Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Men of intemperate minds cannot be free."

Edmund Burke wrote these words in 1791, though he could be describing the delusional ways of Washington in recent years. Burke is something of a hero to Andrew Sullivan and other conservatives, many of whom despair of the willfulness of those in power who chafe at the legitimate restraints imposed by our system of government.
Sullivan write in the Sunday Times of his discontent with the current Republican regime in Washington:
[Bush's] legacy...includes two bungled wars, a doubling of the national debt, a ruination of America’s moral high ground in the war against Islamist terror, the worst US intelligence fiasco since the Bay of Pigs, and the emergence of Iran as a regional and potentially nuclear power with control of the West’s energy supplies.
But the damage to America itself — to its cultural balance and constitutional order — is just as profound. In a recent CNN story on Southern women and the Republicans, one voter explained: “There are some people, and I’m one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord. I don’t care how he governs, I will support him. I’m a Republican through and through.”
American conservatism has gone from being a political philosophy rooted in scepticism of power, empirical judgment and limited government into an ideology based in born-again religious faith, immune to empirical reality and dedicated to the relentless expansion of presidential clout. It sanctions wiretapping without court warrants, indefinite detention without trial and the use of torture.
In criticizing the excesses of the current regime, Sullivan quotes a fellow conservative as describing the U.S. Constitution as "Burkean," refering to its systems of checks and balances. Edmund Burke, who as a member of Parliament defended the rights of the British colonies, is still quoted by conservatives who believe in limited government. Those in power who believe that they can conduct our nation's affairs as they see fit (as long as a lawyer says it's okay) might take pause from Burke's Second Speech on Conciliation with America in 1775:
It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason and justice tell me I ought to do.
The best hope for the kind of conservatism Sullivan prefers, he says lies with a small fragment of the Republican Party:
It turns out that the US does have a functioning opposition party after all. It’s called the authentically conservative wing of the Republicans.
The trouble for principled conservatives is that they have to stand up to the current regime in defiance of Karl Rove's game plan, or continue to put their principles aside and keep their silence for the duration of the election campaign in the hope of maintaining the GOP's hold on power.


Blogger jason said...

principled conservatives ...

I keep thinking that Presidential politics will force someones hand and make a principled conservative step up.

I'm begining to give up on that. McCain has recently decided to talk tough to GWB, but he is clearly working to see that the Bush machine gets passed along to him.

I thought Romney would break with Bush, but he seems to be a wussy of the first order.

10:01 PM, September 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orders first......everyone is marching to Cheney and he is marching to money.

James Baker has been in Baghdad since March "because of faltering Rumsfeld"....what are they up to?

12:22 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger jason said...


When are you going to link to my Castle expose? I'm blogging my ass off.

4:25 PM, September 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Noyes:
Your blogspot is excellent. The verse I sent you the other day is not excellent but I wonder if it is worthy of a blogspot of its own.
I have written several dozen anti-Bush poems which I have shared with friends, some better than others. But I am concerned lest they be considered offensive or objectionable or subject to charges of libel.

Your advice would be appreciated.

Dell A. Ware aka Hugo del Mar

7:01 PM, September 18, 2006  

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