November 06, 2008

The Good Fight

(A family e-mail thread started a day or two ago begining with Fouad Ajami's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and working its way though some Obama well wishers by those who voted or him and against him. What follows is my contrbution to the thread.)

As Americans have collectively decided to trade their birthright of liberty for some ephemeral notion of equality of outcome, I too wish Obama wisdom, luck and safety. Success, not so much. I remain a member of the loyal opposition. I will oppose and work against policies that take away our liberties and sacrifice equality of opportunity for ever changing progressive ideas championing an equality of outcome. I will oppose and work against policies that sacrifice American sovereignty and integrity at the altar of transnational progressivism. I will oppose and work against a judiciary who substitute their empathy and international mores for the rule of law and the United States Constitution. I will oppose and work against the cult of personality that President-Elect Obama and those around him have built and actively encourage. The man is not more important than the office.

What I will not do is claim that President-Elect Obama is Stalin, that he wants to destroy America, or that his political decisions I disagree with are criminal. I will respect the office of the presidency and the man holding that office despite the fact that so many of my friends on the Left seemed unable to do so the last eight years. We must be able to agree to disagree about political ends and means while remaining civil and upholding the framework and ideals which made this republic great. We are all Americans and want America and Americans to be successful. We just have different ideas about how to define that success and how to achieve it. When we can no longer argue and work out our differences through elections and the legislatures, then America will be nothing more than a hollowed out shell not worthy of the sacrifice of so many in the past who knew that freedom isn’t free, that tyranny must always be resisted, and that it was respect for individuals and individualism that made our success possible.

Democrats like to tell people that Republicans are the party of the rich. The fact that more rich people are Democrats than Republicans is irrelevant to this demagoguery, but I digress. But if that were true then it only stands to reason that Republicans can only build their base by creating more rich people. Conversely, if Democrats are the party of the poor, then they can only build their base by creating more poor people. Yeah, I know it’s a cheap shot, but it has the added virtue of being true.

FWIW, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I side with the protectors and advocates of freedom, whoever they may be. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.” Or as Samuel Adams once said, “If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

If my words trouble you, then I suggest you read some history. Start with Herodotus and work forward until you come to realize that there is little new under the sun when it come to mankind and human nature. Year Zero always holds a certain appeal for those who believe they can remake man and improve upon him, for his own good of course. As Yeats wrote in his poem, The Second Coming, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” The coffee house commissars and petty wannabe tyrants have been and will always be there waiting for an opportunity to seize what is not theirs. There is no end state, but only an eternal battle of vigilance to defend the liberties we have been given.

Or take me off your e-mail lists, your choice.

Posted by Charles Austin at November 6, 2008 04:45 PM

Wow. I'm dying to know how your family responded to that. If I could even write it, I can't imagine anyone within two twigs of me from my family tree understanding it.

Posted by: Scott at 10:08 PM

I'm guessing that person stops sending you email. :)

Posted by: Jon at 04:38 PM