Down. Out?

Peter Kirsanow posted this at the Corner today:

Now that president Obama has been given more “flexibility,” conservatives need to pause, recharge, assess, recalibrate.

Then fight.

Conservatives can’t be in denial. The country may very well be at a tipping point. Yes, millions fewer voted for Obama than in 2008, but it’s astonishing and disconcerting that tens of millions voted for him with their eyes wide open. They voted for him after four years of 8 percent unemployment, exploding deficits, foreign-policy fecklessness, unsustainable debt, and assaults on liberty.

The electorate may well have shifted politically, and perhaps culturally. That will happen when we cede our institutions to the minions of ”progress,” when our media is biased and political elites cowardly. But human nature has not changed and neither have the principles conservatives — Americans — hold dear.

Obama and the Left will be emboldened. They will continue their effort to “fundamentally transform” America. Indeed, now that Obamacare will go into effect in full, the transformation will take several giant, worrisome steps forward.

That’s why we must fight. Harder, smarter, relentlessly. While we must shrewdly assess what went wrong politically, we don’t have time for finger-pointing and recriminations. Those inclined can do so later.There are too many perils at our doorstep.

There is no time, either, for the traditional post-election honeymoon. This president has already enjoyed one for the last four years. We have principles and values to defend and we must defend them vigorously. For on the immediate horizon are galactic problems: Defense cuts, a nuclear Iran, an entitlement catastrophe, tax increases, energy restrictions, Supreme Court appointments, a bellicose China, suffocating regulations, amnesty for illegals, chronic high unemployment, just to name a few.

Obama won last night, but we rejoin the fray today. Fight every attempt to spend us further into oblivion. Fight every attempt to further redistribute wealth. Fight every attempt to entrench a new entitlement. Fight every attempt to weaken our military. Fight every attempt to bury Benghazi. Fight every attempt to curb our religious freedom. Fight every attempt to revise history. Fight the enervating imposition of political correctness.

Fight for American exceptionalism. Fight for what’s best about America.

I am reminded of Churchill’s epigraph:

In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity.

The great man also said:

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Well, resolution didn’t carry the day, and so magnanimity is off the table. That leaves defiance.

When you’ve done your best to stand up to a bully, but have been beaten to the ground, dazed and bloody, defiance begins with the simple act of picking yourself up to your hands and knees, shaking your head, refocusing your eyes, then narrowing them as you remember what you are fighting for and why. The alternative is submission, and the death of the spirit.

This is a hard one, though. Some on the Right are already pointing the finger at Mr. Romney and his campaign — blaming his vagueness and inconsistency, and his team’s inability to counter the Obama “ground game” — but that isn’t why we lost.

In a time of deep and persistent economic misery, and with fewer people employed today than were working four years ago, we put up a decent, likable man, a seasoned executive whom a majority of Americans thought would do a better job of restoring the economy than the incumbent — and were beaten nevertheless.

After four years of bitter division and intractable malaise, after Fast and Furious, the stimulus, the bloody partisan imposition of Obamacare, after Solyndra and Benghazi, after four years of trampling the separation of powers and the role of the nation’s elected representatives in order to govern at the whim of the Executive and his unelected “czars”, we stood up a modest, moderate, cooperative candidate who stood for the idea that the United States can still be a constitutional republic — and were beaten nevertheless.

After four years of withering assault upon the mediating layers of civil society and local government that stand between a radically atomized citizenry and the federal Leviathan, and that have, until this final epoch in the arc of American history, been the most important and most sustaining aspect of the nation’s ordinary life, we put up a sensible man who understood that a happy and healthy society emerges from the bottom up, rather than being imposed willy-nilly by a distant, central authority — and were beaten nevertheless.

At a time when a runaway culture of dependence and entitlement has degraded and infantilized an ever-expanding proportion of our citizenry, and has brought what what was once a virile and vigorous nation of free and self-reliant individuals to the point of almost certain spiritual and fiscal ruin, we put up candidates who understand that this is the path to national extinction — and were beaten nevertheless.

No, the problem isn’t that the GOP allied itself too closely with “extremists”, or that Mitt Romney was too much of a flip-flopper, or that he didn’t go after Mr. Obama vigorously enough in the later debates. The problem is that, as the founders understood so well — and tried their best to prevent by lacing up the government in the Constitution — democracy naturally descends into tyranny, and the rule of the mob. America has now crossed the event horizon, and the singularity lies ahead. Before we reach it — and although “there is a lot of ruin in a nation”, the acceleration will now be brisk — the tidal forces it will exert will soon begin to tear the nation to pieces.

The problem here was not Mr. Romney, or even Mr. Obama. The problem is that the American people themselves are no longer what they were. Mr. Obama spoke of “fundamentally transforming” America, but to imagine that he has done so is to confuse cause and effect. Had the fundamental character of this nation not already been transformed, he never would have succeeded.

So: America gets the government it wants, and that it deserves. We have chosen “equality” over liberty; free lunch over freedom; reassurance over responsibility. It will not last: it is utterly unsupportable. It will quickly be the death of America’s greatness, and will lead soon thereafter to the death and decomposition of America itself. But this is what we, the people, have chosen.

Defiance? I suppose. But it’s hard to believe that lifting ourselves from the mud and staggering to our feet again will, from this moment forward, ever change a thing.

Sorry to be so glum, readers. I’m sure I’ll perk up a bit as time goes by. Right now I’m still on all fours in the dirt, spitting out teeth.

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  1. Malcolm, you suffer, if that is quite the word, from resting at the bottom of my long list of ‘favourite’ blogs which is arranged in alphabetical order. I work my way down it regularly every morning but nearly always I am interrupted around the R, S, or Ts and thus I frequently fail to reach the Ws. Your comment at my place prompted me to start at the bottom today and work up – sorry Ann Coulter, I might not reach you today!

    Anyway, I just want to say that this post is one of the very best commentaries on the disaster which has struck America, or rather, which America has inflicted on itself, that I have so far read. I shall be recommending it to my readers later this morning.

    It seems to me, from the outside looking in, that the demographics have definitely shifted in favour of the Democratic party; and that the social ‘ambience’, so to speak, has definitely shifted in favour of the progressives. That leaves conservatives stranded. There is nothing they can do, except perhaps in the case of the GOP to ponder on their *own* sins of omission and commission in the past – one thinks of ‘Dubya’s financial profligacy. They must stick to their general principles – and wait! Eventually, the ‘internal contradictions’ of socialism will eat like a cancer into the body politic and the mood will change.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:34 am | Permalink
  2. Dom says

    The only ray of light that I can see: When Obama’s policies fail, and they will, the failure will be placed where it belongs. If Romney were in office, I doubt that he could do much to change the course of things, and the resulting failure would be placed on the free-market policies that he talked up. So … wait till 2016.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  3. Alex says

    David Duff writes: “Eventually, the ‘internal contradictions’ of socialism will eat like a cancer into the body politic and the mood will change.”

    I’d like to believe that, but I don’t see why it should be inevitable. In any case, it could be that a couple of generations will pass before the mood changes and in the meanwhile (a whole lifetime?) the body politic endures a very painful disease.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  4. JK says

    I’m not so eloquent as ya’ll, but I think everybody (well, commenting here anyway) actually knows what the ultimate solution is – how long before “everyone” realizes it?

    The path we are on is, unsustainable.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    As Herbert Stein remarked, “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop”.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  6. JK asks “how long before “everyone” realizes it?”

    It could be a considerable time. ‘Over here’ after WWII we had increasing amounts of socialism, either neat via the socialists or slightly watered down by the Tories. Things reached a head in the late ’70s and, “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” ‘that woman’ arrived.

    I wonder if California might be worth watching as a lead indicator. They have just voted for tax increases which will encourage even more people and businesses to depart and gradually the tax take will diminish further. MInd you, I understand Illinois is even further down the road to bankruptcy.

    Being somewhat apocalyptic, I also wonder from ‘over here’ how long before State’s rights are invoked in a serious way? Were I a Texan (which alas I am not!) I would be severely pissed off with Washington!

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Here it comes.

    Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  8. Katherine says

    A wonderful piece of writing on a blog I have only just discovered. I did read your tribute to your late mother, a very moving post and a testament to the power of love.

    I am a very ordinary person, not normally given to responding to blogs, but just this once, I’ll make an exception.

    I’m not American and do not understand the niceties of US politics but of course, wherever you are in the world you cannot escape the spectacle that is the presidential election. It’s outcome is relevant to all of us even in the far flung corners of the world.

    So, what I’m owning up to is that I don’t understand the issues particularly well and I’m sure you will agree with that assessment when you read my sorry excuse for a point of view!

    However, to me it seemed obvious that Obama was going to win. He may have lost a little momentum towards the end of an arduous campaign but he never looked close to losing. Your concerns about unemployment, burgeoning debt, assaults on liberty to name but a few are understandable. They are issues that need to be addressed in many other countries around the world.

    But, and it’s a big but, Obama inherited these problems and although things have continued on a downward spiral, I am unconvinced that a republican President could have done any better.

    Obama has charisma, youth and good looks. He relates to people and they like him. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, looked like a cheesy game show host, and certainly while travelling around places he seemed very adept at putting his foot in it.

    I think Obama is the better man. Sorry.

    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Thank you for joining us, Katherine.

    You wrote:

    I am unconvinced that a Republican President could have done any better.

    What was at stake here was not which of the two candidates would do “better”, but the far more fundamental question of what it was they wanted to do — of their understanding of the nature of America and the role of government.

    Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  10. Katherine says

    Many thanks for your gracious response. I will continue to read and maybe even comment occasionally.

    I notice that you remarked in another post that your blog commentators had become more sombre, serious, whatever. Rest assured, that my contribution will be light hearted, superficial, whimsical, and open to challenge, because they will be emotional responses rather than intellectual.

    Let the games begin.

    Posted November 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink