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.
Two years ago, I published Rules for Radical Conservatives, a how-to-fight-the-Left manifesto written by "David Kahane," a thirty-something lefty screenwriter whose work appears over at National Review Online. In reality, "Kahane" is one of my characters, a parody of a typical Hollywood/bien-pensant/hate-filled intolerant "progressive, who was fed up with gutless conservatives too weak to respond to his side's provocations.
The book was both humorous and deadly serious. Here's a bit from Dave's Rule No. 4: "Get On Offense and Stay On Offense":
So there you are, lying flat on your back on the canvas and wondering whether the referee got the number of that truck. For decades, we’ve pummeled you and pounded you, if not quite into submission then pretty close to it. We’ve robbed you of your tongue, of your fighting spirit; we’ve hamstrung you with lawyers and political correctness. We’ve made you doubt the worth of everything you once held dear – now there was a practical application of “Critical Theory” if there ever was one! – including your culture, your history and, well, you. We’ve practically criminalized everything about you, including your thoughts, and it’s just a matter of time before we get those too. Why, we’ve got top government-funded scientists in their labs working on a brain-wave reader right now!
The key to our success is our relentlessness: we are like the Terminator before he went all girly-man in California, except whinier. Unlike the Terminator, who laughed as bullets bounced off him, plucked out his own eyeball and walked through searing flame until he was little more than a scary metal skeleton, got half his body ripped away by a machine press and kept coming at Linda Hamilton, however, we don’t like to get punched. So start punching.
Until everyone on the Right fully grasps this, our country will remain under siege. It's a siege that's been ongoing, in one form or another, since the Wilson administration, with one side (and you know which one) "fundamentally" rejecting the Constitution -- they're getting bold enough to admit it now -- and explicitly denigrating America's history in order to prepare the way for their new progressive order. The long march through the institutions has left a terrible trail of cultural destruction in its wake -- which, of course, was precisely the intention.
This is why it's crucial, when dealing with the Left, to reject the premises of their arguments, since those premises must necessarily posit that there is something "fundamentally" wrong with the American system, and that they are the cure.
By rejecting their premises, you do more than simply level the playing field: you also force them out of hiding and either cause them to flee or, more rarely, actually admit their true intentions -- something that is almost impossible for them to do. For they must be devotees of what I (and David Kahane) have dubbed "American taqiyya," the concealment of their destructive purposes under the rubrics of "Fairness," "Tolerance," "Compassion," etc.
In the days, weeks and months to come, we'll be exploring the true nature of the modern Left, the danger it poses to traditional American values, and how to stop it. It's a choice we have to make next November, and we're only going to have one last chance to get it right.
It's time to start punching.
(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on multiple modified Shutterstock.com images.)