Conservatism is Rooted in Natural Rights

By James Piereson

Is there a distinct form of American conservatism that distinguishes it from varieties of conservatism found in other countries? The answer to that question is certainly “yes.”

The conservative movement in America in the post-war period advanced in two broad stages. In the first phase, running from the 1950s into the 1970s, influential thinkers sought to define conservatism broadly in terms of an approach to politics and society that transcended national boundaries. In the more recent period, conservatives have advanced a set of ideas that are uniquely American, focusing on America’s founding institutions, the Founding Fathers, and a few other notable American thinkers.

William F. Buckley, Jr., is generally credited with launching the post-war conservative movement when he founded National Review in 1954. In launching the magazine, Buckley was greatly influenced by two canonical books that shaped conservative thought in the 1950s: Witness, by Whittaker Chambers (published in 1952), and The Conservative Mind, by Russell Kirk (published in 1953). These books were widely read (both were best-sellers) and favorably reviewed in prominent newspapers and journals, and had great appeal to a reading public searching for something different after two decades of liberal control of national politics. Both Witness and The Conservative Mind, however, outlined versions of conservatism that transcended national boundaries and particular regimes. They were about “Conservatism,” not necessarily American conservatism.

Witness was an autobiographical work in which Chambers traced his personal journey from communism to Christianity, culminating in his confrontation with Alger Hiss over Hiss’s role in espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. The dominant theme of Witness, leaving aside the Hiss case, was religious rather than political. Chambers saw in communism the latest campaign by secular man to displace God as the source of morals and meaning in life and history. Witness, as a work of conservative thought, sounded the alarm that Western civilization was under threat not merely from communism but from secular doctrines in general, including socialism and liberalism. In contrasting himself with Hiss and his supporters, Chambers also drew a line between common citizens (like himself) and highly educated elites who were prepared to sell out the country for their secular ideals—thus pointing toward a conservative version of populism. Nevertheless, Chambers ended the book on a pessimistic note: he said that in abandoning communism he had joined the losing side against the inevitable winners.

The Conservative Mind was a different kind of book, an effort by Kirk to trace the threads of conservative ideas in the writings of prominent thinkers extending back into the 18th century.

Kirk located the origins of conservative thought in Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke’s broadside against the French Revolution where he made the case for tradition, continuity, and stability in politics against the abstract claims of the revolutionaries that turned France upside down. Kirk identified various conservative themes in the writings and speeches of others who were not ordinarily classified as conservatives—figures such as John Adams, Tocqueville, Disraeli, Santayana, and many others. In doing so, he demonstrated …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Andrew McCarthy: Court rejection of Boston bomber’s death sentence seems based on hostility to death penalty

By Andrew McCarthy It appears that the ruling has at least as much to do with judicial hostility to capital punishment as to concerns about the due process implications of intense media coverage. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Deroy Murdock: Orwellian Democrats claim Portland’s violence = peace

By Deroy Murdock Attorney General Barr had every reason to be perplexed by the radical Democrats’ institutional indifference toward these relentless onslaughts against federal personnel and what they are guarding: a palace of justice. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Let’s Talk About Contemporary Slavery

By Casey Chalk

Slavery is at the forefront of American public discourse these days. Some focus their attention on public monuments—even to our nation’s founders—and whether or not such public art is somehow an endorsement of our country’s “original sin.” Some debate the degree to which slavery affects institutional racism in America’s criminal justice system, housing policies, and education disparities, among others. Still others argue over reparations for the descendants of black slaves.

Yet largely overlooked in this “national conversation” is another tragedy: slavery still exists in the United States, and it disproportionately affects black Americans.

Many readers may be surprised to learn that about 40.3 million people globally are estimated by the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) to be enslaved today (that’s about 80 times the number of people who have thus far died from the coronavirus). It is also more than at any point in history. “A person today is considered enslaved,” explains a February 2019 article at The Guardian, “if they are forced to work against their will; are owned or controlled by an exploiter or ‘employer’; have limited freedom of movement; or are dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as property.” Globally, more than half of current victims are in forced labor, while more than a third are living in forced marriages. Slavery, which is most prevalent in Africa and Asia, is big business, generating about $150 billion each year.

Slavery may seem a distant problem, but a 2018 U.S. Department of State report ranks the United States alongside Mexico and the Philippines as the three worst countries in the world for human trafficking, one form of slavery. The number of people in the United States who would be classified as enduring some manner of slavery are notoriously difficult to estimate, though some experts suspect it could be as high as the hundreds of thousands, if one includes child labor and forced sex work. An estimated 14,000-20,000 people are estimated to be trafficked into the United States every year. More than 300,000 young people in this country are considered “at risk” of sexual exploitation, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report. Approximately 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation occur within the U.S. each year.

The insatiable demand of the sex industry drives much of this. “We have a major issue here in the United States” said Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), in a June 2019 interview. “The United States is the No. 1 consumer of sex worldwide. So we are driving the demand as a society.” Many of the people trafficked in the sex industry are from outside the United States, particularly Mexico. But most are American. “If you are trafficked in the United States, 85 percent of victims that are trafficked here are from here,” said Brook Bello, founder of anti-trafficking organization More Too Life in Florida. “These are American kids, American born, 50% to 60% of them …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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The Biden Rule: ‘No Men Need Apply!’

By Patrick Buchanan

There is a real possibility that, this coming week, Joe Biden will be selecting the 47th president of the United States.

For the woman Biden picks — he has promised to exclude from consideration all men, black, brown, white or Asian — has a better chance of succeeding to the presidency than any vice presidential nominee in U.S. history, other than perhaps Harry Truman.

In 1944, the Democratic establishment engineered the dumping of radical Henry Wallace from Roosevelt’s ticket. They could see from FDR’s physical deterioration that he would not last through a full fourth term.

There are other reasons the woman Biden chooses in August may become our 47th president.

If Biden wins, he will be 78 when he takes the oath, older than our eldest president, Ronald Reagan, was when he left office after two terms. Biden would turn 80 even before he reached the midpoint of his first term.

Moreover, Biden has suffered a transparent deterioration of his mental capacities that was nowhere evident when he debated Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan in 2012.

What are the odds that Biden would serve a full term?

Of our 45 presidents, nine failed to complete the term to which they had been elected. One resigned; four died in office; and four were assassinated. All nine were succeeded by their vice president.

John Tyler became president in 1841 when William Henry Harrison died a month into office of pneumonia, following an inaugural address of nearly two hours in the cold without an overcoat.

Tyler would effect the annexation of the Republic of Texas in his final days in 1845, fail to win his party’s nomination to a full term, back the secession of Virginia in 1861, and end his days as a member of the Confederate Congress sitting in Richmond in 1862.

Mexican War hero and President Zachary Taylor died in his second year in 1850, to be succeeded by Millard Fillmore, who would go on to become the 1856 nominee of the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant American Party known to history as the “Know Nothings.”

Andrew Johnson became president after the assassination of Lincoln at Ford’s Theater a month after Lincoln’s second inaugural.

Johnson would be impeached in 1868 by radical Republicans who wanted a more severe Reconstruction of a defeated and occupied South.

Chester Arthur succeeded James Garfield in 1881 after President Garfield suffered a mortal wound from an assassin’s bullet at a D.C. train station, only months into his first year in office.

Teddy Roosevelt became our youngest president in 1901 when he succeeded the assassinated William McKinley. In our own time, Lyndon Johnson succeeded John F. Kennedy after Dallas in November 1963.

In addition to Tyler, Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Arthur, TR and LBJ, three vice presidents succeeded to the presidency in the 20th century on the death or departure of the men who selected them: Calvin Coolidge on the death of Warren Harding in 1923, Harry Truman on the death of FDR in April 1945, and Gerald Ford on the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Thus, of our four dozen vice presidents, all of …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Dr. Nicole Saphier: COVID-19 — From goggles to testing, this is what we need to do next to beat coronavirus

By Nicole Saphier There is no such thing as being over-prepared for a health crisis, but there is certainly the possibility of being under-prepared for one. An acceptable solution lies somewhere in between the extremes. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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David Limbaugh: George Floyd’s murder was outrageous — but rioting, looting and violence must end

By David Limbaugh How do we make sense of the nonstop craziness going on in our society? Is there a common denominator, or is it all happening randomly? …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Victor Davis Hanson: Coronavirus pandemic exposing cultural suicide by elites in sports, academia, Hollywood

By Victor Davis Hanson Once elites became pampered and arrogant, they feel exempt from their ancestors’ respect for moral and spiritual laws like thrift, moderation and transcendence. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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