is no freedom without corresponding responsibility.
3.  Responsibility is acting in accordance with truth and justice, not just from impulse or appetite.
4.  If the individual does not take responsibility for himself, outside forces such as government will step in to control him or her.
5.  The smaller the number of individuals who take responsibility for themselves, the more will government step in, gradually becoming tyrannical.
6.  Since tyrants necessarily prize ends over means,  individuals who are deemed insufficiently useful toward the tyrant’s ends become disposable.
7.  When some humans are deemed disposable, all humans are deprived of dignity.
8.  Where there is no dignity, there is no freedom.

Which brings us full circle back to point 1.

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One of my favorite “Christmas movies” is not on any “best Christmas movies” list that I know of. It’s a quirky little indie movie called Metropolitan, and it’s about a bunch of upper-class , mixed-up kids from Manhattan who’ve come home from college for their Christmas break. They go to debutante parties every night, and afterward, sit around with cocktails, talking for hours about sociological theories and the meaning of life.

Believe it or not, it’s hilarious. But there are some pretty serious themes in it for anyone who cares to find them. Metropolitan is a sort of modern version of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, much as Clueless is a modern take on Emma. Jane Austen is even explicitly mentioned at several key points in the movie — my favorite being this little snippet:

guy:  “Nearly everything Jane Austen wrote seems ridiculous from today’s perspective.”

girl:  “Has it ever occurred to you that today, looked at from Jane Austen’s perspective, would look even worse?”

Touché!  If Jane Austen could travel through time and plop down in Times Square, I daresay she’d be appalled. And I don’t just mean by the sexual lewdness, and the commercial garishness, but also by the general rudeness of people to each other — from people blasting up their car stereos so loud that it inflicts physical pain on people nearby, to the ubiquitous refrain of “whatever,” uttered snidely to dismiss another person without having to formulate a real reply.

I’ve often speculated about the huge popularity of all things Austen in the past fifteen years or so. What can modern Americans possibly find to relate to in Austen’s tales of the turn-of-the-19th-century landed English gentry?

Well, for starters, “common courtesy” — which is not so common anymore.  In our crude, brash, vulgar culture, Jane Austen’s world is a soothing balm to frazzled sensibilities.  The Golden Rule has not changed, and never will:  Treat others the way you would like to be treated. For all our cynical posturings, every one of us, deep down, would like to be treated with civility and respect. The oft-scorned traditions of chivalry and Emily Post etiquette were really just adaptations of the Golden Rule designed to train us to behave in accordance with that rule even when we don’t feel like it.

What strikes me whenever I read Jane Austen or watch one of the film adaptations is how considerate of other people her heroines are. Even the relatively abrasive Emma earnestly tries to do right by the people around her. To her neurotic, “high-maintenance” father, who would drive most people to distraction, she is unfailingly gracious and kind.

In Austen’s society, even people who secretly despise each other are polite and don’t make a scene. Our generation tends to dismiss that as “hypocrisy” — but maybe it’s just a matter of having the decency and good sense to not make life any more difficult than it already is.

It’s been many years since I’ve heard psychologist Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the radio, and I don’t remember anything she said except one thing, because she repeated it often. People would call in — especially in the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — worried about how they were going to deal with some difficult person during the anticipated family gatherings — a domineering in-law, perhaps, or an obnoxious cousin, an estranged sibling, an ex-spouse.  She would always tell them:  “You don’t have to like them. You only have to be polite.”

Whenever I read Austen, I learn much from her heroines’ unfailing solicitousness toward others, their tolerance of those they find personally irritating, their good manners even when under stress. Human beings tend to revert to old habits when they’re stressed, so these characters’ training in civility must run very deep. A wise man said, “We can’t make people be good — but we can make that kind of society where it is easier for people to be good.” Austen’s era know this instinctively — and trained its young accordingly.

I also notice that Austen’s protagonists have very rich interior lives.  But a rich interior life — by which I mean a deep self-knowledge, and the keen perceptiveness about others that that can bring —  may only be possible in an environment that affords enough quietness to literally hear oneself think.

Finally, the biggest difference between Austen’s society and our own may be the behavior of men toward women, and vice versa. Don’t get me wrong; I would never want to go back to a time when women had no career opportunities to speak of and no freedom to travel alone, were discriminated against in countless ways, and were often treated like children. No, what I’m speaking of is civility. If you’ve read Austen (or watched the film adaptations), you know what I mean. Whatever their follies, the people of Austen’s time at least had enough sense to acknowledge what so many moderns have forgotten:  Men and women are different.  And that’s not something to wring one’s hands about, but to celebrate. A society that ignores or denies such a huge, basic fact is going to be a society with a lot of dysfunction. You end up with divorce and abortion and people numbing the pain with every imaginable drug.

Perversely, “progressives” either actively promote the dysfunction, or misguidedly advocate things that will make it worse. “Political correctness,” for instance, far from inspiring people to behave more decently toward each other, only exacerbates social friction and resentment — which people then vent by being rude toward others!

“Progressives” often think conservatism means wanting to “go back” in time. But they are the ones who keep wanting to go back — to ideas, such as Marxism, that have long since been shown by real-world experience to be out of touch with reality and hence, inevitably, catastrophic. Conservatives try to respect, not deny, timeless truths about human nature. The motivating principle for most conservatives I know — and very clearly for Allen West — is the dignity of the human individual.

Conservatives don’t treat each other respectfully because some agent of the political-correctness thought police is standing over us, threatening us with a lawsuit or a fine if we don’t. We treat each other respectfully because that’s the Golden Rule — and, knowing we are each made in the image of God, we do our best to live by it.

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