Unlike my ancient predecessor, this Tullius hasn't had his hands chopped off. With hands attached I offer my thoughts on philosophy, religion, politics, and whatever else I find worth mentioning. I'm conservative religiously and politically (though I have some serious libertarian leanings). I value reason and freedom but also traditions and "Oldthink." I relish being on the wrong side of history when history is wrong--part of a philosopher's job is to be unpopular.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Conservative Call to Arms
Steven Hayward speaking at the David Horowitz Freedom Center:
[E]vents of just the last 10 days should remind us once again that our politics have become all out war—a fact that conservatives, and their weak vessel, the Republican Party, do not like to recognize. Conservatives like order and moderation (in the Aristotelian sense), and recoil from the idea of political warfare, because when things reach that stage, it means things are out of hand. But avoiding the unpleasantness of political life—and avoiding confronting it directly—will not make it go away, but instead guarantee that it grow worse.
One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that it has revealed that conservatives have been way too timid or conciliatory in confronting the Left—that the latitude for effectively confronting political correctness is much greater than we thought. It ought to be a matter of supreme embarrassment and shame that the most forceful and cogent response to the irresponsible demagoguery of Black Lives Matter has come from Bill Clinton. Never mind that he walked it back yesterday—that’s his problem. Our problem is no public figure on our side has spoken out as forcefully and as plainly as Clinton did.
In this regard, if we can’t win the Bathroom Wars, we might as well load up the lifeboats right now and become the refugees from our own country that the Left longs for us to be. And the most outrageous part of the recent controversy over bathrooms in North Carolina is the role played by big business, which is the most potent force in forcing states like North Carolina to back down from a common sense understanding of human nature. Why have big corporations become adjuncts to leftist identity politics? I suspect a study of corporate HR departments will find they are a hotbed of graduates with degrees in gender and ethnic studies, etc.
Likewise, our response to the latest outbreak of radicalism on campuses is weak. The new mob of the campus Left says: racism, homophobia, sexism, oppression, and patriarchy. To which we have responded—free speech and academic freedom! This response is wholly inadequate. It concedes the premise of the Left: are we really for free speech on behalf of racism? Of course not, but we need to take the next step and throw back in their faces that their narratives of oppression are completely wrong, contemptible, and not to be taken seriously. That and a few expulsions (and more firings of many more professors like Melissa Click) might do the trick.
In summary, the central point of my remarks is to vindicate what I’m going to call the Horowitz Heuristic, or “David’s Desideratum.” For as long as I have known David, he has been saying that conservatives, and their defective organizational vehicle—the Republican Party—has not been vigorous enough in recognizing that the Left is conducting political warfare, and that it can only be beaten back by engaging in political warfare in return. Maybe a few more people are starting to figure out what David has understood all along. Is it too late? As Lincoln said about a real war, “Wars are not won by blowing rosewater through cornstalks.”