This "handbook" is intended to instruct young Conservatives in the art of political debate: Not from the standpoint of participation in an Oxonian debating society, but from how best to demonstrate a clear advantage before a public gathering seeking direction rather than amusement. While the techniques of analysis and presentation, to be explored, would be efficacious for any form of public disputation; here, the interested student will learn a focused methodology particularly suited to the specialized confrontation between the American tradition and Collectivist "Liberalism" in any of its forms. Here, the intelligent, mentally organized, High School graduate can learn all that he or she will ever need to dismantle the intellectual pretensions of any Collectivist "Liberal," anywhere, any time.
One needs first to understand the natural advantage to the Conservative position, as opposed to the alternatives; an advantage derived from the very nature of human society and from the Conservative motivation. While there have been periods in the history of almost every folk or nation, where a generation or two went astray--as in America since 1930--it is only logical that the general course of any human social development will reflect the nature of those developing. Anything else defies reason. Conservatives are those who by instinct appreciate what is valuable in the historic struggle and achievements of their society. We are thus the heirs to a vast amount of mental effort, soul searching, trial and error over many generations, by those intent to find the best course, based upon all past experience, on which to navigate the future. We are the heirs to the layers of foundations and the builders of civilizations.
The modern "Liberal" has none of these advantages. He is the attacker, the despoiler. But so long as we allow the "Liberal" to set the parameters of debate, to define the issues, the "Liberal" is able to engage on no worse than equal terms. Yet the Conservative position has a context based upon human experience, while the "Liberal" has only a wish list.
In the Kipling poem, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," available at this Web Site--indeed with the novel based thereon, the theme for this Web Site--the distinction is made between the forces of reality and the forces of wishful thinking, those described as being "cloud" or "windborne." It is in that image that both poet and would be debater discover the inherent flaw in the entire panoply of Collectivist "Liberal" issues. While Conservatism, by its very nature, must always be grounded on past experience; "Liberalism" is airborne, reflecting wishes rather than any demonstrable reality. In the throes of an airborne philosophy, the "Liberal" shows concern, but never respect, for the objects of his attention. It is easy to patronize; respect requires understanding.
The more deeply we plumb the intellectual confrontations of the 20th Century, the more clearly will we see both the reality and applicability of these phenomena.
It is in the context of issues, that the Conservative derives his strength. It is in the context of issues that any apparent "Liberal" advantage dissolves into steam and smoke. While in what follows, we will demonstrate the specific applicability to many issues; following a few basic guidelines will give you the intellectual advantage over any "Liberal" on this planet:
While many of our examples will relate to the American experience, with which this Ohioan is most familiar; we believe that the techniques being explored will be equally useful to those defending any traditional heritage; Monarchical no less than Republican; Old World no less than New.
He who would defend a social order must first understand that social order. Traditional Western Society--at least over the past three and a half centuries--has been anything but static. What the Conservative is defending is not a moment in time but a system of values and relationships; of priorities and responsibilities. We are concerned not with thwarting progress, but with preserving an ethos and a structure, hammered out by wise, good men, with which to deal with whatever lies ahead.
The "windborne" may try to confuse an issue by suggesting that old relationships were not designed for an "atomic age"; but that argument is inherently flawed. Old relationships were not designed for putting carriages on wheels, the invention of gun powder, or any improvement in the long bow or the grade of peat being harvested, either. None of which had any more relevance than the "atomic age" red-herring. The old relationships between man and woman, man and man, man and society, man and Government, etc., all reflected the primary concerns of normal men and women; concerns which have not changed appreciably in the historic epoch. What is important now, as it was important five thousand years ago, is the social (including economic, political and cultural) climate in which men and women mate; in which they raise, nurture and provide for their children; in which those children grow to maturity and repeat the cycle--hopefully gaining generation by generation, with the retained fruits of past labor.
The "windborne" may try to confuse an issue by suggesting that "human rights" are more important than "property rights," or that "States Rights" in America must give way to new Federal pronouncements of "Civil Rights." But all they can establish is their own confusion.
People own property, not property people. Property rights are the rights to the fruit of your and your forebears' labor. They are your most important rights, for they enable you to have the privacy and independence to exercise all other rights.
States are not chunks of geography, but specific people acting as a body politic within that geography. A State is a nation with domain over specific geography--as opposed to the often migratory Indian nations or the sometimes mercenary Scots. States Rights in terms of the American Constitutional framework are simply the rights of those people to govern themselves. That was what we won in the Revolution.
For much of what will follow, it is essential that the would be Conservative spokesman or spokeswoman be familiar with the historic documents and sources of the political economy. An American should provision oneself with a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and hopefully other related materials, such as the Federalist papers (which explain how Madison and others saw their Constitutional handiwork) and the Magna Carta. He needs to read the Declaration and the Constitution; in each case as a whole, in context. And then read them through again; and from time to time, again and again, until he sees the pattern; a pattern which makes arguments as to "changing times" appear as ridiculous as they are. The Fathers were not concerned with the tools men use, but their freedom to live in Societies premised on the rights and responsibilities of the individual; concerned to provide a Federal structure that served the whole--never factions or favored parts--with an infrastructure that best encouraged individual achievement.
It is fundamental that he who proposes change has the burden to justify that change. In the social world no less than in the physical, absent some new impetus, existing patterns will continue. That does not rule out innovation, it merely subjects suggested innovation to the test of reason. An alternative approach would invite only chaos.
The proponent of reform (whether of the right, left or center), then, must answer basic questions. These put the proposal into a rational context, enabling a fair evaluation by reasonable men:
B. Why is it proposed to act? [This is the only question that the "Liberal" Collectivist wants to answer. He would like to premise the debate on an accepted need and then make the issue, who can best meet that need.]
C. Who is supposed to carry out the proposal? [Which raises many subsidiary questions as to the "whos" involved, and their ability to act effectively; also, often, how anyone could imagine that a few thousand planners, working nine to five jobs, could possibly plan the lives of millions of individuals, motivated by self-interest, better than those individuals can plan their own.]
D. By what authority will anyone act? [This is the most important question, which the "Liberal," if allowed to formulate the terms of engagement, will never ask. As above, he wants the debate to be over "need"; the gravamen of the argument to be over who has the proposal to best deal with that need. To the modern "Liberal" as to Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini, need conveys power. But how so? By what theory of the nature of Government? Surely not one acceptable to a people with a written Constitution, intended to spell out the dos and don'ts of power.]
E. What will be the long term effect of the proposal on the diverse social elements that may be affected? [To the "Liberal" this inquiry should be limited to the hoped for effect on the proposed beneficiary. But whatever changes the circumstances of one group, inevitably effects all those around them--if for no other reason than the fact that someone must bear the cost. And that which changes the way any person gains or loses advantage, changes the pattern of his motivations.]
To easily perceive the value of this approach, apply the above questions to some of the more popular "Liberal" causes of the Clinton years--say Gun Control and the War on Serbia. So challenged, could the Administration's position be defended before the bar of reason?
There will be many other questions which will require attention, peculiar to any specific proposal. One theme which runs through all of the Collectivist movements is the usually unstated presumption of the malleability of human types: That if you artificially alter the environment, you alter the individual, group or race. Without that presumption, the Collectivist manipulation of the social order is more clearly perceived as the arrogant intrusion that it in fact is.
How malleable are we? In modern "Liberal" circles, we see this presumption most clearly in a closely associated assumption of a near equality of human aptitude. [You see the implication almost daily, in the constant comparison of the relative achievements of members of definable groups; in the argument after the fact, that if members of one race or sex lag another in achievement in some facet of the economy, there must be injustice or exploitation--above all, a need for the Collective to intervene.] What evidence do they have to back such assumptions?
Since the time of the French Revolution, over two hundred years ago, egalitarian fanatics have been trying to demonstrate this hypothesis. They have yet to do so. There is an immense amount of data which demonstrates quite the opposite; the egalitarian response always to argue by exception or in mitigation of that evidence; to impugn the motives, question the techniques and parade exceptions to the rule; to cite one another's ex cathedra pronouncements. But never, ever, to adduce any evidence of the extreme level of malleability which would be necessary to demonstrate their assumption. No one has ever denied that environmental factors do influence how we develop; there is just no evidence that they are the dominant factor, the egalitarian mania, as well as the Welfare State, require.
We make a terrible mistake, when we let "Liberals" cow us into not discussing hereditary difference in potential. We allow them free rein to spread their poison; to teach every poor boy or girl that they have been wronged and should hate the wealthy; to create and fan the flames of racial hatred--while always pretending to be doing exactly the opposite;--to turn men and women into rival, competing interest groups. Look abroad--if the issue here embarrasses--and note how the "egalitarian" mythology plays out elsewhere.
In Malaysia and Indonesia, a Chinese minority achieve economic success far out of proportion to their numbers. This does not mean that they are cheating or stealing. It does not telegraph any great social injustice. But in the present economic melt down in South East Asia, mobs drawn from the Malay racial majority have frequently inflicted atrocities upon the Chinese. Dare one suggest that the fact, that as long as 150 years ago, physical anthropologists had already demonstrated a physiological basis for the average Chinese to achieve at a higher level in the modern economy than the average Malay, might be considered? Is it kinder to suppress those studies, and teach young Indonesians to resent the Chinese, than it would be to teach them that they have among them a gifted minority, whose achievements enrich the country and benefit everyone?
There have been other studies which have suggested that the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt were a distinct racial sub-group, clearly distinguishable from their present neighbors. There are reports today of persecution of these people in some parts of Egypt. Since a major tenet of Islam is toleration for Jews and Christians, who share faith in the same God, this is not just a matter of religious hatred. Wouldn't it be better if Egyptians learned to respect the innate differences among themselves, rather than demonize those differences?
Recognizing superior aptitudes for particular activities in one group, does not deny individual members of other groups, who happen to possess the same aptitudes, any opportunity whatsoever. It eliminates a rationalization for hating the first group; for wreaking havoc on the social order.
Might it not have been preferable in the 1920s, if instead of allowing egalitarian fanatics to shout down those in German Universities who wanted to study the differing propensities of definable ethnic groups--including the evidence that Jews have on average well above average business skills--that someone had insisted upon actually considering the evidence? Is it better to be considered a gifted segment of a larger population or the conspiratorial exploiters of its failures? The American Conservative spokesman might do far better, in this new century, if he applauded the Rev. Reggie White--who takes the stigma out of being different--rather than try to humor the self-seeking Rev. Jesse Jackson, or some tortured soul at Harvard!
We will have more on this in Chapter 5.
Above all, the would be Conservative champion must be devoted to truth. Truth is always our strongest ally. As the defenders of what is valid in the past achievements of a people, we must never compromise that validity by distorting truth. Everything said here goes to ferreting out truth, never ever hiding it. And if we keep that faith in our confrontations with the "cloud" and "windborne," we will surely triumph.