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After Shutdown, Be Careful Whom You Call a Hypocrite

Critics of those doubtful of the defund strategy have crafted an impossible standard of purity.

by
Walter Hudson

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October 18, 2013 - 6:36 am
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HypocriteBatman

As the federal government shutdown drama wrapped up, I asked if the Tea Party just wants to watch the world burn. Motivating that question was an observed division among activists on the Right between those seeking to work within the system to elect majorities and those seeking to “fight” at any electoral cost.

The latter faction claims exclusive title to principle. Over and over again, leading up to and during the shutdown, we were told that a vote for a continuing resolution which did not defund Obamacare was “a vote to fund Obamacare.” In other words, we were told that you cannot claim to oppose a policy on principle if you take an action which acquiesces to it.

As logical as it may sound on first pass, that premise deserves to be challenged. If universally applied, it establishes a standard which precisely no one can meet. No elected official, including Tea Party darling Senator Ted Cruz, can claim to have never taken an action which supports an institution or policy violating their principles. No resident of this country can either.

As a libertarian purist, if you’ve received and spent Federal Reserve notes, if you’ve paid a tax, if you’ve driven on public roads, if you attended or sent your children to a public school, if you’ve dialed 9-1-1, if you’ve claimed unemployment, if you’ve watched television or seen a movie or turned on a radio, if you’ve flown, if you’ve bought a product produced and distributed under our American system of coercive regulations — if you’ve lived in this country, then you have supported institutions and policies which violate your sacred principles.

A common attack upon the integrity of Ayn Rand cites that she took Social Security and Medicare benefits. She was a hypocrite, critics charge, because she railed against such programs throughout her career. Missed in such criticism is acknowledgement of the fundamental difference between acting as an individual under the system in which you live and condoning the specific rights-violating policies and institutions which make up that system. Being philosophically opposed to the way things are does not create some obligation to act against your own interest in a futile attempt to keep your hands clean of the system.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Motivating that question was an observed division among activists on the Right between those seeking to work within the system to elect majorities and those seeking to “fight” at any electoral cost."

That was the whole point of the Tea Party push in 2010, the group you seemed to excoriate in yesterday's piece, And the 2010 effort was successful at least insofar as gaining a majority in the House of Representatives, despite Obama doing everything in his power to agitate his base to prevent that.

But you know what ? Under the tutelage of this ignorant narcissistic president who is convinced that his election (and re-election) must somehow mute, even neuter ALL opposition...(He repeated it day before yesterday..."You want to change things ? Win an election."), Senators Cruz & Lee stepping out against the tide of mediocrity and mendacity is about the only political event worthy of cheer.

This system under Obama, and admittedly under the bend over and spread 'em old republican guard, really isn't worthy of working inside of.

Without a spirit of rebellion and throwing off abusive governance, this nation wouldn't have happened in the first place.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Going along to get along is a losing proposition. Taking over the Republican Party is the top priority. There is little point in fighting for a me too majority. Two Bushes led us up to the Obamanation we are now citizens of. Bush could have built the border fence. It was the "law of the land" as much as Obamacare. It was defunded. No different than defunding Obamacare.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obamacare does change the political reality. It changes us from citizens of a state into subjects of the state.
That alone is worth fighting to the bitter end. There can be no compromise over this.

As to whether we want to see the world burn, the status quo is transparently unsustainable. Either we win and radically change the country's direction, or the world burns with or without us.
Is it very nearly certain that we will be overwhelmingly defeated? Yes. But we'll keep the torch held high. And when we're charged with sedition and treason for doing so, remember that we fought against tyranny while you cowered.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (64)
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You miss the point yet again Walter. It's not about ideological purity and it never was. It was about the courage to take a stand - even if only a little one like the government shutdown was.

You act like we were asking them to take a stand like the founding fathers did when they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to take a stand against tyranny - a stand that might cost them everything.

We didn't ask anything nearly so courageous of our elected officials. We merely asked them to take a lawful stand that would put the President into a position to either negotiate or take the unconstitutional actions that he was threatening. It doesn't take a whole lot of intestinal fortitude to make such a puny little stand, the worst possible consequences of which would be to get voted out of office in the next election and get a job in the private sector, yet most of them lacked the courage to do so.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The PJ ink addicts are going NOWHERE with their calls to unity as far as I am concerned. Here is why. The Republican sound bite since '07, when Obama unveiled his plans for an Obamacare, has been that this law would be an existential threat to the Republic. Those of us who backed the Republicans had come to understand the rhetoric as a call to war for the very future of the national design. Today, that threat is still the dominant message of the party. Yet, with a House majority and a constitutional, House power to dictate the budget and an existential threat to the Republic hanging in the balance, the Republicans chose to play it as a political game instead of the war we all know it is. The object for the party is political power in the form of supermajorities and the presidency. This is highly unlikely. So when it comes time to go over the top, out of the trenches, get bloody and maybe politically die for their country, they measured their chances and wagered the future of the Republic on thier political fortunes. Scrue that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mark Levin came up with an expression: French Republicans. But lately, many French have stronger and stiffer backbones than the Establishment Republcans. A better expressiion: Vichy Republicans.

Walter Hudson is a Vichy Republican or acts/thinks very much like one.

The Tea Party Republicans did not shut down the Federal Government, Harry Reid - receiving orders from obama and Jarrett - did.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the House MUST submit to all budget wishes of the President.

If Walter Hudson were living in Ancient Times, he would tell Leonidas NOT to take a stand at Thermopylae. "You only have 300 men and the Persian Army is 250,000 strong, Run Away! YOU WILL LOSE!!!"

At times, you do not choose the battle; the battle chooses you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not really self-identified as a tea-partier, but I'm sure as heck not self-identified as an "establishment" guy. I'm a libertarian leaning conservative with a nose for strategy and tactics. So, here's my take:

Sometimes the Tea Party types push too far. This last fight was NOT an example of that. The examples of bad tea party tactics ruining the whole fight for was was the 2012 primaries, where no one could rally behind one candidate and each group called all the other candidates horrible things, thus turning everyone against ALL the candidates. Tea Partiers, that was dumb, you should have picked one and went with it. You can't sacrifice the good for the perfect, for there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. If you're looking for perfect, you're looking for Utopia, which makes you a leftist. In a battle for candidates, if you're looking for perfect, you're looking for Jesus and there's only supposed to be one of that guy. You guys should have listened to Aristotle and picked the most charismatic. Herman Cain, until the media railroaded him. But, if we'd all rallied behind him and took up for him, he still probably would have won against O. Why? He's charming, that's why. The real world is simple. Charm really IS all it takes. Why? Because the average person is a freaking idiot and as deep as a puddle.

Now back to the shutdown deal. This time the Tea Party was right. Why? Because Obamacare is the most unpopular law passed in my lifetime, maybe ever passed (i don't know that). The "shutdown" made Republicans look bad because of how the media portrayed it, but people will forget it now that it's over. What's that leave us with? That leaves us with the Obamacare beast and heroes that fought against it. It also leaves us with cowards who tried to calm it by feeding it. This political showdown will do NO lasting damage to the party. These shutdowns used to happen all the time and, guess what, they effect very few people when they happen. Most people only notice because the media won't shut up about it. The very fact that the Tea Party lost this battle (which was what I'd hope for in my callous strategic outlook) means that the Tea Party has won this war. They have "sacrificed" their political futures (not really; their political careers are safe, but the establishment type is playing into it by lamenting how it was a "needless sacrifice". so, now EVERYONE thinks it was a sacrifice) to defeat something they truly believed was harmful. When the harm becomes obvious, it's the Tea Partiers who look like the knights in shining armor that the American people will beg to save them. This was not about sacrificing the good for the perfect. This was about looking like the hero when the dragon came, instead of hiding behind the parapets. Now, Ted Cruz is set to ride forth with the spear, while his supposed allies boo him. Meanwhile, McCain claims it's stupid to go after the dragon, because you'll just die and the dragon will still live anyway. What McCain doesn't know is that the people see Cruz, not him, and the people gave Cruz a magical set of armor the protects from dragonfire. Even if Cruz never defeats the dragon, the dragon cannot defeat him.

In other words, even while the Tea Party screws up in tactics sometimes (2012 primary), they are spot on strategically (shutdown showdown).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Brilliant try, Walter, but you're whistling in the wind. It's going to take some sort of catastrophic event - God only knows what that might be - before a coming together of the rational and the emotional can take place. Aside from the insults being hurled at those of us who share your point of view, the most disturbing thing to me is seeing the same irrationality in the Tea Partiers that I saw on the Left back in the bad old days. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, thank heavens the GOP establishment hasn't insulted those Tea Party types...who knows how relied up they'd get.

Damn Hobbits need to learn their place and respect their betters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Please don't compare my acquiescence to the law to an elected official! And please don't support coercion with "support"!

"if you’ve paid a tax" - I obey the effing law - I didn't pass it... "if you’ve driven on public roads" - what choice did have regarding the contractors? I didn't appoint the bureaucrats that administer the corrupt bidding processes , "if you attended or sent your children to a public school" - when did I vote to let them unionize?, "if you’ve dialed 9-1-1" - gee, you get this one..., "if you’ve claimed unemployment", are you kidding me?? For how many years do I get to? Nobody asked me, I didn't vote on this . "if you’ve watched television or seen a movie or turned on a radio" - what makes you think I support this system? It was hatched up for corporate interests and passed without my input or consent.

We act in those ways within which we can. Elected officials are in a special situation to act much more directly to effect changes in the law the rest of us cannot do a dang thing about. And we look for behavior consistent with acting in our interests. If our political representatives won't act in our interests then the only choice for us will be to act in our own interests.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I.e., don't confuse my coerced behavior with " support"...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"As a libertarian purist, if you’ve received and spent Federal Reserve notes, if you’ve paid a tax, if you’ve driven on public roads, if you attended or sent your children to a public school, if you’ve dialed 9-1-1, if you’ve claimed unemployment, if you’ve watched television or seen a movie or turned on a radio, if you’ve flown, if you’ve bought a product produced and distributed under our American system of coercive regulations — if you’ve lived in this country, then you have supported institutions and policies which violate your sacred principles."

Yeah! You didn't build that...

And the GOP's pragmatic willingness to compromise the perfect for the good is what has allowed this country to move steadily to the right these last hundred years while the rigidly orthodox and intractable Left has found itself unable to exert any influence.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Hudson, I admire your work and believe you are in the right here.

I'm afraid, however, that it doesn't matter any longer. I think this single quotes says it best for me:

“The base is not looking for a conciliator,” says Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union. “They’re not looking for someone who is good at compromising, who can make peace with the other side. They’re looking for someone who will stand up to a very aggressive, disrespectful liberal opposition that’s standing out there with bare knuckles winding up at us every chance they get.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's not a matter of purity, it's a matter of clarity - that things are much worse than they appear, much worse than convention would predict.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, and the clarity has gotten lost among all the clatter.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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