With less than six months before the critical 2012 election, it's vital that those on the right not fall into the trap of accepting the premises of leftist argumentation. To do that -- to cede even a single inch of turf, or to acknowledge that they are arguing or advocating in good faith -- is already to have lost. Therefore, repeat after me:
Principles, not programs. Principles, not programs. Principles, not programs.
We often hear it said that the coming election is as raw a clash of political philosophies as can be imagined -- the most important election since 1860. And in a sense, that's true. The national divide over the issue of slavery and its expansion into the rapidly settling territories was a constitutional crisis of the first order. It took the Civil War to sort out an issue that the Framers had partially punted, at a dreadful cost of lives and treasure. To say that the postwar Union was nothing like antebellum America is an understatement.
Now we are engaged in a great Cold Civil War. But the decision American voters will make in November is far more than merely an ideological clash about what the Constitution meant or means. For that supposes that both sides are playing by the same rules, and have a shared interest in the outcome. That presumes that both sides accept the foundational idea of the American experiment, and that the argument is over how best to adhere to it.
That is false.
For some, this is a difficult notion to grasp. To them, politics is politics, the same game being played by the same rules that go back a couple of centuries. The idea that one party -- and you know which one I mean -- is actively working against its own country as it was founded seems unbelievable.
But that is true.
Don't take it from me, take it from Barack Hussein Obama who famously said on the stump in 2008: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
Many gullible voters took that to mean that the end of the George W. Bush era was at hand, and little more. Ho-hum: politics as usual. But the minute I heard that, I knew exactly what Obama meant. "Fundamental transformation" is the Holy Grail of the modern Left -- I do not say "American Left," since much of its inspiration and sustenance is most definitely not American -- and by "fundamental transformation" they mean the utter destruction of the founding principles of limited government, individual self-reliance and personal freedom. In their place, they bring the poisoned gifts of fascism, central planning and rule by a credentialed aristocracy of like-minded fellow travelers.
And when they say "by any means necessary," you had better believe they mean it. Election 2012 is not a clash of political parties but an existential struggle for the soul of America. To treat it as anything but that is both willful blindness and arrant foolishness.