Ruminations after the election
and read Bill Whittle's essay about how "we're going to whip them out of their boots" come next time.
It's a reference to Phil Sheridan turning a Union rout around to a stunning victory during the Civil War. Whittle is one hell of a writer, which got him promoted recently from blogger to National Review Online columnist.
Now go read it. Then come back and read this:
by Thomas Buchanan Read
Up from the South, at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.
And wider still those billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
With Sheridan twenty miles away.
But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway leading down:
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight;
As if he knew the terrible need,
He stretched away with his utmost speed.
Hills rose and fell, but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.
Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.
Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire;
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.
The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was to be done? what to do?--a glance told him both.
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and his red nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say:
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down to save the day."
Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
There, with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:
"Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester--twenty miles away!"
"It has been a source of delight for me these past few days to see nothing but evidence of this, all across our defeated lines. Nowhere have I heard a shred of defeatism or despair. On the contrary. In point of fact, the magnanimity and graciousness I have seen in defeat in so many places on the right tells me that this is an eager and seasoned army, one able to look defeat in the face and own up to the errors in tactics and strategy that got us there. And nowhere do I see a call to abandon our core principles and sue for terms, but rather that our loss was caused precisely by our abandonment of the issues which we hold dear and which have served us so well on battlefields past."
On the other hand, with all due respect to a great thinker and writer, I've read plenty to the contrary.
Example, the continued sliming of Sarah Palin, not by the left-wing media and triumphant Democrats - but by anonymous McCain staffers.
Also see here: http://townhall.com/columnists/AmandaCarpenter/2008/11/07/conservative_bloggers_feel_spurned
Amanda Carpenter, "Conservative Bloggers Feel Spurned."
"After Barack Obama swept John McCain in the 2008 election and the Democrats expanded their majorities in the House and Senate, high-profile conservatives began plotting strategy meetings to invigorate the party.
"Younger, conservative bloggers complain they were left out.
"The most-discussed meeting was held at the Media Research Center President Brent Bozell’s Virginia home for roughly 20-leading voices, including American for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, the Leadership Institute’s Founder Morton Blackwell, American Spectator Publisher Al Regnery, pollster Kelly-Ann Conway and Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com Richard Viguerie.
"One particularly passionate online activist told Townhall he called three sources trying to get an invitation to the meeting only to be told there was “no room.”"
Is this what we've got to look forward to? A conservative Old Guard that would rather lose than make way for new blood?
Folks, I'd like to agree with Bill Whittle. Though I've never met him, his writing bespeaks a man of exemplary courage, conviction and brains.
Go here http://www.ejectejecteject.com/ and check out his essay "Tribes" to see if I write truly.
There is an Arab saying, "The courage of your friends gives you strength."
I think of Whittle as a friend and comrade I haven't met yet. And his courage certainly heartens me.
And yet, I am afraid of the malign influence of Washington.
There is something in that miasmal atmosphere that affects even the staunchest advocates of constitutional government, limited, distributed, and balanced. (In Milton Friedman's definition of classical liberalism.)
The redouts of freedom are today found in foundations and think tanks that the friends of liberty established when the Hard Left occupied academia. Some wonderful work has been done by organizations such as CATO, Heritage and numerous others.
And yet, (there always seem to be "and yets" don't here?)
Once established and funded, many foundation seem content just to exist, provide jobs for the like-minded, and put on conferences where they basically preach to the choir.
Or to put it bluntly, as soon as they establish an office in D.C. they seem to become Beltway snobs.
Perhaps that's unfair, a fellow in Washington pointed out to me that the choir has a life outside the choir loft. Choir singers are often the first to hear the word, and the first to repeat it to the community.
There are exceptions, the FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education http://www.thefire.org/) actually fights legal battles championing individuals actually being persecuted for exercising their rights to free speech on campus.
I must note, their offices are in Phildelphia and New York.
Remember the Republican sweep during the Clinton administration?
The one that caused Clinton to say, "The era of Big Government is over"?
Wonderful news. Except the Republicans found themselves quite comfortable at the trough and became even bigger pigs than the ones they replaced.
Now they've been thrown out, and deservedly so. Which should delight anyone with a sense of justice, but for the fact they've been replaced by a coterie whose leader has promised to reorganize the economy so that half of the population works for a living, and the other half votes for it.
That's impossible of course. The most thoroughgoing welfare states can only support a two to one ratio of producers to consumers, and that only for a while.
Which is not to say they will not make the attempt, however disastrous it turns out.
The horrible thing to contemplate is, the outgoing administration has made them a present of a half-socialized banking system to start off with.
George Bernard Shaw made that perceptive remark, "Anyone who promises to rob Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul."
When people quote that, I wonder how many remember that Shaw was a Fabian Socialist who admired both Hitler and Stalin?
I wonder if Shaw was warning against such an economic program, or if he was prescribing tactics?