“Where Are We?” by James Allen

At the request of James Allen, I’m reposting his article here. You can find the original at http://jamesallenshow.com/blog/2009-11-28-13-43-29.html.

In the current condition of our political landscape, we Republicans could say that we are in exile, captivity, or wandering in the wilderness. We hear things like “conservatism in exile” on the Sean Hannity Show and “refounding America” on the Glenn Beck Program. Witnessing this phenomenon in the news and also from the R.N.C. leadership harping on the need for a bigger tent, the question of who will lead the Republican Party in 2010 and 2012 haunts the airwaves.

I find this idea laughable. The Republican Party is not in need of a charismatic spokesman or master rhetorician. First, we need to rediscover the principles that separate our party from its opposition—call them progressives, the left, the Democrats, etc.—before a legitimate leader can even be identified. All the talk about who will become the next Reagan assumes that someone out there actually understands what Reagan did.

It has been said that it would be rather simple to just train a leader, if there were one, to reiterate the correct message. However, such a statement misses the point entirely. The message is clear because it has been conserved from Mount Sinai to Greece to Rome to London…and then finally to Philadelphia in the Constitutional Convention and boldly consolidated in the Declaration of Independence. As Russell Kirk taught us, the permanent things remain. In essence, these are the universal principles that make America unique and will give the Republican Party a great advantage. I am a conservative because I am conserving these permanent principles against the prevailing skepticism of our day, and I am a Republican because I believe in a Republican form of governance. (I hope you realize that we live in a republic and not a democracy. If you do not understand this, please stop reading now because you will be wasting your time.)

So, are we in exile? This is an interesting question, and the answer is simple: No. We are not in exile—we still live in a right-of-center country. We see this in the discontentment of Americans taking to the streets during the first nine months of the current administration. With Cap and Trade and the Health Care bills going to the Senate, we are witnessing the goals of the Progressive movement coming to fruition—the state control of the individual in every detail of his life. Please understand, this goal has been a well-calculated plan for over eighty years, and we (conservatives) must put a plan in place to return to the promised land of liberty, equality, natural rights, consent of the governed, religious freedom, private property, the rule of law, constitutionalism, self-government, and independence. These are the “ten plagues” that will destroy the Progressive movement and the ten principles that Matthew Spalding has so eloquently expressed in his book, “We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming our Future,” a must-read if you are interested in destroying this notion that we are in exile.

So, are we in captivity? This is not as simple of a question to answer because we are free to act on our liberty if we want to, but without the knowledge of the previous mentioned ideals, we are stuck in an Egypt of our own ignorance and on the way to wandering in a wasteland of statism. Our founders made a very bold statement in saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” As a political community we must indeed hold these truths, but those truths were only self-evident at that time due to the culture. They have been forgotten, and we need to teach these truths, and the principles upon which they stand, to each generation to prepare our heirs with the proper arguments and understanding to face the challenges of the day. These truths are not known by intuition, experience, or social experimentation, and they are not merely a result of what we like, but they are known through inference and education. As President Reagan noted, “We didn’t pass it on to our children in the blood stream.” We must learn to argue for these positions, stand on the shoulders of the giants of Western Civilization and realize that this is an ideological battle, age-long, and often agonizing.

So, are we wandering? Yes! We are indeed wandering in the wilderness trying to be everything to everyone. We have been trying to make our tent so big that the tent is collapsing. We are falling into the relativistic thinking of our opponents because we have been unwilling or unable to show how our principles, and the truths upon which they stand, are clear. Recently, the 2008 Republican Party Platform was taken down from the AZ GOP website. Naturally, you must be asking yourself, “Why?” Could it be a broken link, broken thinking, or maybe a broken party? I would suggest that it is broken thinking, and thankfully, it is back up at the GOP website. However, it is still very difficult to find—as if we should be ashamed of our conservative platform. The current administration is doing us a great favor by moving so fast with their progressive platform that it is shaking the ordinary citizenry out of their apathy. It is driving the average person back to these first principles and the truths upon which they stand, and it is creating a desire to understand the American ideal. This momentum—if backed with a concern for our history and heritage and the willingness to do the hard work of overcoming objections—can leave us with hope that our country will improve dramatically.

With a renaissance of conservative thought, the Congress can be taken back in 2010 and the Presidency in 2012, but if we stop there it will not be enough. Just as a person learns to become a carpenter or an engineer, we too need to learn to become citizens and not mere taxpayers.

I still hold these truths—do you? If you say yes, you’d better be ready to give an argument, because traditions change. The internal rules of institutions are not universal, and our country requires a common goal, but truth is clear and can be shown by reason. The truths enumerated in our founding documents are precious and are in need of our care. We have been given a republic if we can keep it, and what was self-evident to our founders is no longer self-evident today.


  1. Thank you for the link.


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