Thursday, April 18, 2019

'There's a spectre haunting America, the spectre of Constitutionalism' - The Road Not Taken to Making Americans American Again

I shared a post last week that I found hopeful, concerning a small but successful program at a sizable Ivy League University that's pursuing 'Wisdom First, Job Skills Second' (which is both surprising and new for today), through studying key works in the development of Western Civilization, and the foundations of a free society. At about the same time, a friend of mine shared a post about a 'name' Republican considering a move to the Libertarian party to run for President in 2020, which seems neither new, surprising, nor hopeful to me. The paths that these two posts propose, diverge into a future which we all hope will be better and brighter, and while they aren't mutually exclusive roads, I suspect that once we take one path, we won't get a chance for a do-over. So my question is, which road do you think is better suited to make all the difference for us, and why? Which road do you think we will have to make excuses for somewhere in the future, when we tell our grandchildren about the one we traveled by?

This is the post my friend Lloyd, a small 'L' libertarian [see my update to this, from Lloyd, below] who identifies as a Whig (you'd have to ask him), shared on the continuing struggle between Republicans & Libertarians over those who self-identify as fans of "Liberty!",
"...Libertarian Party leadership is now urging Justin Amash to run for President and make a third party challenge to the sitting President, Trump. According to Roll Call, the Michigan Republican told h…"
To which he commented with a mixture of sense and something else:
"Republicans will NEVER shrink this government AND they CANNOT be reformed from within. (Trump was the party's last chance.)
It does NOT prove the LP is the answer. It DOES prove it's gonna take a different party than donkeys or elephants, or the nation is lost.
A word to the wise-- however few of us remain."
As long as I've known him, one of Lloyd's fondest ambitions has seemed to be to see our current two party system upended or ended - particularly in regards to the GOP - and with each passing year I see even less wisdom in the prospect of such 'News!' as that. Not, as my friend persistently presumes, because I somehow 'support' the GOP (I have not been a supporter since George 'Read my lips: No new taxes" Bush 41), but for at least two other reasons:
First, because I think that it is truly hopeless to look to political parties or politicians for meaningful solutions, which presume (and require) ideas and positions which the majority of the electorate are neither knowledgeable about, nor have they shown any signs of interest in, or of even being open to considering - politics is the natural end result of that process, where an idea has bubbled up from the grass roots into a political hot-button, but politics is not the starting point of that process, and behaving as if it is, is getting it all wrong.
Second, given our current situation where We The People as an electorate are facing an unprecedented threat to liberty under limited government, by a Democrat Party which is now largely and openly identifying as being 'Democratic Socialists', it seems self-evidently foolish to pursue a path that must mean dividing the ability of 'The Right' to provide political resistance to the opposing party's efforts to gain power over our lives.
No matter how enthusiastic the libertarians are, there is no evidence of massive popular support for some alternative set of political ideas that have people champing at the bit to rush into the voting booth in support of them. Instead of popular bottom up demands for a new party, these are the top down calls of the soph-infatuated who want to shove their political influence down into the power of popular opinion, and I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.

And although the second of those reasons is the more urgent, the first is the more important. As bad as I fear the electoral repercussions of a 3rd or 4th party would be, I think the inevitable failure that would result from the success of such a political agenda, would be even worse. The citizenry have to, at the very least, be already inclined towards, and open to, the new ideas and solutions being peddled to them, before they can be led in supporting them - but to succeed at doing the reverse of that, would require the mass use of force animating mass action through emotional zeal, rather than sober resolve, and that must end in disaster. That's not just my oh so humble opinion, but that of History's as well, which you can get a fair grasp of by looking at two contrasting sets of such revolutions: England's 'Glorious Revolution' and the American Revolution, both of which were successfully carried forward upon the strength of the people's support for their ideas; as against the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, which sloganeered a largely ignorant and riled up people, into embracing tyranny and genocide. This snippet from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's short address on the subject gives a hint at the issue, and the full address is well worth reading,
"...It is now better and better understood that the social improvements which we all so passionately desire can be achieved through normal evolutionary development--with immeasurably fewer losses and without all-encompassing decay. We must be able to improve, patiently, that which we have in any given "today."
It would be vain to hope that revolution can improve human nature, yet your revolution, and especially our Russian Revolution, hoped for this very effect. The French Revolution unfolded under the banner of a self-contradictory and unrealizable slogan, "liberty, equality, fraternity." But in the life of society, liberty, and equality are mutually exclusive, even hostile concepts. Liberty, by its very nature, undermines social equality, and equality suppresses liberty--for how else could it be attained? Fraternity, meanwhile, is of entirely different stock; in this instance it is merely a catchy addition to the slogan. True fraternity is achieved by means not social but spiritual. Furthermore, the ominous words "or death!" were added to the threefold slogan, effectively destroying its meaning...."
[bold in original]
Now, am I saying that if Libertarians succeeded in unseating the GOP, without the public wanting and understanding their positions, that they'd devolve into a bloody revolution? Well of course not! How ridiculous to suggest that freedom loving people could do such things. In fact, like Jefferson, I'd say the prospects of that were an outrageous suggestion, as obviously such a liberty oriented movement would never cost a single life! Of course... Thomas Jefferson said that very same thing... just a month before the riots began that kicked off the French Revolution's downward spiral, eventually devolving into tyrannical bloodshed and genocide (the Vendee is what Alexander Solzhenitsyn was referring to
above), but then...who could have foreseen such good intentions going bad? Besides... I'm sure there's no reason to dredge up that bit of history, I'm sure no one could condemn us for ignoring that obscure lesson from history, certainly nothing for us to worry about for our future, as some lessons are safe to ignore without fear of repeating them (*cough*).

Sorry folks, but if Liberty could be achieved or restored through marketing and sloganeering, I think it would've been done already. But it can't. Ideas have consequences, as does their absence, and so too, following bad ideas leads to bad consequences, and teaching bad ideas, as we have for well over a century, leads to worse and more persistent consequences of the sort that political marketing and brand placement simply doesn't stand a chance of overcoming. Consequences such as those simply do not evaporate under a new slogan or party name.

And no, that isn't what happened in 1776, or 1860, both of those years were the culmination of a process of years of debate over the ideas of liberty and individual rights, not the beginning of that process. The Declaration of Independence was neither a slogan nor a banner alone. It wasn't a 'new!' idea, it wasn't a 'radical!' idea, and it wasn't only a political platform that the wisest of wise leaders somehow zoomed down into their followers heads by creating the 'revolution!' party. Instead, as Thomas Jefferson later said of it,
"...Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
Tragically for us today, the truth is that the Declaration of Independence is no longer " expression of the American mind..." in the minds of a majority of Americans today, and for anyone to think that it is, is delusional. If you don't understand why I say that, then I'd suggest you take a look at most any college campus today... such as the ones trying to have Thomas Jefferson's statue removed. Note: You don't seek to remove those objects of art and contemplation from your presence, which symbolize what you understand, agree, and harmonize with. Neither do you stand quietly by as it happens. Most Americans today are doing one or the other. We The People no longer 'hold these truths'. But we can again, they're not that difficult to learn, but we do need to, before we can be expected to act on them.

This too, sums up the contrast between the two paths which people think will lead to success, and their contrasting views sound a cognitive dissonance between the American mind circa 1776, and the American mind circa 2019, which is hindering our ability to Make Americans American Again. Of the two posts that my friend and I linked to above, one involves little more change than that of replacing political banners in the hands of those in quest of the political power to take action 'Now!' - which must evaporate when the banners are laid down. The other involves programs which change minds by engaging them in the necessarily slow and thoughtful building up an understanding of the dangers of power (especially power used for 'the greater good!') and the reintroducing of an understanding of those ideas which once made up a common "...expression of the American mind...".

IMHO, those paths which seek after political power alone, to move a public into what it doesn't understand, and who've been educated to not understand what that power depends upon, is reckless, at best. Pursuing the path of political change for change's sake, is simply re-dropping our anchor into what is and can only be the continuous whirlpool of illusory change which is what we've been stuck going around, and around with, and down, and down the drain in, for so very, very, long. The path of reacquainting us with Jefferson's 'harmonizing sentiments', on the other hand, is one that has the very realistic hope of exiting the whirlpool of the urgent moment, by making real and lasting changes in We The People through a deepening of our understanding of who we can and should be. One of these paths has a real hope of leading us towards a more worthwhile future, and just as it was for our Founders, that path is through the meaning of the invaluable intellectual treasures of the West's past.

That, IMHO, is the only path that has a chance to Make Americans American Again.
Update:Lloyd very reasonably notes that my lumping him in with Libertarians, even 'small 'L' libertarians', mischaracterizes, and amounts to a dismissal of his own political perspective. You'll want to look at his two question method of categorizing political positions in a quadrant, rather than on a flat line of Left & Right, to appreciate his comment that:
"...a key point in MY thinking: that is the upper left direction being essential for a new party to succeed...." and "...The LP is upper right. That is one of its problems, and a big one. In my view all libertarians are upper right. I am not. And the big-L Libertarians have even deeper issues. Despite Johnson's growing the votes considerably these past two cycles."
Although I'm not comfortable with his quadrant, or the two questions he sorts people into it with (IMHO, it opperates upon the effects of inclinations, rather than conceptual causes), I can't deny that it's effective. And as he reminds me, (often!), I've yet to come up with my own. :-)

The Utility of Ignorance
Which brings us back to the post which I found hope in, "Wisdom first, Job Skills second", and it's a post that's well worth reading, concerning the small but successful Lyceum Fellowship program, at Clemson University, which offers a multi year program for studying, considering, discussing the moral, political and economic foundations of a free society, through some of the key books which have initiated, or recorded, that development in Western Civilization - not simply by memorizing factoids gleaned from the gray pulp of textbooks to take and pass bubble tests on, but by giving those actual works thoughtful consideration and seminar style discussions of them. Every class of students guided onto that path, is taking us all a step closer to leading us towards becoming a people of citizens unafraid to think, and without claiming to make all people wise, it can credibly claim to lead to people who're wise enough to realize that, as one student quoting from C.S. Lewis, put it:
“It’s not the remembered past, but the forgotten past that enslaves us.”
I am hopeful that this is a sign that the pendulum is swinging America away from the utilitarian madness of going to school and college only to learn the 'useful skills' of the moment. That stunted purpose is what first began relegating the Humanities to irrelevance, and it is in the Humanities after all (Note: actual Humanities, not the '_ Studies' and Critical Theories slop which is peddled under that name today) where, if properly taught, Jefferson's 'harmonizing sentiments' and an "...expression of the American mind..." are first seriously encountered, considered and deliberated over.

It was that Utilitarian view, after all, even moreso than the dreaded postmodernism (as the latter is largely a result of the former) which has led us into the kind of people whose notion of the purpose of an education, is that it is to get a good job and become 'successful', while giving little or no consideration to what would make a life good or a good life, or would make a job 'good', let alone whether success is best measured by income, bling, and excitement, or by whether or not you are able to live a life worth living and in a reasonable pursuit of happiness. That modern alternative pursuit of things, without regard for the quality of your thought and ability to act wisely, is what has sent generation after generation of students out into the world, trapped in ideologies they are unaware of and cannot see, as fodder for more cunning thinkers who, tempted by their weaknesses of mind and character, manipulate them to their own purposes.

That sort of utilitarian thinking, tied to the urgency of the moment rather than being rooted in what is timeless, that has led the efforts of our Governmental-Educational Complex into the forefront of a century of movements such as those which the article briefly notes, that
"...The NHA seems to believe that students need utilitarian justifications for studying fields like philosophy and art history. To market the humanities, on this view, we must play up money and success, and add a few sentimental effusions. It’s not working, though, as the poor enrollment figures underscore...."
That rudderless educational mantra and its mindless drive to push 'College for Everyone!' has not been working (educationally, at least) for a very, very, long time. It has, however, been very successful in producing ever more remarkable effects across that time, best illustrated by the proverbial 'student snowflakes', such as these at George Mason University, where students loudly declare that they won't feel 'happy, safe' with Brett Kavanaugh on campus". The impatience and belligerence of those students is what the presence of useful (?) skills combined with the absence of the wisdom to use them well, looks like. And it is not new. It wasn't even new when Dorothy Sayers noted in her address "The Lost Tools Of Learning" in 1947, that students are being left unarmed and overwhelmed in the face of a world filled with dangerous ideas that have very real and unforgiving consequences:
"...For we let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them all to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of "subjects"; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spell binder, we have the impudence to be astonished. We dole out lip-service to the importance of education--lip- service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone the school-leaving age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only make a botched and piecemeal job of it...."
We can do better... and we know that because we have done better, and we only did so after learning how far from the mark we'd fallen (it took Sam Adams thirty years to help us prepare us for 1776). What I found most hopeful in the post which I'd shared, was its description of their reacquainting students with those very works which Jefferson knew as " expression of the American mind..."
"...A better approach comes from Clemson University, where a Great Books–style initiative called the Lyceum Program is thriving. Each year, the program admits ten “scholars” out of high school, providing them a $2,500 annual tuition credit. The Lyceum offers eight courses per semester, taught by six professors. The students take the courses as a group, in a set sequence—for example, “Wisdom of the Ancients” for freshman year, “American Political Thought” for sophomore year, and so on. Participants then meet individually every week with their assigned tutors—professors who engage them in Socratic discussion of the readings. After completing the eight required courses, students earn a political science minor. A Lyceum certification may soon appear on transcripts and diplomas.

I met some of the students on Clemson’s campus in September. “I heard about this program in high school,” one told me, and “that’s why I came to Clemson.”

“Are the courses tough?” I asked.

“Definitely,” he said with a laugh, “the hardest ones I’ve ever taken.” The three others who joined us nodded. They kept citing the works that inspired them—Anna Karenina, The Closing of the American Mind, Cicero’s On Obligations, and a quote by C. S. Lewis that one took as his motto: “It’s not the remembered past, but the forgotten past that enslaves us.”

One of the students was majoring in philosophy, two in English, and one in economics, but I sensed their camaraderie. I asked if they really found those old books relevant in contemporary America. “Relevant to what?” one remarked, noting that other teachers might insert “pop culture references” to bring the material up to date, “but I don’t need them in the classroom.” Another found it “uplifting” to be in a class that offered a sanctuary from topical affairs..."
What gives me real hope, is the renewed interest in developing the habits of reasoning in students - Sayer's lost tools of learning - and not only in college, but also from the ages of Kindergarten through High School, and with more and more opportunities for doing so outside of the public institutions that are fundamentally opposed to them. That would not only be truly great, but has a real chance of leading to the kind of greatness that can't be had without such foundations.

IMHO, real, lasting solutions, can only be found when an influential segment of society has come to believe that. When people accept, even if they don't fully have the knowledge and understanding themselves, when the belief becomes widespread that Wisdom is more important than Job Skills, then we may again have an electorate that is open to the types of solutions that are worth pursuing, and will be willing to be led to support the manner of thinking which America was founded through in the first place.

Back To The Present
Unfortunately "Wisdom first, Job Skills second", does not describe America or the majority of Americans, today. Through the steady corruptions of a century and more, we left that 'old fashioned notion' behind, and have instead valued the reverse of it with "Job Skills first, Wisdom (if at all) second", which is the ideology driving virtually all of our modern educational 'initiatives', as well as the 'political action over political ideas!', which the 3rd & 4th 'Party!' people are pushing. Such a population as that is not one that is going to propose, or submit to anything but the most immediately useful of solutions, one where wisdom necessarily takes a back seat to 'what works' to pragmatically solve the urgent needs of the moment, you know, the "Lower my broadband fees!", "Let me identify as being the gender (or anything else) that I'm not, and do what I want!", "Pay me a higher minimum", "3rd Party!" types of solutions, and that IS the population that makes up our electorate today.

The point that we as a people should feel pressing into our throats, is that simply shifting around the members of our current electorate, hoping to exploit various niches in their preferred uses and abuses of power, is not going to bring about anything different from what we already have now. That is not a way forward.To that effect, I snarkily replied to my friend:
"A new party! Brilliant! Er... where ya gonna find the tens of millions of sensible, knowledgeable, ethical, people to populate this new party with? Or is that somehow in the magic of new labels?"
Granted, that wasn't the most helpful of replies on my part, but in my defense we've had this conversation, repeatedly, ad nauseam, for years - he is unwilling to see my position as being anything but political, and I do not see how seeing things only politically can lead to anything more than more of the same politics - and worse. True to his norm, which I think is typical of most, he said:
"Then kiss America goodbye. Where do YOU think these voters could be?"
Which, true to form, is not a reply, but an evasion of the real issue involved - we cannot count upon a populace supporting real solutions, that doesn't understand the real problems, and who may lack the character and resolve to insist upon and hold to real solutions, and somehow expect their support for those real solutions to magically appear simply because they've switched their political party or created a new one. A change of labels isn't going to magically infuse the people who might switch to that party, with the characteristics and understanding which real change requires, and it's deluding ourselves even further, to imagine that it's all due to a simple matter of party politics. Such a plan is even more foolish than putting new wine into old wineskins, it's putting old wine into new wineskins while expecting to then somehow pour new wine back out of them. That is folly.

Again, this is not an example of me advocating for, or 'showing loyalty to' the GOP, that's simply me rejecting magical thinking. And while it's true that the Republican party is no longer who they once were, we can do worse, and all it takes for that, is for us to force bad to give way to worse, which is what happens by vaingloriously splitting the vote and letting the deliberately anti-American party into power, as a happy few stroke their egos with chants of "Principle!".

The GOP originally came into being on the groundswell of a widely held conviction of the need to kick the old Whigs aside and confront the abhorrent contradictions inherent in that party's accepting of slavery of some, while claiming to support liberty for all. There was a widespread understanding that the principles of liberty were absent from the Whigs (the leading political party of the time), and they formed the Republican Party to kick aside the feckless Whigs, and others, who time and time again had shown themselves to be only too happy to try and live with and within those contradictions. But today, while the Republicans have little to offer besides a bit of bluster and the drama of cliches and constant appeals to "rights!" under a Constitution which they manifestly do not believe in either (and no, praising it, and quoting it, without bothering to understand and abide by it, is not an example of believing in it). Unlike when the GOP opposed the Whigs, we do not have an electorate that possesses that understanding and conviction which the GOP evidently lacks. The GOP does have one remaining virtue though, and that is that it is a beachhead of political power, shabby though it may be, offering a means of resistance to the advancing tide of the Left. That is the only option open to us at this time, to offer effective resistance to a 'Democratic Socialism', and any who think opposition parties such as the GOP, Libertarian, will have a hope of peacefully regaining political power after that, is willfully ignorant of history.

The Libertarian Party is who they've always been, with no power but to divide resistance to the Left, and they have even less than nothing to offer, which is what economic policies without an understanding of the system of thought needed to lead to and support them, is. I see nothing in the party, nor in its supporters, so many of whom yearn for state imposed Net Neutrality, or Anarcho-Capitalism (read: "Anarchy", the 2nd word is for decoration only, in much the same way that the 1st word in 'Democratic Socialism', is), not to mention every feel good 'liberty' from legalizing drugs, to prostitution, along with a disdain for thinking upon such matters any more deeply than an ethical standard of "Just do it!" provides. I see no signs that they are engaged in serious thinking, let alone committing to worthy plans resulting from that, and so for those reasons I think it's unwise to expect any worthwhile improvements from those that make up the Libertarian Party, currently or in the foreseeable future.

In the long run, both of these party's paths to political leadership are dead ends in the seeking of power, as neither has a principled understanding of the need, and ability, to maintain limitations upon that power. But they do not see this, and they are dangerously blind, to imagine that alternative effects can be created without sufficient causes, as another commenter, Eric, asked me:
"...why do you think abandoning support for a hopelessly corrupt party like the Republicans and instead supporting a new party is just "changing labels"?."
I think that such a question has to be answered with another question: Why do you think that any party they abandoned it for, would not become just as 'hopelessly corrupt'? What currently hidden understandings and virtues do you see in these same people who currently support the GOP, that would suddenly be revealed and cause them to behave differently in a new party? These expectations hint at the very pragmatic belief that appearances are enough to do the trick of making things work for them; that there is no need to consider what lies (or lurks) beneath the surface of those pleasing appearances, and so disregarding the important depths, is an exercise in "Wagging the Dog".

The GOP and its leaders (and the two party system itself) may be rootless, and corrupt, but that makes them a far too convenient scapegoat for 'all that's wrong with party politics!', and I'm not buying it, or rather, because the problem goes much deeper than its current leaders and labels, I don't buy that 'the people' aren't complicit in, and responsible for, the way things actually are and have been in those parties. The party is the way it is, because its people are the way they are. Moving those same people into a new party, isn't going to produce many new results. However, if and when they better understand what they either currently don't understand, or willfully ignore and permit, then they might understand why their party has the problems it has. If they do take the time to actually change, then there will be no need for a few lone voices to call for a new party, or new leaders - the old ones will either be ejected or thrown down, and those few lone voices will be required only to call upon their people to be peaceful and to show some restraint.

But as long as some angry few have to try and get people's attention and call for 'change!', nothing at all will change, because nothing substantive will have been changed. Hoping that political parties themselves can accomplish anything which its membership doesn't believe in or understand, is as hopeless as the old saw about the guy sitting before a fireplace in the freezing cold, saying to it "Fireplace, first give me some heat, then I'll give you some wood."

Lloyd's response, again true to form, and I suspect still true of most people living in America, was to ignore what I'd just said and continue to focus his attention upon party politics, saying
"... Is there ANYTHING Republicans could do that would make YOU believe we need a new party? Nope. But I had guessed this already...."
Which again is mistaking my leeriness and lack of interest in a new party, as support for the existing parties - it most definitely is not. Instead, IMHO, rather than a new party, we need a new understanding in the people within (and without) these parties (which is what this blog is about) - change the people, and you'll change their parties, but the reverse is not and cannot be true.

To pretend that somehow new party labels, or leaders, can magically recreate the people within those parties, is pure folly, and though its most enthusiastic supporters would angrily deny it, it is a highly elitist cast of mind that proposes it. Most populists and 'democracy!' folk (and of course all variants of Marxists as well) are eagerly wanting to help 'the little people', who they believe need something more than equal rights before the law, to face up to the 'superior classes' (typically what they identify as being their own), and because they don't like the way things are going, they support creating a 'NEW!' party that all the lesser folk can be drawn into, and whose mere existence will magically enlighten all its new found followers into supporting their better's preferred political party for them! How lucky the little people are to have them show them the way!

But as I've gone down this road before, it was no surprise when Eric replied "I see you didn't answer my question. You may think you did -- and you came pretty close at times -- but you didn't.", which I think shows that he prefers the appearances of reality, to digging into the real thing.

Back here in real reality, political parties can and do have an important impact upon our nation and our ability to survive, and they have an impact upon people's ability to engage in living their lives, and for that reason it is dangerous to weaken the little help those parties still provide in supporting what's left of our constitutional system. It is dangerous because the intentions of such "New!" thinking, is to either produce new parties or split the available electorate into opposing political camps, splitting what power which the loose and flabby 'we' still have left, at the very moment when we are actually faced with blatantly anti-American political parties like the Democrats, Greens, etc, whose membership is chock full of those who believe their spiel of Green and Democratic Socialism - that is insanity.

Any real advance will come only when We The People bother with learning and understanding the concepts of Individual Rights, and the principles of the Rule of Law, which led to America in the first place. Absent that, it'll continue to be just one political machine's power play after another, running it all into the ground. If and when we do wake up, which party banner they gather under, will be the least important part of it.

Instead of doing that, many people seem to want it both ways - they want to say that political parties do matter to this nation, and at the same time say that it doesn't matter to the nation if they have any political power. The unreasonableness of such people, and their unprincipled claims to 'Principle!', I've gone over elsewhere, and I'll leave those arguments there, if you're interested in following them.

That isn't going to work. We don't need new parties, we need to renew the people in them. First things first.

Making Americans American Again
"...I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
We have a hard road ahead of us no matter which road we choose, but as the poet chides us, we should be very careful about what seems obvious.

Regenerating the American spirit requires more than the shifting around of political parties, positions and politicians. The notion that political power can carry us forward, while advocating for dividing the few nominally pro-American voters we have among the parties we have, or further dividing them with new parties, is a hopeless plan. Prosperity will not be found in the jockeying of political powers. There is no way forward by continuing down that path, it leads only to where we are right now.

We need to generate the American fire, before we'll again feel its warmth, as Thomas Jefferson noted,
"...If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be...."
Which brings me back around to end on what gave me hope in the post that I'd linked to. There are plenty of people seeking to create that fire today, as they are in the program at Clemson, and other colleges such as Hillsdale College, St. Johns, and many such others, and as they are in homeschooling options such as Classical Conversations and Roman Roads, and in private schools that are popping up around the nation, such as "The Classical Academy de Lafayette". Preceded by a few lone voices such as Dorothy Sayers, C. S. Lewis, and Irving Babbitt, their lasting and positive consequences fanned the still burning ember which sparked the Tea Party movement, and which it in turn added fuel to the fire of, in fighting back against Common Core. No the Tea Party wasn't hugely successful politically, but that wasn't what was important about it even at the time, as I said during and 'after' the time, what was important was that it raised raised the ghost of our Constitution, and of the ideas of our Founders that led to it.

For those who fear that it has all been for nothing (or who hope that it was), you should keep in mind that the Father of the American Revolution, Sam Adams, began sounding the alarms with his college thesis in 1743. It was another twenty or so years before he managed to ignite patriotic fire in the "Writs of Assistance" (1761), and then a few years after that in response to The Stamp Act Congress (1765), and almost another 11 years until the Declaration of Independence (1776), and then still another 12 years before our Constitution was ratified.

History takes time. If you are under the impression that the Tea Party is over and done with... you've missed out on the never ending nature of it. If you're under the impression that slogans and positions alone can lead to a meaningful pursuit of happiness, sorry, but they're only good for the sorts of Bait & Switch efforts that have plagued the world from the French Revolution, to the Russian Revolution, right on down to the current suicide attempt taking place in Venezuela.

Marx famously opened his Communist Manifesto with the line that "A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism", and today there are millions of people who wish that that road had been the one not taken. It is ironic that in America today, where the 'educated' establishment yearns for Marxism and its McPolitic franchise of Democratic Socialism, it is becoming even truer for us today, to say that,
'There's a spectre haunting America, the spectre of Constitutionalism'
, and there are an ever growing number of people who've been busily working to put flesh on that spirit, and a generation that has been, and is being, raised with that in mind, and I'm far from the only one who see's it.

That road is the only path that can hope to lead to an America filled with Americans once again. What hopes I have lie there. And those programs such as the college level offerings of Clemson's Lyceum Project, and the grammar school level offerings of the likes of  The Classical Academy de Lafayette, give me real hope for that future, rather than the cheap, feelgood, baseless hopes of party and faction. A truly substantial hope comes from the knowledge that putting First Principles first, is where America came from in the first place, and reanimating our understanding of Constitutionalism from those first principles, we can reasonably hope for an America filled with Americans who are willing to embrace its greatness once again. Should we do so, it will come to pass.

What it is that enables so many to mistake the one road, for the other, is something that I'll be looking closer at in the next few posts.

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