THE LIMITS OF “MODERATION”

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Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.  — Abraham Lincoln (from his final public address here)

I just finish reading an interesting post by James Bowden (see here).   Bowden explains why he believes the attempt to remove Jeff Frederick from the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Virginia is a “cooked crisis.”  He sternly attacks the elected leaders of the of the Republican Party for their unwillingness to adhere to well established principles.   Because of the truth it contains, Bowden’s post is a disappointing read.  The state of the Republican Party in Virginia is not something which should fill us with pride.

There limits to ethical compromise.  There is a point at which moderation fails to be moderate.  If life teaches anything, then it is that everything comes at a cost.  We can only optimize our choices.  We cannot make a choice that gives us everything we want.  To make the best choices, we must each figure out what is important and relevant to the ultimate purpose of our lives.   To make our lives meaningful, we must honor the principles to which we dedicate our lives.   So it is that on some matters we cannot  compromise.  Unfortunately, the people we have elected to public office have demonstrated the capacity to readily compromise the principles upon which our nation was founded.   Moreover, they will do so even if it means violating their oath of office.

It is said “politics is the art of compromise.”  Yet if it costs you your soul, what is a compromise worth?  Only the cynic would say it does not matter.

Word History: A cynic may be pardoned for thinking that this is a dog’s life. The Greek word kunikos, from which cynic comes, was originally an adjective meaning “doglike,” from kuōn, “dog.” The word was probably applied to the Cynic philosophers because of the nickname kuōn given to Diogenes of Sinope, the prototypical Cynic. He is reported to have been seen barking in public, urinating on the leg of a table, and masturbating on the street. The first use of the word recorded in English, in a work published from 1547 to 1564, is in the plural for members of this philosophical sect. In 1596 we find the first instance of cynic meaning “faultfinder,” a sense that was to develop into our modern sense. The meaning “faultfinder” came naturally from the behavior of countless Cynics who in their pursuit of virtue pointed out the flaws in others. Such faultfinding could lead quite naturally to the belief associated with cynics of today that selfishness determines human behavior.

If you believe only selfishness motivates human actions and that only what materially benefits you is important, then you are the modern cynic.  Sadly, you are too apt to win elections.  Too many of us today vote for our pocketbook.   When we do so, we are all too likely to vote for a candidate willing to bend principle to win an election.

In fairness to Diogenes, I should mention that the original cynics thought the dog more noble than a man.

There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between its friends and enemies. So do they recognize as friends those who are suited to philosophy, and receive them kindly, while those unfitted they drive away, like dogs, by barking at them.  (from here)

There is a place for fault-finding.  We must look for the faults in the choices we seek.  Those that depart from our principles we must reject.  When our leaders offer us choices that depart from the principles we honor, we must bark at them.  We must choose leaders most suited to our philosophy.

Note:   Here I promised to do a series of posts based upon  Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History by Lee Harris.  Unfortunately, I have been distracted from my regular blogging by the attempt to remove Jeff Frederick from the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Virginia.  However, I have made use of material from the book.  I first discovered origin of the word “cynic” in Harris’ book.  His description of Diogenes’ philosophy and its relevance to today is most interesting.

A SPECIAL POST JUST FOR THE LOUDOUN INSIDER

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wingnut
n : any tree of the genus Pterocarya; fruit is a small winged nutlet; Caucasus to southeastern Asia (from here)

Yes.  The term “wingnut” is in the dictionary.   In order to properly understand the political definition of the term “wingnut,” I thought it best to begin with the actual dictionary definition.  That is because the users of slang start with an existing word and concept and revise it to suit their purposes.

The Urban Dictionary (euphemism for Slang Dictionary) provides the definition which makes the term “wingnut” more suitable for those prone to casting insults.

wingnut

n. An outspoken, irrational person with deeply-held, nominally conservative, political views. A person who chooses on principle to be flagrantly ignorant. A “right-wing nut”.
Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Fred Phelps are examples of the wingnut element in modern America. (from here)

The person who has achieved the most renown for using this term in our neck of the blogosphere is Loudoun Insider of the Too Conservative.  Here is an example of his latest masterful use of the term.

Now the wingnuts who make up much of the NoVA State Central Committee membership have issued a decree stating that they’re behind Frederick (posted as comment 1).  All of those listed couldn’t get elected to office in their respective jurisdictions.  This is the problem with RPV – its “leaders” are too out of the mainstream.  It’s crazy that the RoVA SCC members seem to be the ones with the most sense in regard to Frederick.  In a related matter, Kathleen Parker (I know – you wingnuts consider her a whiny RINO) discusses the case of a big RNC donor who’s flipped to the Dems because of Republican wingnut intransigence.  You people can whine about “principles” all you want, but it does you no good whatsoever if you don’t get elected in the first place.  Real moderation isn’t the end of the world.  America is much more of an incremental change state than one given to massive changes in direction.  Until the “silent majority” of Republicans wakes the F up and takes back the party from these Puritans, RPV is doomed to failure.  These Puritan types simply scare the crap out of too many voters.  Virginia simply doesn’t have the critical mass of hard Rs to elect their types of candidates anymore.  I’m sure it’s disconcerting to hear, but it’s the plain simple truth.  (from here)

Note how Loudoun Insider’s use of the term “wingnuts” lends credence to his carefully considered and reasoned arguments.  The coolness with which Loudoun Insider used the term “wingnut” deserves the great respect of all Republicans, particularly those fond of listening to Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell.

Loudoun Insider can use the term “wingnut” with such great finesse only because he is so well practiced with the term.  Google “Loudoun Insider” and wingnut, and you will get at least 215 hits.

In fact, Loudoun Insider is quite charitable with the term “wingnut.”  Although I do not remember using the term before myself, when I Googled “Citizen Tom” and wingnut, I got an astonishing 271 hits.  Wow!  With a little research, I determined this was in large part due to the work of Loudoun Insider.   Admittedly, I still dwell far below in the lower ranks of wingnuts.  I am, for example, dwarfed by Rush Limbaugh who gets 474,000 hits.

Nonetheless, Loudoun Insider’s diligent efforts on behalf of wingnuts such as myself are finally drawing the attention they deserve.

Here Smashed Mouth Politics asks Who does “Loudoun Insider” consider to be examples of a “Republican wingnuts”?

Equally mesmerized with Loudoun Insider’s masterful use of the term wingnut to describe his fellow partisans, The Mason Conservative also dedicated a post in his honor, The Frustrating Frederick Affair.

What is most amazing, however, is the honor bestowed on Loudoun Insider by the author of a nationally known comic strip.  He took the time to provide Loudoun Insider his well considered personal advice in one of his comics.

wingnuts

Yes, Mr. Insider, it is true.  To fly, even an angel needs wingnuts.  No less is true of the Republican Party.  In fact, without people with principles, the United States would never have existed as a republic.  If he had not held true to his principles, George Washington would have been our first king.  In fact in that day and time, making Washington king may well have been the moderate’s solution.

WHAT THE BLOGS SAID LAST WEEK ABOUT JEFF FREDERICK, THE RPV CHAIR

elephantgop.pngHas the momentum shifted for Jeff Frederick?  I suspect that it has, but until April 4th there is no way of knowing.  Meanwhile, what are the blogs saying?

Here The Mason Conservative flipped-flopped.  Sometimes flip-flopping is appropriate.

The Contemporary Conservative wrote several posts opposing Frederick (here, here and here).  Thinking that the author presumed too much to proclaim he offered a balanced view, I commented on the first post here.   The second post offers the silly parody of a trial.  The third is a simple tirade listing accusations.

Im Not Emeril posted his concerns here.  He is not happy with the situation.  Supposedly, the State Central Committee (SCC) has a smoking gun, but they have yet to share the information (here).

Spank That Donkey is furious with the situation.  He takes our elected Republican officialdom to task (here).  Other posts supporting Frederick include this one, that one, here, and there.

Bearing Drift provided speculation that McDonnell might be seeking a deal with Frederick here, provides the status of the latest back and forth (here) (Missed this Bearing Drift post so I added it when I found it.), and that silly parody of a trial here.  I wonder if the folks who made the video realize how much the video actually parodies the SCC.

RightsideVA wonders here if Frederick is being railroaded.

Tertium Quids sees no alternative to Frederick here, reviews the silly trial parody video here, reviews Leslie Carbone’s post supporting Frederick here, and takes issue with the suggestion that the leadership knows best here.

Loudoun Insider at Too Conservative apparently has a personal dislike for Frederick.  Here he vents his frustration.  In this post he tell us that it is inappropriate for the RPV Chairman to post his picture on the RPV web site (I kid you not.).  And here we see again that silly parody of a trial.

Riley at Virtual Virtucon wonders if Frederick’s opponents have the numbers (here).  Here we again have that silly parody of a trial.

The Write Side of My Brain laments the stupidity of the whole mess here and then posts that silly parody of a trial here.

ShaunKenney.com uses the opportunity for a teaching moment on word choice (here).  He takes issue with James Bowden’s (at Deo Vindice) use of the word lynching.   Of course, since everyone else had already posted it, he too posted that silly parody of a trial (here).

Bowden also found the opportunity for teaching moments.  Here he notes a highly inappropriate vote by Virginia’s Republican delegation to Congress.  Here he describes the philosophical split between Republicans, and here and here he describes the political lynching of Jeff Frederick.

RPV Network has taken up Frederick’s cause and posted his response to the charges here.  They have a post on petition supporting Frederick here.

A Few Samples of Democrat Wisdom

Blue Virginia continued to joyfully proclaim Republican divisions here and hereHere the Richmond Democrat offers the sage advice so typical of that blog.

Opinion

What should be apparent to our elected Republican leadership is that Conservatives are not happy with them.  Their recommendation that Frederick should be dumped carries little weight.  That simple fact should disturb us all.  Where is the trust?  Frederick has been charged with malfeasance, but many are skeptical of the charges.  In fact, there is little discussion of the charges.  Instead, we talk about the good of the party and about the political rivalry between the different factions.

How did we reach this state of affairs?  In one respect I think ShaunKenney.com hits upon the problem with this post here.   When he expresses his concerns over Bowden’s word choices, Kenney wants Bowden to make certain that he does not agitate his audience unreasonably or trivialize what it means to lynch someone.  Is Bowden doing that?  Is Bowden trivializing the word “lynch”?  I am afraid not.

We suspect our leadership of trying to remove Frederick without cause.  We think our leaders are more concerned about power than justice.  With their “charges” against Frederick, we suspect our leaders of using words as weapons instead of as the means we use to communicate honest facts. It is understood that the SCC cannot remove the RPV Chairman just because they do not like him.   He must be charged with “something,” but what if Frederick has not done anything wrong?   Are the charges against Frederick are just words without substance — window dressing for a power grab.   Then Frederick is being metaphorically lynched.

Look again at our leaders.  Do they adhere to the Republican Creed.  Are they willing to constrain themselves to those powers authorized by the Virginia and Federal Constitutions?  Do they scrupulously set about strengthening their own powers or do they empower the People?  When it is apparent that our leaders think it is all about them, why should we take them seriously when they ask us to remove Frederick for the good of the Republican Party?

To set things aright, members of Republican Party must take it upon themselves to control the direction of the Party.  Hopefully, RPV Network is a sign of things to come.

IS REAL ID TOO NOSY?

Here is an email I received from Delegate Bob Marshall.

Delegate Bob Marshall

Urge Governor to sign Anti Real ID bills

HB 1587, which would prevent Virginia from formally co-operating with the federal government’s Real ID card if it would “compromise the economic privacy or biometric data of any resident of the Commonwealth” passed the House of Delegates and State Senate.  SB 1481 (Sen. Cuccinelli) is identical to HB 1587 and also passed the General Assembly.

Gov. Kaine has until midnight, Monday, March 30 to sign, amend or veto HB 1587 and SB 1481.  The Assembly will re-convene on April 8 to consider any amendment or vetoes from the Governor for all bills passed in the 2009 regular legislative session.

For background on Real ID please go to http://delegatebob.com/home/real-id-introduction-legislative-history.html

Please urge Governor Tim Kaine to sign both HB 1587 and SB 1481 WITHOUT any amendments.   Gov. Kaine may be contacted at the following:

Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

OR

Phone: (804) 786-2211
Fax: (804) 371-6351

His form e-mail is available at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm

E-mail for Governor Kaine’s Chief of Staff, Wayne Turnage, is wayne.turnage@governor.virginia.gov

The language and bill history of the HB 1587 are at:  http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?091+sum+HB1587.  The same for SB 1481 may accessed at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?091+sum+SB1431.

Sincerely,

Signature

Delegate Bob Marshall