It is an interesting conclusion to a series of essays on compassionate conservatism that this review of the Lee Edwards book entitled "The Conservative Revolution" can serve as both a stand alone review and as the prologue to the authors book entitled
Communism- How did it happen?
Will it threaten again?
by Richard R. Tryon
Notes on the Conservative Revolution by Lee Edwards
as of 9-11-00
This book was very informative and stands as a fine history of the political system of thinking that is characterized by the much abused word of ‘Conservatism’ as contrasted to the equally maligned word of ‘Liberal’. One really stands for saving that which is good and the other for open minded thinking. Somehow political forces have managed to battle over the idea that one is caring only for the established order, while the other is presented as the wave of the future, aimed at looking for ideas that save those not happy with the values and institutions that are in place.
Thus, politicians want to pit one against the other. The truth is that we all embody a mixture of both qualities, although some are so unwilling to consider change as to be called ‘reactionary’, which is a derogatory way to contend that such persons do not want to consider the facts- only wanting to be against any new idea to deal with them!
On the other hand, the extreme liberal thinkers are accused of wanting such extreme changes as to be accused of ‘throwing out the baby with the dirty bath water’. Obviously, most of us are somewhere in-between these extremes.
Author Lee Edwards manages to provide a cogent history of the movement ,characterized as being conservative, starting with some early commentary from the turn of the century but focuses quickly on the role of Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio, known as Mr. Conservative in Congress for a long time. He fought to gain the candidacy of the party for nomination to run for President, but lost to the so-called Eastern Establishment wing of the party that came to be identified with ‘me-too’ type of politics- ie, in step with the liberals, but not as extreme. They elected Eisenhower and Taft could have helped give the Eisenhower years a lot more character, had he lived to do so.
Taft, author of the Taft-Hart labor law that drew the line to try to check some of the abuse of big and too strong organized labor, still managed to leave a legacy to show that Conservatives could care about the same issues as liberals, but they could not depart from a dependence on individualism and a natural rebellion against statism. Big government does not solve problems, it just institutionalizes them and throws money at them without any real positive results in more cases than not. Some temporary measures taken in the depression, may have been essential to save the nation from starvation, but such programs should have been quickly taken out. They were not and we moved on to the age of liberal control tinged with ideas spawned by East European concepts based upon Marxism.
When Dean Acheson and George Marshall told Truman to support Greece and Turkey vs the rising evidence of communist (Soviet Union) expansionism in 1946, it must have been painful for Acheson to do so. His left leaning proclivities showed up elsewhere in many ways, (like noting that Korea was outside of the U.S. sphere of influence) but he apparently found no way to sell out the Greeks and Turks to the Soviets, who took the spoils of WWII into there direct control. Their building of the ‘Iron Curtain’ did not surprise Churchill or for that matter Joseph Gobbels of the Hitler era who coined the phrase first in anticipation of losing WWII. One thing the Nazi had right was a genuine fear of the efforts of the communists to take over! That is no excuse for their style of dictatorship, but it shows that they knew what the dictatorship of the left meant long before we in America understood, because we had been so isolationist that we didn’t care to learn!
It is interesting to note (p-27) that former Pres. Herbert Hoover, who had a lot of experience with Marshall plan type of activity, after WWI, and who tried to do a lot of the emergency relief things that FDR got credit for before FDR took office, but was denied cooperation by the Democrats that controlled Congress, tried to include China in the Marshall Plan with a $450 million aid. The state department managed to exclude China, one of the big Four allies during WWII. It was the time to force China’s strong man of the right, Chang Kai-shek into a coalition with Mao Tse Tung. How strange that both had been sent to Moscow in the 20’s to learn about communism. One came back to lead the revolution and the other to fight against it!
Chang Kai-shek almost won the battle save for two key events. First, the Japanese invasion of the coastal areas of economic interest to them were invaded starting in 1937. This diverted key military forces just at the worst moment possible and it saved Mao. The second came at the end of the war when the U.S. State Dept. decreed that we must be neutral in China and remove all military material there or on the way, so as to force Chang into a coalition with Mao! We all know now how the communists handle that kind of opportunity! State Department officials knew it then, but some must have determined that helping the communists was a good idea! Although Sen. Joe McCarthy did his nation a great disservice by being so outrageous with his style, a better man could have helped us ferret out the real bad guys without throwing stones at the innocent and the fringe players whose activities were not so much un-American as just misguided. The role of Owen Lattimore in China is clearly detailed on P-44.
By P-77 the McCarthy story has been reviewed and the struggle against the list of bad guys was lost in the 1954 censure of McCarthy. Clearly the communists must have celebrated that victory! The nation was comfortable with the notion that we were too strong to have to worry about Un-American activities in a democracy! The death of Robert Taft from cancer in the early days of the Eisenhower administration left the nation bereft of the kind of conservative leader who would have put McCarthy down before he could show his radical and undisciplined ways. He would have, on the other hand, encouraged a real effort to weed out the subversives that did the most damage and he might well have saved China from its horrible edition of the communist experiment, had he come to power before Mao could have won. One can wonder how FDR would have treated his friend Chang Kai Shek, had he not died to leave the task to the inexperienced Truman.
The Pawley contributions, in his book “Why the Communists are Winning”, show that if he had managed to meet more with a living FDR, the result of history in China would have been far different. Instead of our looking now at a mainland China that calls Taiwan a renegade province, we could be working with a democratic combination that could have protected ‘human rights’ for the people long ago. On the other hand, it is not at all certain that such could have been done in a land of 1.2 billion people living in poverty and ignorance of the rest of the world. We of the West, do not understand very well the profound level of experience in living that has accumulated in China, which is so much older than our nation.
P-76 calls for the reading of Russell Kirk’s work “The conservative mind” to better understand why such thinking is superior to the liberal ideas of statism. The Ayn Rand review notes that her book “Atlas Shrugged” was despised by the communists and liberals condemned it- and rightfully so!
She, as an atheist, built a fortress mentality on simplistic notions that could be labeled conservative, but certainly not compassionate conservative! She embodied what it is to be self centered without any God! Her work should not have been lauded by any true conservative. She was not even “on the side of the Angels”.
By P-109 Edwards gets to the Bay of Pigs fiasco and contrast Kennedy vs Goldwater on the subject of containing communism in 1961. Pawley’s work clearly documents how the conservative position would have supported the freedom fighters quest to free their Cuban homeland from Castro. It shows how the state dept. managed to delay the campaign until Kennedy could move it and destroy it, while claiming to be honoring his campaign pledge. For his idea of an “Alliance for Progress” we got nothing, Castro won and Central America was thrust into an era of great destruction and communist subversion. The cold war allowed for more appeasement and we handed the communists the chance to ruin Nicaragua, Guatemala and Grenada and even Angola in Africa with help from Cuban mercenaries supplied by Castro and his band of fervent communist ideologues. His foolishness ultimately caused the Iran-Contra fiasco and the Reagan order to free Grenada.
It could have all been avoided if Eisenhower had pushed for action before he retired from office. The basic plan of the expatriate Cubans would have worked quickly with minimal support. Even if Kennedy had permitted a group of American pilots to fly on the first two missions of B-26’s, it is clear that Castro would have lost his three T-33 trainer jets that were able to shoot down the small remaining force that would have made the difference on the landing area.
Of course, it would have been essential that Kennedy would also not have forced the invasion to move from Trinity beach to the infamous swamp where the landed troops would be stuck with no way to move out! Further, the coral reef off shore that sank one of the key supply ships, because it was labeled by government photo experts as ‘sea weed’, would have not come into play. For this stupidity, we lost the chance to get Castro out of power and return the country to free elections by the people with a chance for two or more parties- not just the one that has ruled and killed for forty years. Think of the messes that would have avoided and how much different the Caribbean would be today, had Castro been ousted.
P-124 notes the birth of ‘affirmative- action’ a key liberal concept aimed at destroying poverty! It shows how Sen. Barry Goldwater was cast into the position of defending the Constitution at the expense of being labeled a ‘racist’. No worse label can be put on any American- at least not in the years since 1964! Conservatives since have found a few points, with help from key so-called minority support to put down some of the extremes of the hey-day of affirmative action.
The next 125 pp deal a lot with the age of Reagan. The most revealing parts deal with the active efforts of the president to help accelerate the collapse of the “Evil Empire”. What appeared in 1992 as a collapse of its own failure was true. However, many things were done to make it harder for the communists to put off the inevitable. The SDI or (Star Wars) effort forced the Russians to try to respond without having the resources to do so. Numerous presidential directives helped make it harder for the Soviets to finance their ambition and their people could not stand the added burden.
Coupled with the huge mistake of Gorbachev, who thought that ‘glasnost’ and ‘peristroika’ could allow for reform via open sharing of ideas and restructuring of industry, the stage was set. The ability of the fax and the beginnings of the internet made it impossible to keep the big secret by censorship. The collapse came quickly with minimal blood shed because everyone knew that the government did not represent the people, but only itself!
The P-286 section delineates the Gingrich saga and the “Contract with America” a political device that helped elect and enact a series of laws that rolled back some of the excess of the Johnson- Carter era of the so-called “Great Society”. It took more than a Reagan presidency, it took a conservative Congress and he managed to get a lot done before his own personal failings short-circuited his career in politics.
President George Bush really failed to support the Reagan legacy. However, he brought a wonderful career of experience to bear against the global threat of a new dictator of the right- one Saddam Hussein. It is unfortunate that Bush won the key battle and then lost the war by not destroying the power base that supported Hussein. Granted that the hostile Iranian neighbor made it hard to know how to provide for a smooth transition, and the need to avoid taking over in Iraq, it is unfortunate that more was not tried to do so.
The book chronicles the Clinton win and the ability of his presidency to thwart sound economic and political decisions by Congress. Efforts, for example, to free the American people of a high tax burden have been put down by a President who refuses to lose the chance to have the funding for more liberal ideas to ‘save us from ourselves’. He has employed many devices to help candidate Al Gore claim all sorts of reasons to put fear in the minds of the voters. Fear of the collapse of Social Security means that it is ok to bury $300 billion in a lock box against a ‘rainy day’ period of less income! If that $300 billion were invested in mutual funds where it could grow to pay off the debt and provide for a level of social security that would be funded by earnings rather than current workers contributions, it could make sense. But, liberals are not investors, just spenders!
Reducing taxes and paying down the debt are not seen as compatible ideas. Liberals want people to think in terms of finite knowledge. The ‘National Pie’ is of fixed size in their minds. Making it grow is an accident of nature, not of vision and investment. The task is how to redistribute existing wealth, not how to make more of it to share with those willing to work.
The task for candidate George W. Bush is how to press forward on issues that are not always easy to explain- especially in twenty second sound bytes! So, the conclusion of the review is that the future of the conservative movement is not as bright, in my opinion, as it could have been if we had not seen so many opportunities for the liberals to excuse an immoral president and put fear in the minds of voters that the conservatives will leave the poor to starve. So, I will not be surprised to read in November that the liberals have won a new mandate to get a left leaning new Congress and President to pass wonderful new laws to expand the size of government to ‘save us from ourselves’. Conservatives of the compassionate sort may find themselves wondering again: If political power will only fall into the hands of those that accept redistribution of wealth as the only way to cure social problems?
If so, the liberals, who claim not to be communists, just unwitting socialists, will take us further down the road where only the state can save us. So, the Russian experiment can rise from the ashes of history and be tried again by a new management!
This review serves as a fine introduction to a work that offers a commentary on the writings of not only William D. Pawley, author of the unpublished manuscript entitled “Why the Communists are Winning” with a epilogue by Richard R. Tryon entitled “And how they lost”; but also the work of such eminent writers representing or knowing of the Communist perspective as:
David Horowitz in “The Politics of Bad Faith”, The Free Press Div of Simon & Schuster 1998
Nikita Khrushchev “Khrushchev Remembers”, Little Brown & Company 1970
Milovan Djilas “An Analysis of the Communist System”, Frederick Praeger,Publ. 1958
Elizabeth Dilling “The Red Network” published by the author Chicago, 1934
3-5-12 On what is marriage?
Among the needs of compassionate conservatives in 2012, none gets more space in the media than the incessant efforts of a minority that may one day be a majority? Its hard to image a time when gays, lesbians, and several other non historically recognized groups to be identified, and somehow be properly granted parallel rights of marital bliss based upon their special needs, require protection, recognition and legal certification for property and marital like tax benefits or higher personal income taxation.
At this time, there is a daily array of issues that clamor for space in the media and filling the news hole is now a little different than was the case in history because so many more avenues of communication now exist. On top of the decline in newspapers we see a drop in radio news but not commentary. Few issues can more attention than the one involving state laws concerning what at the time of the revolution and initial formation of states was limited to what was done by churches. Without tax and property issues of enormous complexity, state law involvement in marital rights was limited or non-existent. In fact, Wikipedia shows no evidence of any state law prior to 1830, some fifty years after our nation crafted its Constitution. The changes listed below all involve fairly narrow issues with the exception of polygamy that was finally outlawed by the Mormon Church in 1890.
So, it is that in that age men and women lived together with or without children without a church connected wedding and marriage certificate in rather few instances. The community did not tolerate such action and violators were shunned or otherwise encouraged to ‘get with the program’ and make an honest woman out of wedlock into a married one. But, the government was not involved!
▪ 1830 – Married women are granted the right to own property in their own name, instead of being owned exclusively by the husband, in Mississippi.
▪ 1848 – Married women are granted the right to own property in their own name in New York.
▪ 1856 – The platform of the Republican Party refers to polygamy as one of the "twin relics of barbarism" (alongside slavery). At the time, polygamy was a practice of some Mormons. (See Mormonism and polygamy.)
▪ 1862 – The United States Congress enacts the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln, which made bigamy a felony in the territories punishable by $500 or five years in prison.
▪ 1873 – In Bradwell v. Illinois the Supreme Court rules that a state has the right to exclude a married woman from practicing law. 
▪ 1874 – Congress passes the Poland Act, which transfers jurisdiction over Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act cases to federal prosecutors and courts in Utah, which were not controlled by Mormons.
▪ 1879 – The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Reynolds v. United States.
▪ 1882 – Congress passes the Edmunds Act, which prohibits not just bigamy, which remained a felony, but also bigamous cohabitation, which was prosecuted as a misdemeanor, and did not require proof an actual marriage ceremony had taken place. The law also allows polygamists to be held indefinitely without a trial.
▪ 1887 – Congress passes the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which allows prosecutors to force polygamist wives to testify against their husbands, and abolished the right of women in Utah to vote.
1890 – Mormons in Utah officially renounce polygamy through the 1890 Manifesto.
Only five issues seemed to cause laws to be written in the next sixty years.
▪ 1900 – All states now grant married women the right to own property in their own name.
▪ 1904 – Mormons in Utah officially again renounce polygamy with the Second Manifesto, excommunicating anyone who participates in future polygamy.
▪ 1907 – All women acquire their husband's nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date.
▪ 1933 – Married women granted right to citizenship independent of their husbands.
1948 – California Supreme Court overturns interracial marriage ban (Perez v. Sharp).
None of the above issues involved any sort of reference to the matter of sexual preference unless one considers polygamy to be a non-standard sexual preference. From either the male or female point of view polygamy was not much of an issue among the dominant male law makers, and females, denied the right to vote prior to women’s suffrage and the
▪ 1965 – The Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting married couples from using contraception.
▪ 1967 – The Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting interracial couples from marrying (Loving v. Virginia).
▪ 1969 – The first no-fault divorce law is adopted in California.
▪ 1971 – The Supreme Court upholds an Alabama law which automatically changes a woman's legal surname to that of her husband upon marriage.
▪ 1971 – The Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling allowing prohibition of same-sex marriage (Baker v. Nelson).
▪ 1972 – The Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting unmarried couples from purchasing contraception.
▪ 1973 – Maryland becomes the first state in the U.S. to define marriage as "between a man and a woman" in statute.
▪ 1975 – Married women allowed to have credit in their own name.
▪ 1975 – Three states outlaw same-sex marriage by statutes.
▪ 1976 – The Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting abortions for married women without the consent of the husband.
▪ 1993 – All 50 states have revised laws to include marital rape.
▪ 1994 – 40 of the 50 states amend their marriage statutes to outlaw same-sex marriage.
▪ 1996 – President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act into law, which outlaws federal recognition of both same-sex marriage and polygamy, and removes any requirement that states recognize such marriages entered into in other jurisdictions.
▪ 1998 – Hawaii amends its constitution to allow the legislature to ban same-sex marriage, in response to a court ruling which would otherwise have allowed such marriages. Alaska becomes the first state to bar same-sex marriage in its constitution.
▪ 1998 – South Carolina is the penultimate state in the U.S. to remove the ban on interracial marriage in its state constitution.
The rest of the century involved only one issue concerning a non standard assumption that marriage is a status reserved for representing a man and a woman married, although in 1971 Minnesota banned same sex marriage and the Supreme Court refused to listen to an appeal.
By the turn of the century the laws of the land at the state level were brought up to speed to ban same sex marriage and polygamy and the Clinton era included his signing the Defense of Marriage Act which contained nothing to bar his confused definition of what constitutes sexual acts.
▪ 2000 – Nebraska amends its state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy.
▪ 2000 – Alabama becomes the last state in the US to remove the ban on interracial marriage in its state constitution.
▪ 2002 – Nevada amends its state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy.
▪ 2004 – Massachusetts grants and recognizes same-sex marriages, while 14 states rush to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy through their state constitutions in response.
▪ 2005 – Texas amends its state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy.
▪ 2006 – 26 states outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy through their state constitutions.
▪ 2006 - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Nebraska's ban on gay marriage.
▪ 2008 – New York starts recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other places but does not grant such marriages. Connecticut begins granting same-sex marriages. California briefly grants same-sex marriage until the passage of Proposition 8 later in the year, but continues recognizing marriages entered into prior to the proposition's passage. 29 states outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy through their state constitutions.
▪ 2009 – Iowa and Vermont grant and recognize same-sex marriages; the District of Columbia starts recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other places but does not grant such marriages. Maine rescinds planned legalization of same-sex marriage by popular vote.
▪ 2010 – New Hampshire and the District of Columbia grant same-sex marriages. Maryland recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. In Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a district court overturns California's ban on same-sex marriage (however, the decision is stayed pending an appeal).
▪ 2011 – New York begins granting same-sex marriages.
▪ 2012 – A federal appeals court upholds the district court decision that struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage (the case is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court).
The list above since 2000, shows a major shift. Eleven of the 12 items listed all deal with the subject of making some other form of marriage be legally crafted to give both property rights, already easily included in any civil contract, and a status to identify non one man and one woman as being as identical to the historic combinations. The result is a major change and any reasonable study of the issue must begin with the word! The word marriage involves two issues regarding definition and several more regarding the Constitution.
First, the definition relates to the relationship between two or more entities with some sort of declared and and recognized document to separate the participants from all other life form representatives in a special way that is expected to be a life long relationship; and, as noted in some religious groups, such as in the Christian and Jewish faiths, and to some extent among Muslims, although they only allow a male to maintain the level of servitude and continuity of the one or more only females allowed into the relationship.
The second factor deals with property rights of husband and wife in the marital contract and these are mostly found in the civil contract of the union and these currently follow civil law in each of the sovereign states which have enjoyed this authority, since the founders of the nation's Constitution decreed in the 10th amendment and to which the Constitution originally clearly showed by delegating specific powers to each of the three parts of our government. To change these it only takes another amendment!
The larger issue in this matter concerns the ideas surrounding a new kind of marriage or national civil union that some wish to also call "marriage", a term without sexual connotation as in marrying Hydrogen and Oxygen to make a union we call water. It is entirely proper within the current US Constitution for the Congress to enact and even tax the recipients of a new sort of national civil union, and with use of an asterisk called marriage* to indicate that it is not related to sex. The partners in such a union could be two or more of the accepted i.d. of same sex or any other sex or non-sex related identifiers. They could be given the same federal property rights to be administered by a new Federal Court and Administrative Entity to issue the permits and certificates sort of the way a Muslim wedding is often accomplished in a state that has no local official to do it.
To conform to civil rights and politically correct standards, nobody shall be denied including as many partners as are presented without consideration of anything to do with sex, race, or any other defined distinction between other species of the animal or plant kingdoms.
Once this easy solution is in place, we can celebrate and just figure out who shall pay for the new Federal Bureaucracy of Marriage that must also look after the federal rights of marital partners that just happen to also include what we currently define as one man and one woman, without careful examination to determine more than the sex as shown on their birth certificate. No doubt, the lawyers will need to include fine print to handle a man who became a woman for a time, etc.
Odd as all of this sounds to people of significant experience as having been married for decades before anyone tried to suggest that same sex marriage is the same, is that to accept the radical idea seems to require going back to accepting the issue that showed up most frequently in the past- polygamy and its little cousin bigamy.
If the law of the land is to be modified to allow that all combinations of persons who want to live together to enjoy any kind of sexual union, and be known as being married because of their preference, must be given a certificate of marriage and granted the same state license for civil union as all others, then we need to change not only the definition and granting of property rights but remove the issue from the level of state jurisdiction and make it a Federal activity to manage and control.
This may nicely set the stage of the future need of socialized medical care and matching of marital unions that fit into mandated or budgeted needs of a federally planned economy. Just as health care, run on a federal basis must inevitably require the distribution of doctors and facilities to fit into an egalitarian plan that fits the resources available to it, we must anticipate that it will also regulate who gets the limited care- those in the tax paying productive years of life, and those beyond or before in what ratio? If economic budget needs do not provide equal capacity for all everywhere at any and all ages, what mechanism shall be used to deal with shortages? The European and Canadian examples are now clear- the government invents a panel of experts to control, based on the political rules in place, who gets the care and when.
Some will contend that a system that lets doctors and patients find each other and determine availability and cost with hospital and medication, etc. expenses as well as fees for doctor delivered services is more efficient and better able to leave the balance of supply and demand function albeit with unequal results common at the individual level.
What is our national system going to be? The former, paid for by taxing those that pay taxes with or without artificial payments being generated by printing more money; or by a return to some form of private direct or insurance based system?
The same arguments for medical care must be considered in thinking about the institution of marriage. Do we need to establish now a system of regulating marriage as a universal right to all to be ultimately be directed by a federal bureaucracy that will also need to decide which marriages shall be allowed to have license to procreate. It will also get into the problem of who gets space into which living facilities are available, and match the places where federally determined future education and job possibilities are known or thought to be going to exist when the time comes for progeny to be ready to take their place. If all is as well managed, as it was in the Soviet Union until a ‘black Swan’ event called Ronald Reagan got the controlling wall of separation torn down, what will happen then?
If this helps anyone determine why we have thousands of years of marital history now sitting on the edge of an change of enormous consequence and most seem to look no further than at a simple notion of fairness while contending that civil liberties requires not only acceptance but an indication that civilizations have always been wrong to think of marriage as a sacred combination instead of just one of many sexually motivated unions to be blessed by church and state!
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