An elected, sitting Dutch politician named Geert Wilders was recently invited by the House of Lords in England to show his anti-Islamic-terror film called Fitna, and to answer questions and discuss the film with the House.  One Lord, a muslim appointed by Tony Blair who has confessed himself “an Islamist,” protested and threatened to bring thousands of muslims to the House of Lords to wreak havoc if Wilders showed.  At first the House backed down, but under public pressure reinstated its invitation to Wilders.  Today, Wilders flew to England to show the film and was turned back as persona non grata at the airport under Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s secretary of state’s order, based on a “finding” that Wilders posed a threat to the security of Britain.  This is the first time an EU country has ever refused entry to a sitting official from another EU country. 

What threat does Wilders pose to the peace and security of Britain?  The film itself simply contraposes verses from the Koran with film of terrorist acts performed by muslims and statements from muslim preachers.  If the film makes no sense because the verses do not match the actions, who would be bothered (but in fact the film makes too much sense)?   And Wilders himself is not a threatening man.  So where does the threat come from?

The threat, obviously, comes from muslims in Britain who do not like the message in the film (or worse, perhaps, are just fine with the message but don’t like the fact that it’s being publicly exposed) and think they can bully the great nation of Britain into willful blindness.  This is known as “the heckler’s veto.”  It is anathema to free speech, and it is a truly sad day to see Britain fall victim to it.  I hope public outcry in England reverses this travesty.


So Obama’s cabinet keeps getting smaller as his appointments check their tax records (“Oh, hey, look at the time!”), and now Republican Senator Judd Gregg backs out of commerce — a post already abandoned once when Governor Richardson was caught with his hand in the pay-for-play cookie jar — because Gregg couldn’t stomach Comrade Obama’s trillion dollar Slushulus Package.  And The Messiah has only been in office three weeks.  If the fate of America weren’t at stake, this would be funny.

Congressional Democrats promised a bipatrisan bill and a 48-hour public review period for any stimulus bill, then wrote it in a closet and still (9 p.m. Central Time, Thursday February 12) have not disseminated the full bill even to Congress, much less posted it online for public review, and they want it voted on tomorrow, February 13.

So I’m wondering.  Is this massive incompetence, chutzpah, hubris, stupidity, or what?

Obama has now appointed not one but TWO tax cheats to his cabinet, as well as two lobbyists who lobbied for the industries they will oversee, despite signing an executive order saying lobbyists are not allowed in his administration.  If Obama wants to raise the taxes YOU pay to pay for his bloated government, couldn’t he at least appoint people who pay their own taxes?  No, the lesson is this: you are a peon who will do what you are told.  Those in government are your rulers (not “public servants”), and above the laws you have to obey.

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,

Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,

Welcome tae your gory bed,

Or tae Victorie!

‘Now’s the day, and now’s the hour:

See the front o’ battle lour,

See approach proud Edward’s power –

Chains and Slaverie!

‘Wha will be a traitor knave?

Wha will fill a coward’s grave?

Wha sae base as be a slave?

Let him turn and flee!

‘Wha, for Scotland’s king and law,

Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,

Freeman stand, or Freeman fa’,

Let him on wi’ me!

‘By Oppression’s woes and pains!

By your sons in servile chains!

We will drain our dearest veins,

But they shall be free!

‘Lay the proud usurpers low!

Tyrants fall in every foe!

Liberty‘s in every blow! –

Let us do or dee!

Robert Burns — Not a modern poet

that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”

Okay, so something is true regardless whether it is popularly believed, whether the government approves of it, etc. etc., because that is how the world is.  And we can find out what some of those true things are just by looking around. 

So, after looking around, what did America’s Founders  find out?  That people are “equal,” that there is a Creator God, and that there are “rights” that all people have not because a government gives them or because a particular person takes them from others, but because that Creator God “endows” each person with them.

First, this document describes a particular kind of universe with a particular place and role for human beings.   I think that’s obvious so I’m not going to waste any more time on it.   But you should listen carefully to political leaders today for whether or not the kind of universe they describe is the same one the Founders described.

Oh hell .. anyone else getting bored with this?  Me too.  Long and short: Conservatism is a revolutionary ideology.   It’s not the revolution of the “proletariat” which will always end up strengthening an elite and the State at the expense of individuals.  It is the revolution of individualism, i.e., Everyman, at the expense of the State and the “elite.”  That’s the whole point.  Go forth and dissent.

What passes for poetry today is really just bad prose.  Seriously.  Read some.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident …”  What the heck does that mean?  If we’re going to find out what these principles are, we ought to understand the very first words, right?  

There are a couple things to understand here.  First, this statement says that there are “truths.”  In other words, things that are true.  Always.  Truth is not “relative.”  Some things are relative, of course, but not these things.  One of the things that bugs me about teaching confirmation to freshmen in high school is the occasional statement that “well, it’s true for them,” when talking about God.  How can it be “true for them” if it’s not true?   (I could understand a statement that “well, they believe it to be true and I respect them and their history.”)   Some of these kids believe they live in a very different metaphysical universe than did the Founders of the United States, one where truths can morph depending on the person believing them.  That is not the universe of conservatism. 

Another thing to understand is that “truths” can be evident from the way the world works, or “self-evident.”  In other words, through experience and reason we can come to understand things about human nature, nature, Man’s place in nature, and how people best live together (and other stuff but that’s what the Declaration is about).  We will continue this in coming episodes.  Try to stay calm.

Found it — Conservative Principles in a Nutshell (TM).

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The United States Declaration of Independence.

Conservative, you ask? Why yes. Conservative in the sense that the principles of the past that are worth preserving because they best reflect the nature of humankind and the wisdom of future past (woops) generations in governing the affairs of men should be preserved and expanded. In forthcoming posts we will explore these Conservative Principles in a Nutshell (TM) in some detail, as they pertain to modern American problems and the problems facing conservatives in modern politics.

It is a lazy and dangerous habit to speak about a “political class.”  In a democratic society there should be no such thing.  One of the most subtly destructive things I saw in the recent election in the US was all the talk about whether Sarah Palin — or Obama for that matter — was “qualified” to hold high public office. 

The United States Constitution sets out the qualifications for President and Vice President.  Never should any individual, who meets those Constitutional qualifications, be dubbed “unqualified” by reason of somehow not being sufficiently a part of the “political class.”   A candidate might be inexperienced, or they may have poor skills at this or that task that you feel is important, and you can oppose them for that reason.  But it is I think a sneak-attack on the democratic idea to start talking about normal citizens as somehow “unqualified” for high office.

This “political class” idea has even gone to the heads of some of our leaders.  I have heard that John Kerry, for instance, is known for asking in situations where he is among mere commoners  “Do you know who I am?  I’m a US Senator.”

The response to such arrogance should be, “thanks, Senator.  I’m a US citizen.  I OUTRANK YOU.”

It should be a conservative goal to make our citizens again understand that they are the political class, and the people who today deem themselves “the political class” consist instead and in fact of elected servants.  The next goal would be to get the elected servants to understand this concept.  Many ills would thereby be cured.

How do conservatives appeal to the voters who went for Obama this time?  How do conservatives attract the independents and the moderate Democrats?  These are important questions, which conservatives should let someone else worry about.  What conservatives should do is espouse, advocate and fight for their values, and let the Obama voters and independents and moderates either come to us or not.  To some extent, the events of the next four years will send many, many voters our way.  But conservatives cannot waste their efforts revising their values to fit the Zeitgeist.  The spirit of the age will move on.  But the nature of Man and of Man’s place in the world will remain the same, and the conservative values that flow from a true understanding of that place and that world therefore also must remain the same.

I’ll get to those in a bit.