Big local government

Conservatives complain about Big Government, saying that huge, distant, super-powerful centralized government should often give way to decentralized state and local governments.  But what about when local governments do what big centralized government does?  That has become an issue in Texas. . . . [Read more...]

Ted Cruz starts the presidential race

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared that he is running for president, the first candidate to do so.  Making his announcement at Liberty University, Sen. Cruz said that he would abolish the IRS, Obamacare, and legalized abortion.  Is there any way Sen. Cruz, with his in-your-face conservatism, could win the election? [Read more...]

Mandatory voting?

President Obama appeared to endorse mandatory voting as a way to get money out of politics.  In countries that have mandatory voting laws, if you don’t cast a ballot, you have to have to pay fines or other penalties.  American polls show that most people who don’t vote support Democrats, which, of course, doesn’t do Democrats much good.  I’ve read that in Australia, which punishes non-voters, the effect is a kind of stasis, since so many of those who cast a ballot really don’t care, cancelling out the votes of partisan true believers.  What’s the problem with compulsory voting?  I believe it was Sartre who said that the essence of freedom is the ability to say “no,” and saying “no” to all of the candidates would seem to be essential to democracy.  But what do you think? [Read more...]

The Twelve Principles of Conservatism (from 1960)

I blogged about the death of M. Stanton Evans, one of whose accomplishments was to draft “The Sharon Statement” articulating 12 principles that would serve as rallying points for the conservative movement in the 1960s.  The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has published them in an attractive graphic, which I reproduce after the jump.

Read it and consider:  Are these statements still relevant to today’s issues over fifty years later?  Are they enough to bring together conservatives of different stripes today?   Are there any additional or different issues that need to be addressed for our time?  For example, this says that the major threat to liberty today is communism, and that we must work for victory rather than co-existence over this threat.  Well, that victory was won.  What would be the major threat to liberty today?  Radical Islam?  Big government?  New left wing ideologies?   What other statements would you suggest adding to this list? [Read more...]

Death of a conservative

M. Stanton Evans, one of the founders of modern conservatism, died at age 80 in Leesburg, Virginia.  Read about his importance after the jump.

I urge you to read his book  The Theme Is Freedom, on the historical rise of political liberty.  He takes what he calls “the liberal history lesson”–that the world was in darkness and slavery until the humanists and the Enlightenment cast off the religious shackles to bring freedom into the world–and utterly refutes it.  In fact, he shows that the humanists and the Enlightenment gave us the absolute despots.  In contrast, the kings of the Middle Ages were greatly limited in their power under a rule of law, which he shows derives from Christianity.  Mr. Evans also showed the influence of Luther and the Protestant Reformation on the rise of liberty.  There is much more in this surprising and paradigm-shifting book.

I actually met Mr. Evans a number of years ago.  He had read my book on fascism, which he praised highly, saying that he wished he had read it while he was working on The Theme Is Freedom because he would have liked to have incorporated it into his argument.  That made me feel good, needless to say. [Read more...]

Hillary Clinton and her e-mails

What’s the big deal, one might ask, about Hillary Clinton using a private account for her e-mails when she was Secretary of State?  Maybe it was a technical violation of a very minor law, but lots of us use work e-mail for personal reasons and personal e-mail for work, so what does it matter?

Well, this was not a matter of using a g-mail or Yahoo account.  Mrs. Clinton had her own server with sophisticated secrecy features, protecting her messages from media and legal requests under the transparency laws.  The normally sympathetic Chris Cillizza explains why this is, in fact, a big deal after the jump. [Read more...]


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