In the ruinous ashes of Republican defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, a number of Republicans have popped-up in media to dutifully serve the narrative that the election had been the fault of conservatives. Not only is this preposterous conclusion untrue, but also a proxy for any actual examination of why Republicans lost in 2012. One of the favored approaches of these critics is to suggest that if conservatives wouldn’t be, well… so darned conservative, there’s some chance Republicans could have won. One writer has even fashioned a new term to apply to staunch conservatives, but it’s not hard to notice that by the connotations of his term, he doesn’t mean to win them over. James Arlandson, writing in the American Thinker, has coined a new term for most of you and I, and I don’t believe he intends flattery, although the combative part of me likes the label even if inaccurate. He suggests we “might be Hyper-conservatives if…” and in the form of Jeff Foxworthy, goes on to list a number of conditions he believes characterizes the class. Myself, I’ve devised a different label for folks like Arlandson because I believe it captures the essence and spirit of their fundamental philosophical frailties, to the extent they adhere to any ideology at all. These philosophically smallish Republicans would honestly make better “Mini-Dems.”
Arlandson’s approach to the matter is straightforward, if a bit muddled. He alleges that there are certain aspects of some in the conservative wing of the general Republican universe that must disqualify their opinions because he believes certain positions are beyond the pale. He lists a number of these conditions, and right off the top, he asserts a falsehood without substantiation. What makes it interesting is his use of a term to describe those who vote libertarian. We’ve heard this term before, and it’s another I’m not afraid to wear. Arlandson says those who wish to eliminate too much government too quickly(while bothering to define neither scale) are “too severe.” The only other person I know who in recent memory used that term to describe conservatism was Mitt Romney, describing himself, for Pete’s sake.
He then insists that we might be hyper-conservatives if we cry “third party” every time we don’t get our way. Actually, I haven’t cried “third party” every time, but only when the party completely undercuts its purported principles for the sake of political expediency, an approach Mr. Arlandson would seem to approve. The fact that these betrayals are happening with increasing regularity plays no role in his formulation. His claim is that “grownup conservatives” (ostensibly such as he) “must be willing to suck it up and fight harder for the (imperfect) brand that has the best chance of winning — R.” Let us imagine we take his advice. The imperfect brand with the best chance of winning actually won, with the other imperfect brand following his advice. Hint to Mr. Arlandson: That’s a “D” – Not an “R.”
He argues that we might be hyper-conservatives if… “[We] refuse to work with Dems(even after [we] lose an election.)” Exactly what work would Mr. Arlandson suggest we take up with the Dems? Shall we help them ban semi-automatic firearms? Shall we work with them to more rapidly bankrupt the country(an object Republicans in DC have apparently taken up?) Shall we stand by and watch the Democrats rape, pillage and burn, or does the mere suggestion of the truth of the situation brand me irrevocably as a “hyper-conservative?” I know one he intends, but he gets to that in a separate line-item, and so shall we.
Let’s apply his faulty strategy to any other human endeavor in which one side wins and the other sides loses. In war, should we now work with al-Qaeda, since its apparent that despite more than a decade of conflict, our current administration seems committed to failure? Too late, the President Arlandson suggests we’re no longer to substantially oppose has already done that. Even in sport, is a beaten football team supposed to work with its rival? Should a defeated boxer pummel himself in order to work with his opponent? I’m trying to understand the mentality that permits one to believe any of that is possible without simply joining the other team, but I think Mr. Arlandson is fairly-well ahead of me on that score. This serves as the unmistakable clarion call of an approaching Mini-Dem.
He argues that if we fantasize about shredding or scrapping the school lunch program, we might be hyper-conservatives. I suppose that cinches the matter, and I should confess, because if this is the standard, I am guilty as charged, and this issue must serve as my hyper-conservative bona fides. I would also suggest that this is the sort of issue where the Mini-Dem is likewise exposed. You see, I may be hyper-conservative, but I also know that the ultimate aim of any such program must be the intent to become obsolete by virtue of a growing prosperity, a quantity and quality that will remain out of our reach so long as we continue to fund dependency. While Arlandson likes to wave Ronald Reagan around with zest, here he instead peddles “compassionate conservatism,” a theory that when turned to practice actually demonstrates neither. As he decries those of us who would cut government programs “like drunken lumberjacks,” I’m looking around for some whiskey, and where did that blue ox run off to? It seems Mr. Arlandson has forgotten that Reagan maxim that we should measure compassion not by how many are on government programs, but instead by how many no longer need them.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for him to get around to the discussion of immigration. After all, it’s a good opportunity to work with Democrats who will be the primary beneficiaries of so-called “comprehensive immigration reform.” Those who want illegals deported are apparently some sort of back-woods rednecks right out of the script of The Deliverance, at least where Arlandson is concerned. Says he:
“Honestly, I would self-deport from your America if she were ever made in your image. The DNC is gleeful.”
Honestly, I too would be gleeful at the prospect of your self-deportation, Mr. Arlandson. He offers us sage counsel, as if we’re too stupid to know it, or too lacking in compassion to care, chiding us:
“Immigrants, even illegal ones, are humans. Never forget that.”
If there’s one thing a hyper-conservative hates, it’s to be the object of condescension by a Mini-Dem, and here, Mr. Arlandson goes too far. My wife happens to be an immigrant. I know everything I need to know about the issue, and I am well aware of the hurdles, the obstacles, and the myriad difficulties, but guess what? None of that stopped me or my wife from observing the law. Put another way Mr. Arlandson, stuff it. How’s that for hyper-conservatism?
He apparently supports the made-up holiday Kwanzaa. Why should I care? In his view, admitting the entirely contrived nature of the holiday is to express some part of that quality that Colin Powell would term “a dark vein of intolerance.” I suppose he needs to take this complaint up with Ann Coulter who famously dislikes the holiday, if she’s not too busy tying Chris Christie’s shoes. This is one more glaring reason that our country should never be entrusted to Mini-Dems, any more than it should be left to the mercy of the full-size imbeciles. They’ll accept any absurdity in order to appease others, particularly if those others comprise a significant voting bloc that Republicans will never likely capture.
He says hyper-conservatives get side-tracked too easily by hobbyhorses. Like berating conservatives critical of Kwanzaa? One example he offers is the desire among many conservatives and libertarians to eliminate the Federal Reserve. He dismisses the notion with a thoughtful and retrospective view of the history and function of the Federal Reserve by simply saying:
“Ain’t gonna happen.”
That’s a nifty assertion, but let me offer a different view to Mr. Arlandson, although he may well reject it as the product of hyper-conservatism: Nothing made by men lasts forever, so that whether it happens as a result of a seemingly inevitable monetary collapse birthed by that very institution, or instead because the United States of America ceases to exist as a political subdivision on this Earth, it most certainly will happen at some point whether you like it or not. The question is not “if the Fed will die,” but instead “when,” and perhaps also “how.” I love it when people like Arlandson deify themselves and make such preposterous declarations, as if they had any power whatever to make it come out the way they dictate. It’s another tell-tale sign of a Mini-Dem. Apparently unhappy with their station in life as the weaker ideological sister to either left or right, they tend toward grand pronouncements easily debunked by adolescent logicians. Notice, however, that Arlandson does not answer whether the Federal Reserve ought to exist, or whether it is doing more harm than good, instead merely asserting that it does exist, and on such basis must remain in perpetuity, or perhaps at least until he gets tired of it. Naturally, he takes on those who get caught up by media questions about the age of the Earth, as though it had been a perfectly settled matter, but he is unable to acknowledge that the sun will burn out, the world will end, the United States will dissolve, and the Federal Reserve system will come to an end. Apart from the direct intervention of God, these things will all come to pass, but while He might have some interest in the first two events, I suspect the Almighty isn’t spending much of His infinite time pondering the possibility of life on Earth without the Federal Reserve.
Arlandson goes on a bit more, about “birthers” and rape, and the age of the Earth, along with other pressing issues to conservatism, in each revealing his general competence for the description of Mini-Dem. Like so many Mini-Dems, he wields Ronald Reagan in selective references like a sword, much like full-size Democrats do, but he is careful to remember only that much of “the Gipper” that will buttress his points, but no more. He quite predictably flees to that age-old taunt about “hyper-conservatives” being too “simplistic.” What this really denotes, as ever, is a willingness to forgo discussions of precise right and wrong; simple truth and falsehood; moral white and black. This is the signature cop-out of a Mini-Dem, because what they assert is that things are not so simple as to be reduced to a string of binary choices and decisions, though every computer on the planet proves otherwise. It’s the same old dodge with the same old flavor: Create gray areas to obscure one’s [intended]wrongdoing.
As a matter of clean-up then, I suppose it’s time to explain what I mean by “Mini-Dem,” and therefore permit you to decide for yourselves whether Mr. Arlandson fits the description:
A “Mini-Dem” is Republican who never has a single big idea. Big ideas are too risky for Mini-Dems, because the larger (and smaller) part of what defines them as such is their abiding lack of political courage. They refuse to confront difficult challenges because it’s so much easier to surrender. To conservatism? No, never. To Democrats? Who else? Mini-Dems would rather join with Democrats and assist their victory than bend their will to conservatism, because they possess the imbecilic need of a teenager to be accepted by the crowd, while actual conservatives realize that saying “no” is necessary job of responsible adults. Part of the problem may owe to their conception of political courage, in Mini-Dem terms defined by criticizing conservatism to the endless glee of the left-wing media.
Theirs is the position of interminable surrender. Who wants to go through all that fighting, and after all, “can’t we just get along?” It’s not that they never contemplate a fight, but instead that at the first imagined spilling of political blood, they go running of in search of another excuse for their cowardice. It’s always “we’ll get’em next time,” but when it’s this time, the “getting’em” is always delayed until next time. Next time never comes. Ever. If you want to see Mr. Arlandson’s prescribed approach in action, watch the abandonment of all reason and principle by the House Republicans over the Debt Ceiling. Last time, they said “next time,” but when the next time came, they said again “next time, not this time.” Do you notice the pattern? They talk about conservatism, but when the time demands conservatism in practice, it’s always next time. My own conclusion is that this owes to small hearts, small minds, weak constitutions, and over-indulging parents. (All right, fine, maybe not that last, but it just felt right.) In short, they’re almost exactly like Democrats in practice, their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.
I think that which defines the larger part of the psyche of Mini-Dems is a preternatural fear of being disliked. It’s like the teenage emotional state of panic that occurs when they realize everybody is looking at them as though they had the world’s largest zits on the ends of their noses. It’s that kind of sheer terror that reveals the Mini-Dem, and it’s another reason why we continue to lose elections. Their panic at the embarrassment of a naturally occurring dermal disturbance sends them screaming out of the room to the roaring laughter of their peers, not because they had pimples, but because they had freaked out over them. It makes a more solid conservative wish to grab and shake them. “Get a grip, man: Zits happen.”
The rise of the Mini-Dem was inevitable after moderate Mitt was defeated. The idea is to excuse Mitt’s moderate or liberal positions, as possible reasons for his loss. The problem is that these had been most of the cause, but just as Mitt refused to fight over the Benghazi issue after Candy Crowley flat-out lied to the debate audience, this lack of combativeness typifies the Mini-Dem. We mustn’t have a big and ugly spectacle lest some one notice those zits on our noses, don’t you know? Therefore, what defines the breed is an near-absolute unwillingness to stand on any principle lest they be mistaken for us. What are we? Apparently, we’re hyper-conservatives because we don’t fear losing much of anything save for our souls. Then we’d be Mini-Dems.