People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

On Conservative Principles

Chad over at Commonwealth Conservative links here to Professor Bainbridge who links to this list of ten conservative principles by Russell Kirk. It is a fabulous list - as far as it goes.

I would refer conservatives who are working to give their belief system some definition to another point of view here.

Kirk does a marvelous job of delineating in his ten principles two of the "three pillars of conservatism," - those being social conservatism and economic conservatism. John Fonte, in his article in National Review, asks that we not shortchange the third; one we can call patriotic conservatism, a principle that manifested itself in years past in the form of anti-communism.

I would argue that the third pillar has actually gained dominance over the other two in conservative circles since 9/11. Except in left-leaning weblogs and in the dark recesses of the Democratic Party, communism has died of its own weight, but has been replaced with another global menace, one just as dangerous and, in some ways, more horrific - fanatical Islamist terrorism

The reaction to 9/11 and the expansion of patriotic conservatism can explain the profligate breakdown in governmental spending controls at a time when conservative Repblicans are ostensibly in charge of the pursestrings in Washington. All eyes are on the murderers who are plotting to slaughter our children and grandchildren and we have temporarily been distracted from our ongoing goal of budgetary restraint.

In any case, all this is worth learning - and living.

Thanks, Chad, for the link.

Let Us Govern Ourselves

I wrote recently about an initiative put forth by Roanoke's city council (reported in the Roanoke Times) seeking permission from Richmond to allow for local referenda (here). It is a simple request for citizens there to be allowed to voice their opinions on local matters. A subsequent editorial in the same paper (cited here) attempted to trash the idea, arguing that our representative democracy works fine as is and that our participation in the process should extend only to electing those who will assemble and determine what laws we will be allowed to have.

Kimberly Strassel, writing for The Wall Street Journal, makes clear that the battle ahead is going to be a real struggle:
This Land Was Your Land
By KImberley A. Strassel

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Reformers, take note. There's a big lesson to be learned from this state's ongoing, bare-knuckle fight over property rights. Ballot initiatives are all well and good, but they are only half the equation. First, voters must boot judges who legislate from the bench.

Oregonians, like many others, have been fighting to force their state government to honor property rights. Like reformers in other states, residents here had seized upon the one tool more powerful than entrenched state politicians: the ballot initiative. In 2000 and again in 2004, voters passed measures to protect landowners from state regulations that reduced their property value.

Yet nothing has changed. This is because initiatives are only as powerful as the court system lets them be. Two separate judges struck down the property measures on embarrassing legal grounds. And voters can't count on a state Supreme Court that revels in meritless decisions to right things on appeal. (link requires subscription)
Make no mistake. The establishment is going to fight us on this. And the judiciary is, after all, part of the system that keeps us virtually powerless. In many states, you have the ability - today - to deal with incorrigible judges; judgeships are elected positions (39 states elect all or some of their judges). In other states, judges are appointed, making the task much more difficult.

But change is coming, people. We are not on this earth to maintain the massive, burdensome, and completely feckless government bureaucracy we now have, regardless how indispensable these people think they are to maintaining life as we know it.

Referendum - democracy - is our future. Prepare. As a famous American once said: "We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."

Quote of the Day

The unending argument in political philosophy concerns constantly adjusting society's balance between freedom and equality. The primary goal of collectivism -- of socialism in Europe and contemporary liberalism in America -- is to enlarge governmental supervision of individuals' lives. This is done in the name of equality.

... one of the collectivists' tactics is to produce scarcities, particularly of what makes modern society modern -- the energy requisite for social dynamism and individual autonomy. Hence collectivists use environmentalism to advance a collectivizing energy policy. Focusing on one energy source at a time, they stress the environmental hazards of finding, developing, transporting, manufacturing or using oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002 [ in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge], there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism.

George Will, "Our Fake Drilling Debate," Washington Post, December 15, 2005 (link)

A Republican To Keep Your Eye On

Mitt Romney isn't as conservative as I am. But neither was Attilla the Hun. Still, Mitt, who is far more conservative than is our sitting president, has a lot going for him. And he appears to be setting himself up for a race in 2008 for the White House:
Massachusetts Governor Won't Seek Second Term
PAM BELLUCK, New York Times

BOSTON, Dec. 14 - Gov. Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he would not seek a second term next year, an announcement widely interpreted to mean that he will run for president in 2008.

But while Mr. Romney, a Republican, appeared to be positioning himself for a presidential run for much of the past year, on Wednesday he would say only, "I'm keeping my options open."

Mr. Romney, who was elected governor of Massachusetts by casting himself as a social moderate, has also been emphasizing socially conservative positions on issues like stem cell research, the death penalty, same-sex marriage and the morning-after birth control pill - positions more likely to appeal to the Christian conservatives who are influential voters in Republican presidential primaries.

On abortion, Mr. Romney has reframed his views. During an unsuccessful bid in 1994 for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's seat, Mr. Romney said abortion should be "safe and legal." But last summer, he wrote an opinion article in The Boston Globe saying he did not believe that abortion should be legal. (link)
Sounds good so far. I'll be keeping an eye on this guy. Although I still hold out hope ...

I Feel This Need To Apologize ...

Let's see. When did slavery end? !862 in the sections of the USA that were in rebellion with the Emancipation Proclamation? 1865 with the 13th amendment to the Constitution? And how old was I at the time? And how many slaves did I own? Did I even have ancestors in this country in the days when slavery was an established institution?

So why do I feel the need to apologize for slavery - again.

Here's a snippet from an editorial in the New York Times reminding us all, once again, that we should feel collective guilt for something that people we don't know did to people we don't know, and in both cases to people I am not related to.
A Convenient Amnesia About Slavery
By Brent Staples

By conveniently "forgetting" slavery, Northerners have historically absolved themselves of complicity while heaping blame onto the shoulders of the plantation South. (link)
Brent strikes me as the sort of guy much like Bill Clinton; a man who can anguish over something far removed from his life - like slavery - and ignore the world around him where such things still occur. Brent doesn't concern himself with the plight of the young girls in Sudan who are - today - being sold into slavery. He'd rather shed tears over nameless, faceless people who were wronged 140 years ago.

I'm going to let you do the apologizing, Brent. Your kind seem to get some twisted inner satisfaction from it. If memory serves, it was our former president - your buddy - who flew to Africa, where slavery still predominates in certain areas, apologized for slavery in the USA way back when, and flew back into Monica's ... arms and their hide-the-cigar goings-on.

I apologize to nobody for wrongs I didn't commit. Take your whine somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.

A Man And His Career

You want to know how you can tell when a man loves his job? It's when he's willing to do what the rest of us wouldn't do - and enjoys the opportunity. I may have mentioned a couple of weeks ago a business trip to Boston that had me flying in after midnight and not allowing me to reach a bed in my hotel until well after 1am. If I didn't love it ...

Well, Lt. Rhett Fleitz of the Roanoke Fire Department feels some kind of urge to drive half way round the world to check out exhaust systems. Say what? I've always wanted to do that. Haven't you?. Check it out here.

Actually Lt. Rhett does yeoman's work in shedding light on an organization dedicated to saving lives and maintaining order in a chaotic world. His is a great site for knowledge and information.