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Seven Signs of National Decline

March 15, 2022

American culture has changed drastically and persons born in the 1940s and 1950s simply do not recognize it. So many changes in culture, sexual and religious attitudes have occurred–and civil society has been disrupted by so many “causes” and “movements”–that instability is now accepted as normal.

When our parents sent us off to kindergarten or enrolled us in college, there was little concern that we would be killed or, upon graduation from college, despise our parents as racists, capitalists or, “yuk,” Republicans.

What are the political signs of this decline? There are seven.

1) Republican Party Congressional leaders are limited by their role as legislators. The once revered Congress of the United States attracted political leaders who challenged the nation or led recovery from depressions, lost wars or assassinated leaders. Today the character of persons like recent occupants of the office of Speaker of the House do not inspire admiration or even fear. They were content to oversee legislation and saw no need to rise above the duties of their high office.  So insignificant are Republicans that the many members of Congress seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 were outwitted by a television Celebrity.

2) Today, unlike conservative Americans in the 1960s, we conservatives lack national leaders. Ronald Reagan was the last national leader of political conservatives.  Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have potential but are more raw talent than studied. 

What constitutes “Conservative,” anyway? A commitment to national security? Commitment to free enterprise? Commitment to limited government? Perhaps all three, but no one “leader” has arisen who embodies all three views.

3) Celebrities are known for being known but know nothing about government. If we learned anything from the election of Donald Trump, we have learned that Celebrities in areas other than government are not equipped to administer the Executive Office of the President. For starters, they know no one who is qualified or experienced in government.  They have no experience with government bureaucracies nor the means to control them. They know nothing about national defense or foreign policy nor have they brought to office a strategy to lead the United States beyond next week.

4) Donald Trump’s attempt to manage the government like his family business failed. Somehow, Donald Trump thought that he could run the country like his local drug store.

There are no companies as large as the United States government, nor as complex, so the tools one brings to start and sustain a business enterprise are very different from government.

If not in business, then where can you learn to govern a nation?

Only from long study and in political appointments to government agencies by your Party’s President. Donald Trump’s failure, and that of his two Republican predecessors, was failure to invest in the future of the Party by the appointment of dedicated and principled conservative leaders.

5) Conservative policy organizations (with the exception of the Cato Institute and Judicial Watch) have abandoned principle to power.

Most “conservative” policy organizations are dedicated to fundraising, not the conduct of mission. Admittedly, you need money to function, but once funded, conservative organizations must be committed to hold the feet of the powerful to the fire of conservative principle.

Unfortunately, even when conservative Presidents betrayed us, most conservative policy organizations did not complain. Today, those policy organizations are celebrating at our last Republican President’s “Trump International Hotel” in Washington, DC and are not criticizing their incompetent, faux Republican, President.

One of the reasons for that failure of nerve is their donors. Conservative donors seem to prefer to be feted with powerful people more than they want those in power to lead our country in conservative directions.

6) Face it: the conservative “movement” is dead.

From about 1950 to 1980, the conservative “movement” was the place to be in American politics and intellectual life. Our political foes were Democrat Presidents name Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama and Republicans named Rockefeller, McCain and Romney.  The Democrats won office by promising Americans a pie in the sky and the Nixon and two Bush Administrations served that same pie with ice cream. Few conservatives had the courage to blame Ronald Reagan–or better, his wife–for the major compromises of the Reagan Presidency. And when these critics complained, they were shunted aside. What little evidence that there was once a movement of conservatives in American politics died with their influence.

7)  Traditional order in the U.S. will be politically “dead,” if we continue to abandon higher education to the Left. The history of Western society since the French Revolution has exhibited the influence of rationalist ideas that germinated in France and took root in Germany. The intellectuals of France and Germany created what can be called the “idealist Movement,” and that idealism gave us the wars of the 20th century. The champions of those  ideas now dominate higher education and, if traditional order is to recover, the Left must be displaced from the faculties and administrations of our colleges and universities, or new colleges built that are resistant to the ideologies that infect our intellectual classes.

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