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Don’t Give Up The Ship: Latest Dispatches From The USS Washington Rebel

26 April 2010 @ 17:45

One of the things you can always count on when you visit the Washington Rebel is to have your thoughts provoked.  The stable of authors there have some of the best minds I’ve met in the Blogosphere.

A great example of this is a posting yesterday by Irish Cicero, CEO.  It starts off with a quote from one Victor Davis Hanson’s columns over at Pajamas Media in which he admits he’s tired of the fight and may just retreat to the farmhouse he is restoring.  This line struck me:

…I am foolishly spending what I can on the idea of it. I am trying to ensure the memory of the 19th century survives the chaos of the 21st in one tiny place for a decade more or so. I am, in reactionary fashion, protesting against the world of 2010. I am aiding the memory of all those now dead I remember so well in the 1950s and 1960s in these rooms.)

Sounds like a man who is about to retreat to his redoubt and await the coming storm.  I hope VDH doesn’t give up.  He’s one of the best voices of sanity out there and one of our best analysts of history.

Cicero goes on in the posting to address a related subject which I will ponder further along here.

In the Comments Section, Irish mentions what affected him the most by Mr. Hanson’s article:

You know what got me about that piece was the litter in front of his place. Folks throwing litter from cars is the America I live in.

Not the America I was born in.

This was followed by the comments of another of the must-read contributing writers at the Rebel, Rob De Witt.  A highlight:

Hanson’s sadness at the dilution of his birthright would appear to be truly wrenching, and his expression of that is beyond elegiac. Still, ultimately retreating behind those gates (avec or sans goats) is surrender. As much as I feel sympathy for the sentiment, it’s hard to relate to it too much. Hanson and others hymn the “libertarian” ideal of stocking up and digging in. On the other hand, he’s hoping to preserve what he got from his victory in the birth lottery, and some of us didn’t have parents. California has always been about starting over, and I’ve done so and won (and lost it and done it again) several times since arriving with everything I owned in a backpack and nowhere to retreat.

What Cicero and me both have been at some pains to illustrate is that there is in fact a brutal world barely disguised by polite society, and too many people believe they can throw away the parts they don’t like while saving their patios and gun cabinets. I am in fact my brother’s keeper, despite having little to contribute beyond screeds in my present straitened circumstances. I gotta believe America will weather the poison of Leftism; indeed I believe we are now presented with the best opportunity to destroy this cancer ever seen on Earth.

Rob’s a true Wolverine.  No retreat, baby, no surrender.

In the next comment, Walking Horse [another of the great regulars] reminds us of how fragile a free society is.  A highlight:

…The paper thin veneer of polite society depends crucially upon the personal honor, honesty, and faith of individual people. That veneer has been won through excruciating pain, loss, and suffering – read the story of the Founders and the price they paid for what we inherited. Every goddamn day, we see people acting as if that paper thin veneer was some inevitable constant of life — execrable fools.

Dead solid perfect.  WH is not going to be one of those who will say ‘I will fight no more, forever’.

Back to the original posting: in the latter half, Irish addresses what some have commented on in his series of posting arguing against drug legalization and makes this perceptive general point:

…The thing we have witnessed since the Sixties is theft:

Theft of Heritage.

Theft of childhood.

Theft of courage and virtue and honor.

Theft of America. Its MoJo.

For the most part, these things — those things called American MoJo — have been replaced with ideology. But the thefts themselves have been accomplished by two means, primarily:

1) Drugs and

2) Class warfare.

You owe me something, goshdarnit. I’m a drug addict; I’m black; I’m Hispanic; I’m a woman, and on and on.

You see, I told you, there’s always something at the Washington Rebel to stimulate your brain, your heart, and your soul….oh, and Irish Cicero knows how to treat his friends, yes siree boy.

  1. 26 April 2010 @ 18:45 18:45

    I’m going to check that place out! I too hope VDH does not retreat. We need all the firepower we can get. The comment about everything being stolen was very thought provoking…

  2. 26 April 2010 @ 19:24 19:24


    Nice job, and thanks!

    We’re wrestling with the essence of history. What is that American feeling?Where did it go?

    It can’t be about tax cuts and markets. If that was true, child porners could restore America. We’re about this country taking pride in itself again.

    Thanks for the spotlight. It’s appreciated.

    • bobbelvedere permalink*
      26 April 2010 @ 19:40 19:40

      You Reb folks earn it every day.

  3. 26 April 2010 @ 19:26 19:26

    You said it, I say again – NO retreat, NO surrender – WOLVERINES!

    • bobbelvedere permalink*
      26 April 2010 @ 19:41 19:41


  4. 26 April 2010 @ 23:16 23:16

    We were discussing via email tonight how a Libertarian regime would fare in many American cities when the Chaos comes. I figure there wouldn’t be a live Libertarian inside six weeks. The loss of Virtue, the degradation of manners, and every man for himself is a Suicide Cocktail. Drugs would legal, all right, but you might get killed by a gang trying to buy groceries. This is the situation that will have to be faced.

    Next, American military forces policing the streets. Welcome to post-Libertarian America: the fruit of doing whatever suits you.

    The EXACT OPPOSITE of what the Founders set into motion.

  5. 27 April 2010 @ 01:36 01:36

    Bob, Washington Rebel is all right, plus that Irish Cicero fella takes darn good care of his friends.

    • bobbelvedere permalink*
      27 April 2010 @ 08:08 08:08

      That he does, that he does.

  6. 27 April 2010 @ 10:38 10:38

    Great post as always Sir. I learn something every time I visit TCOTS and IC’s place.

    I have to agree that Libertarian ideas are well and good in a society tempered with virtue, but to set those ideas loose at this moment in time would certainly result in anarchy and then progress to bondage and a totalitarian state. It is the cycle of things. It is why we fight to restore that which was lost. Where is the grail?


  7. 27 April 2010 @ 11:37 11:37

    It troubles me deeply to see the increasing tirade against our founding principles of government in the conservative movement. This idea that it can’t possibly work anymore, resulting in chaos and the end of civilization as we know it.

    In truth, the problems we have in society are rooted in the dissolution of our classical liberal traditions. Yet, we continue to believe the answers to these problems are to continue moving away. As I discussed in my post on individualism yesterday, virtue cannot come from the top down, it can only be gained from a grassroots phenomena.

    We’re all familiar with the saying “an armed society is a polite society.” The reason this is true is because it shifts responsibility from an abstract authority to the individual man. In turning to authority for all our fears and woes, we absolve ourselves of individual responsibility. Thus, the more we absolve ourselves, the further society degenerates as a whole.

    Here’s what worries me the most … It’s only “those libertarians” today, who genuinely advocate for America’s traditions. Everyone else? They’ve given up!

  8. Adobe Walls permalink
    27 April 2010 @ 21:34 21:34

    WH is right. I’ve read history since my early teens, I’m 55 now and I’ve never met anyone who had read too much, on any subject. I’m currently half way thru “PATRIOTS The Men Who Started the American Revolution” by A.J. Langguth. an excellent read of a story that never gets old.

    • bobbelvedere permalink*
      28 April 2010 @ 11:19 11:19

      Mr. Langguth’s book is the best overall history of the period. It is one of only three books I’ve have ever bought in quantity and handed out to friends and family [the other two being Ferling’s biography of John Adams and Raspail’s The Camp Of The Saints]. PATRIOTS is a great starting point, I think, for anyone wishing to learn about the Founding Fathers. And, it must be mentioned, he is a very kind man who sent me an e-mail when I complemented the same book not long ago. As a complement to PATRIOTS, I would highly recommend his book on the fall of The Roman Republic [A NOISE OF WAR: CAESAR, POMPEY, OCTAVIAN AND THE STRUGGLE FOR ROME]

  9. 28 April 2010 @ 00:41 00:41

    @ CL ~ “It troubles me deeply to see the increasing tirade against our founding principles of
    government in the conservative movement.”

    Increasing tirade? Don’t you think that might be a bit of exaggeration? Sir, with all due respect, I don’t see anyone in a tirade against those virtues. I see a realistic approach to taking the country back. The founders knew that government should be kept close to the people. That is all I see here. We are in a fight to move it back closer to the people. Personally, my points are all meant to move the power gradually closer, not immediately, as I believe that would result in anarchy.

    There has been a hundred year+ internal war, an infiltration and an apathetic attitude on the part of our colleges and educators in general to push this ideology we fight. It will not be defeated overnight, so while I love to discuss the ideology, lets focus on the reality of how, what, who and where we can be most effective in accomplishing the first goal. Meanwhile educating our youngsters to the value of these libertarian ideals which are, as Reagan said, at the heart of Conservatism.

    I love enthusiasm for the founding principles as much as I love the principles themselves,
    however we must look at the current situation. I don’t believe anyone in the group in question is working against those principles. In fact I believe in a realistic approach to that end, as I know you do too.

    Let me ask you, would you really let loose the ideas espoused by libertarianism on a people who haven’t been educated in the necessity of virtue, self restraint and individual responsibility?

    In the words of Paul Harvey, “Self government will not work without self discipline”.

    I miss Paul Harvey.

    Let me be clear, I think we’ve got a difference of approach to the same problem. One aimed at the reality, and one at the idealism. One seeks to educate, one seeks an immediate change and continuous move towards a mutual goal. The both are married to each other or they will fail.
    My 2 cents, adjusted for inflation. ~ Parts of this rant may end up on my blog. One shouldn’t waste a good tirade 🙂

    • bobbelvedere permalink*
      28 April 2010 @ 11:30 11:30

      Well said. I will have more on this in the future. But it must be stated again and again: there is no way we on the Right are going to suceed unless conservatives and libertarians work together on the general issues, which we all agree pretty much on. The specifics can wait.

      Shame on both those conservatives and libertarians who create internal conflicts that undermine our conhesiveness.

    • 28 April 2010 @ 13:04 13:04

      Let me ask you, would you really let loose the ideas espoused by libertarianism on a people who haven’t been educated in the necessity of virtue, self restraint and individual responsibility?

      “Let loose” is a vague term. To unwind the Leviathan, of course it would take prolonged steps because the system has developed dependency. On the other hand though, to ask are the American people capable of being free? Yes! Every bit as they were in 1776.

      You can boil it down to Locke vs. Hobbes … Locke looked at the world and saw that most people associate, organize and work together in peace. Therefore they need nothing more than a government which protects the inalienable rights of man. Hobbes on the other hand, looked at the world and determined everyone is in constant war with each other, and thus people require the authoritarian hand of the State.

      Opposing views of the nature of man.

      There’s 2 main problems with the Hobbesian view: 1) The authoritarian can in no way be any less warlike than the people he rules, and 2) this approach creates a society incapable of personal discretion.

      Luckily, our Founders chose the Lockeian view, and we must also do the same. Fast! Because continued reliance on the Hobbesian view can only lead us further down the road to societal destruction.

      • 28 April 2010 @ 13:11 13:11

        One more thing …

        I’m a Lutheran, and Martin Luther taught basically the same thing as John Locke did regarding individual man and the State. The only real difference is that Martin was more direct about, and focused on God.

        Locke is in line with the teachings of Jesus. Hobbes … not so much.

        • bobbelvedere permalink*
          28 April 2010 @ 14:14 14:14

          Locke is in line with the teachings of Jesus. Hobbes … not so much.

          Quite true. But let us not forget that Luther was a big advocate of The Divine Right Of Kings, which put monarchs on a pedestal as demi-gods and, therefore, removed them from earthly punishments such as Henry II had to endure in the Beckett matter. Luther was an authoritarian. Luckily most of the Protestants that followed were not.

        • 28 April 2010 @ 17:31 17:31

          Not quite, although he has been blamed for this (and many other things) since his challenges with the Catholic church.

          Was he a monarchist? Sure, but that’s hardly controversial. Both Alexander Hamilton and John Adams advocated monarchy for the United State. Hans Hermann-Hoppe argues that a monarchy could have worked out better for us the long run than our Constitution, in his classic “Democracy the God that Failed.”

          Luther said there were 2 kingdoms – spiritual and secular – and both were from God. However, secular laws “extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth.” While obedience to authority was stressed, he encouraged disobedience if they encroached ” life and property and what is external upon earth.”

      • Adobe Walls permalink
        28 April 2010 @ 16:10 16:10

        The problem I find with your theory is that neither the “Hobbesian or the Lockeian view” is wholly correct or incorrect this IMHO is the fundemental flaw in Libertarinism when it is taken to it’s logical extreme.

    • 28 April 2010 @ 18:09 18:09

      I should rephrase the main point of my original comment this way:

      It troubles me deeply to see the conservative movement advocating things not rooted in the classical liberal tradition of our founding.

      I call myself a conservative because this is what I want to conserve. Because absent our classical liberal traditions, I see nothing left to conserve. I have no interest in conserving what the progressives have done to us, nor do I foolishly believe they can be made “better.”

      You can’t get anything done until you know where you want to go. For example, repealing Obama’s healthcare may be a step, but what use is there in playing policy-wonk when we don’t know the direction we want that step to take us?

      I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, primarily reacquainting myself with Kirk and the history of the conservative movement. Kirk is critical of the Declaration, Jefferson, natural rights and so on, preferring a romanticized version of Burkean Europe instead. There’s also a strong current of intellectual desire for more authority, as well as rationalizations of the welfare state that started mainly in the ’50’s. Thus why the movement has never stopped or turned the progressive machine around.

      It’s true that libertarians are those who carry the classical liberal flame today. But they do so absent the context and tradition of our Revolution. Therefore, I continue to call myself a conservative. But in truth, conservative have gotten us nowhere. The proof is right there in you tax bill and Washington DC.

  10. 28 April 2010 @ 15:51 15:51

    Sorry if that was vague, your tone suggested to me an undercurrent of revolution that would birth an immediate libertarian society. I realize I might have misread the meaning but you must admit it was an all encompassing statement. I, for one, have not given up. I simply realize, as I know you do, that it will be a process of repeal to get back to the Founder’s principles.

    I’m certainly not opposing Locke and I’m absolutely confident that Americans can live with freedom. But, like you say, a dependency has developed.

    I merely attempted to point out that almost 50% of the American people have been trained to rely on government for their basic needs. There needs to be a weening off the teet, so to speak. We can talk academics all day about the way you and I wish it to be, but then there is reality. Those people completely depended on government are going to scream like babies when they find out they have to work to earn their way. ~ Just sayin’

    Towards the re-training, I think one essential method of retaking the lead, is to get libertarians and conservatives elected to local school boards, post haste, not to mention reintegrating the colleges as much as possible. Otherwise, all this resurgence of conservative thought will be for naught within another generation.

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