Are You A Discouraged Conservative? Then This Book Is A Must-Read…

The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future, Crown Forum

Charles C.W. Cooke’s The Conservatarian Manifesto is a delightful call for a fusion of conserva(tive) and (liber)tarian ideals into a new synthesis that can lead the right to victory after eight years under George W. Bush “ruined its reputation, giving conservatism a bad name.”

“Republicans spent too much, subsidized too much, spied too much, and controlled too much.” The GOP “abandoned its core principle of federalism, undermined free trade, favored the interests of big business” over a free market, “used government power to push social issues too aggressively” and “lost its reputation for fiscal restraint, constitutional propriety and mastery of foreign affairs.” He justifies his indictment in crisp prose and difficult-to-dispute facts.

The best news is that Cooke’s solution is federalism and decentralization. The difference between the left and right, he argues, is that conservatives and libertarians do not insist on telling people hundreds and thousands of miles away how to live their lives. Progressive philosophy “is built upon the core belief that an educated and well-staffed central authority can determine how citizens should live their lives.” But, he argues, Utah and New York, indeed New York City and Buffalo, are very different places and deserve very different policies. Federalism is the answer.

In one of his few references to philosophical sources, Cooke questions whether it is even possible to run things well from the center. He references Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek’s magisterial “The Use of Knowledge in Society” to demonstrate that decisions must be left to people who are familiar with specific circumstances and know directly of resources and the changes in them necessary to make rational decisions. President Obama admits that many national agencies are “outdated” and “designed poorly,” but he proceeds to utilize them to dramatically change and affect peoples’ lives. The result is today’s governmental dysfunction.

The intellectual elite in the media and education simply keep repeating the progressive mantra, blind to any alternative. The differences between this refrain and conservatarianism, Cooke insists, are fundamental and “utterly irreconcilable.” The solution for the right is to build competing institutions to influence those with an open mind as it has already begun through alternative media, talk radio, journals, and think tanks. He concedes these are no match to the resources of establishment progressivism but is optimistic that the young represent “a generation of nonconformists” who will adopt his conservatarianism if it is presented attractively to them.

A sound platform must begin with the Constitution, the fount of federalism. But its central message is distorted by progressive intellectualism reading its prejudices into that document. He quotes progressive icon Woodrow Wilson that “The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straightjacket. In its elasticity lies its genuine greatness.” The conservative response should be the “simple idea” that “law should continue to mean what it meant when it was adopted,” which progressives seem to understand except when it comes to the Constitution. Before the progressive revolution, courts did not find black or female suffrage hidden somewhere in the Constitution. They required amendments, as required explicitly in Article V, which were in fact adopted in the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments. Today, rights to sodomy, gay marriage, abortion, and the like are “discovered” in a Constitution that has nothing to say about them. Although he seems to concede past anti-federalist interpretations, his basic solution is to defend that document as written, leaving issues not in the Constitution to the states and using the amendment process when national change is thought necessary.

At least in theory, Cooke’s manifesto preaches rational balance in foreign policy. He identifies himself as a firm believer in American world leadership but finds that “a contingent on the right that is hostile to the heady interventionism of the Bush years is a healthy thing indeed. [But] That there is a tendency to extend this skepticism beyond prudence into all out disengagement is worrying.” America, he believes, “can lead without needing to rush to the scene of every fire in every corner of the world.” Military spending should be privileged, but the right should be in the forefront of “rallying against waste” and against using defense for pork-barrel spending.

Many conservatives will be upset with Cooke on social issues. On the positive side, he is a serious opponent of gun control and attributes the right’s success on this issue to having “the facts on its side” in a local-oriented policy (ignoring the Heller decision) that respects legitimate desires for protection and sportsmanship as well as differences between central city and rural life. Years of drug control policy (beginning with Wilson in 1914) have been a failure because it is national and cannot take into account local differences. It discriminates against African Americans, makes the U.S. the world leader in prison populations, and has contributed to the militarization of police forces. Drug policy should be decentralized to relate to local circumstances.

Cooke becomes provocative when he claims the whole idea of “social issues” is a myth. Each policy instead requires a pragmatic approach sensitive to different circumstances. Although specifying he is an atheist, he says abortion is settled by the simple and coherent argument that “a life is a life and that anybody who is interested in individual liberty is duty bound to protect the innocent.” Gay marriage is different. While Americans tend to oppose abortion—at least after the first three months—a large majority now support gay marriage.

Surprisingly, Cooke does not support the libertarian solution of privatizing marriage but does say that there is no Constitutional right to gay unions. The problem is that government is so intertwined in marriage that in a practical sense, either gay unions must be recognized–or gays must be deprived of too many government services, even ones libertarians recognize. Indeed, contracts cannot allow every human relationship (e.g. bondage or slavery); so the state cannot be excluded even when it is just enforcing free contracting. The solution again is local, to work out specific real-world difficulties. Minimally, those who do not wish to offer services to such marriages should not be coerced to do so.

Overall, Cooke presents a lively and interesting discussion of issues that should be widely read especially among America’s millennials and younger generations. This rising cohort should just buy the book and stop reading this review.

To older generations, the book reminds one of Athena emerging full grown from the skull of Zeus. Here is an argument for some type of traditional and libertarian fusion written by an intellectual at the magazine National Review, who seems to have no idea that his magazine had developed the whole concept of conservative fusionism a half century earlier. Its founder William F. Buckley Jr., an editor named Frank Meyer, and their acolytes promoted the idea of a conservatism based upon a synthesis between pursuing traditional value ends and utilizing free means to do so. While preferring “tension” to “fusionism,” both Buckley and Meyer adopted the latter as the least objectionable designation. At least it iterates better than conservatarianism.

Cooke’s omission is mitigated by the fact he is British by birth and young and so would have no reason to know this history. Yet, it is remarkable that no one at the magazine alerted him to its paternity. Perhaps no one remembers. The current mini revival of fusionism (the Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia Society, Intercollegiate Studies Institute among others) apparently passed them by. Indeed, this lineage traces back much further. As Meyer and Hayek both emphasized, the fusion of freedom and tradition was derived from the medieval synthesis of faith and reason that formed European civilization culminating in the Magna Carta, which in turn was grounded on St. Paul’s synthesis of Greek and Jew that created Western Christendom.

But these big issues are not required to enjoy this bright, reasonable to the max, and readable book. It is a good place for the younger generation to begin the long journey back from monochromatic utopian thinking, especially the modern progressive version being force-fed to them at their colleges and universities every day.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

American Double Standards On Display In Ukraine

Last week, two prominent Ukrainian opposition figures were gunned down in broad daylight. They join as many as ten others who have been killed or committed suicide under suspicious circumstances just this year. These individuals have one important thing in common: they were either part of or friendly with the Yanukovych government, which a US-backed coup overthrew last year. They include members of the Ukrainian parliament and former chief editors of major opposition newspapers.

While some journalists here in the U.S. have started to notice the strange series of opposition killings in Ukraine, the U.S. government has yet to say a word.

Compare this to the U.S. reaction when a single opposition figure was killed in Russia earlier this year. Boris Nemtsov was a member of a minor political party that was not even represented in the Russian parliament. Nevertheless, the U.S. government immediately demanded that Russia conduct a thorough investigation of his murder, suggesting the killers had a political motive.

As news of the Russian killing broke, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) did not wait for evidence to blame the killing on Russian president Vladimir Putin. On the very day of Nemtsov’s murder, Royce told the US media that, “this shocking murder is the latest assault on those who dare to oppose the Putin regime.”

Neither Royce, nor Secretary of State John Kerry, nor President Obama, nor any U.S. government figure has said a word about the series of apparently political murders in Ukraine.

On the contrary, instead of questioning the state of democracy in what looks like a lawless Ukraine, the Administration is sending in the U.S. military to help train Ukrainian troops!

Last week, just as the two political murders were taking place, the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade landed in Ukraine to begin training Ukrainian national guard forces — and to leave behind some useful military equipment. Though the civil unrest continues in Ukraine, the U.S. military is assisting one side in the conflict — even as the U.S. slaps sanctions on Russia over accusations it is helping out the other side!

As the ceasefire continues to hold, though shakily, what kind of message does it send to the US-backed government in Kiev to have U.S. troops arrive with training and equipment and an authorization to gift Kiev with some $350 million in weapons? Might they not take this as a green light to begin new hostilities against the breakaway regions in the east?

The Obama administration is so inconsistent in its foreign policy. In some places, particularly Cuba and Iran, the administration is pursuing a policy that looks to diplomacy and compromise to help improve decades of bad relations. In these two cases, the administration realizes that the path of confrontation has led nowhere. When the president announced his desire to see the end of Cuba sanctions, he stated very correctly that, “…we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new.”

So while Obama is correctly talking about sanctions relief for Iran and Cuba, he is adding more sanctions on Russia, backing Saudi Arabia’s brutal attack on Yemen, and pushing ever harder for regime change in Syria. Does he really believe the rest of the world does not see these double standards? A wise consistency of non-interventionism in all foreign affairs would be the correct course for this and future US administrations. Let us hope they will eventually follow Obama’s observation that, “it’s time to try something new.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here Is What Israeli Journalists And Middle East Experts Think About Obama’s Mideast Policies

Much has been said about the supposed damage done to U.S.-Israel relations by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. But what about the damage done by President Obama to America’s relationship with the people of Israel?

In 2010, a poll commissioned by The Jerusalem Post showed that only 9 percent of Jewish Israelis believed that the Obama administration was more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.

In February 2014, the Israeli weekly Sof HaShavuah published a poll that showed 70 percent of Israelis did not trust President Obama to safeguard Israel’s vital security interests. At the same time, only one in five Israelis was confident that Obama would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

But that was one year ago before the administration blamed Israel for the failed negotiations with the Palestinians and before Obama decided to sign a framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

The best word that describes the overall feeling of Israelis towards the policies of the U.S. government in the Middle East today is shock. Even seasoned journalists are not able to hide their disbelief and shock anymore in light of the actions and statements of the U.S. President.

Last weekend, Channel 10’s News Show broadcasted a report about Obama’s emphatic statement on Putin’s decision to sell the S-300 missile system to Iran. The Times of Israel reported that diplomatic commentator Ben Caspit had said “Jaws dropped” around the studio when the news broke about Obama’s remarks.

“Obama is something else,” Caspit added. “He’s decided to take America out of the wars…”

The station’s news anchor, Alon Ben-David, chipped in: “He’s amazed that the Russians honored an agreement with him (for this long)? That’s what is astonishing.”

Caspit responded: “This is the new America. We had better get used to it.”

On Saturday, Channel 2 broadcasted a report about Obama while an on-screen ID tag described him as the president of Iran. The Times of Israel thought it was a typo, but it’s hard to believe that the editor of Channel 2 News would make such a mistake since Iran and the United States are two totally different words in Hebrew.

Obama’s policies are not only criticized by right-wing commentators such as Caroline Glick, Sarah Honig, and Martin Sherman of The Jerusalem Post, but also by others.

Even star-reporter Ari Shavit of the leftist paper Ha’aretz has ridiculed Obama’s policies on Iran.

Here’s what Shavit wrote in the Hebrew version of Ha’aretz:

The dispassionate man from Chicago is proving every day what rare stuff he’s made of. The president sees how the Iranians mock him – and does nothing. He sees radical Islam approaching the nuclear brink and does not budge. With amazing courage, Barack Obama watches the tsunami rolling toward America’s shores and smiles.

He is staging a deceptive show of a deal with the Iranians, which will seem to dull the threat. He is trying to make a fool of Jerusalem as Tehran is making a fool of him. The president is pushing Israel into a corner but is hoping that Israel will accept its fate submissively Never has the United States had such a gambler for a president.

Shavit sounded a lot like Caroline Glick, who wrote this about Obama’s policies: “His goal is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power…The goal of Obama’s foreign policy is to weaken the State of Israel.”

Journalists and politicians are not the only ones in Israel who criticize Obama’s Middle East policies. Let’s examine what renowned Israeli academics say about the President.

The late Professor Barry Rubin, who was arguably one of the most outstanding Middle East experts of our time, predicted that things would get worse in U.S. Israel relations. Here’s what he wrote a few months before he passed away:

 ISRAEL CANNOT DEPEND ON THE UNITED STATES.

That doesn’t mean that Obama and others will not provide military aid or say nice words at every event. But there is no commitment – that one can assume would be fulfilled – nor any Israeli initiative that will really be implemented.

This is a complex issue, but here are some brief points:

The idea that Obama and his team are the greatest friends of Israel is a deadly insult, and I can prove it two minutes.

The United States has undermined Israel on many issues. Do I have to provide a list?

Okay, here is a partial list: Egypt (support for a hostile Muslim Brotherhood government); Tunisia (ditto); Sinai  (enablement of insurgency); Hamas (the desire to keep the Brotherhood–an ally of Hamas–government in power in Cairo); Turkey (supporting the Islamist, anti-Israel government); Syria (support of radical Syrian Islamists); Europe (lack of support for Israeli position on peace process); America itself (encouragement of anti-Israel forces among Jewish community and in Obama constituency); Palestinians (lack of criticism or pressure on Palestinian Authority, PA).

Another Middle East expert who is critical of current White House policies in the Middle East is Dr. Mordechai Kedar. He said on U.S. television that the administration didn’t understand the Middle East and said, regarding current U.S. policies towards Iran, that “America is stabbing Israel and its Arab allies in the back.”

David Rubin, a U.S.-born Israeli author and expert on the Middle East, put it this way: “President Obama is very harmful to Israel and very dangerous for the future of Judeo-Christian civilization.”

Arab-Israeli Middle East expert Bassam Tawil wrote a couple of weeks ago that Obama has declared war on Israel:

Thanks to Obama’s policies, the Iranians and their friends are now in control of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, and much of Bahrain and have surrounded the oilfields of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been forced to close down its embassies in three Arab countries — Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Instead of facing the dangers of the Iranian drive to export the Islamic revolution to as many Arab and Islamic countries as possible — with the help of an accelerating operation to acquire nuclear weapons — Obama has turned Israel in general, and Netanyahu, in particular, into the main threat to world peace and stability.”

The most outspoken criticism about Obama’s Middle East policies from an Israeli academic came from Professor Dan Shuftan. He said during a lecture, in which he gave an accurate analysis of Israel’s current position in the world, that “Obama is absolutely clueless about the Middle East”.

“ Obama is a good guy in the bad sense of the term,” Shuftan said. “If I were to be commissioned to write a book about what not to do in the Middle East Obama would sue me for plagiarism. I can’t think of one move (of Obama) that was not unbelievable dumb in terms of American interests, forget Israeli interests,” Shuftan added.

The fragment with Shuftan’s remarks about Obama starts after 14.30 minutes, but we recommend watching the whole lecture.

Are there still Israeli academics who view the Obama administration’s Middle East policies in a favorable light? Yes, there are.

On Monday, The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed written by Hebrew University Professor Eli Podeh. He recommended applying the Obama doctrine for Iran and other Pariah states to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Although he acknowledged that the Obama doctrine of engagement with regards to Iran and other pariah states could be based on wishful thinking, he thought it was even more applicable to the Israeli-Palestinian case.

A self-confident Israel, with a defense budget amounting to NIS 57b., is a superpower in comparison to the approximately $1b. budget of the Palestinian Authority (the figures for Hamas are more problematic although there is obviously a wide gap here as well). According to the Obama Doctrine, such a gap allows Israel to take risks and offer some substantial concessions concerning the occupied territories. Israel’s consistent argument that it does not have the luxury to test this proposition is disingenuous because its military might could easily undo whatever has been conceded.

Moreover, an agreement with the Palestinians would be supported by security guarantees provided by the United States, the European Community and perhaps other parties in the region, which would help deter Israel’s potential enemies.”

It is clear that Podeh still thinks that a peace agreement with the Palestinians is possible and that, if the Israeli government sticks to its current policy vis a vis the Palestinians, Obama should force his vision for solving the conflict upon Israel.

Shuftan seems to be more realistic when he said that peace has disappeared from the vocabulary of the Israelis–and even of the Israeli left.

“Israelis know where they live and know that peace is not an option,” the Haifa University Professor told his audience in the United Kingdom. He even predicted that Israel will stay in a state of war for another 140 years.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Marco Rubio Hammers Hillary Clinton/Obama Era As A ‘Disaster For America’

Newly announced presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., didn’t back on Sunday when questioned about running against Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton.

One could say that Clinton, who launched her campaign last week–one day before Rubio–underwhelmed the nation with her campaign debut; and many–even some on the Left–think she’s nothing but inauthentic.

Rubio argued that if Hillary Clinton were president, it would be no different than if Obama was serving a third term. He hasn’t seen her “distinguish” herself from what Obama is doing now.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio had a lot to say to CBS News’ Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation about Clinton and her failures as President Obama’s secretary of state.

“We cannot ignore she was the secretary of state during the first four years of the Obama presidency and has virtually no meaningful achievements to show for it,” Rubio said to Schieffer. “On the contrary, whether it’s the reset in Russia, or our response to Benghazi, or everything in between, the Obama foreign policy during the Clinton years – especially as secretary of state – have been a disaster for America.”

“Today, our allies trust us less,” Rubio added. “Our enemies fear us less. And America has less influence in the world than it did four to six years ago.”

h/t: Biz Pac Review

Do you think Clinton is authentic? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski Blasts Obama For Inept Foreign Policy

Duke basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski has had quite the month of April. In the last two weeks, he has won the NCAA men’s basketball championship (for the fifth time) and received an award at an Army awards conference. To put the icing on the cake, he also slammed President Obama’s foreign policy – comparing it to him not playing two of his best players.

“I know it’s upsetting to many of you when you hear ‘no boots on the ground,’” Coach K said. “It upsets me too because that’s like saying, ‘I’m not going to play two of my best players.”

He explained the strategy behind not revealing your plans to your enemies. He joked that for coaching the U.S. olympic team, he wouldn’t say to his opponent, “I’m not going to start LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant].”

“It’s about letting your opponent know that we are going to use our best players,” he added. “Now whether you use them or not, that’s up to the coach. You never tell an opponent you are not going to use them.”

Coach K, a veteran from the Vietnam War, showed immense gratitude for our armed services, thanking them for providing him the freedoms to do as he chooses.

“So on behalf of the ordinary guys, the ordinary people, we love you and thank you for doing that,” Krzyzewski said.

h/t: GOP The Daily Dose

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth