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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

70th Rant: Time to give up or time to fight on?

Last night the House voted to pass the Fiscal Cliff deal, thereby slapping the American People in the face. In fact, Speaker John Boehner (Republican from Ohio’s 8th Congressional District) voted for the deal (thereby proving that he deserved the title of Schmuck of the Week on Red, Right, and Blue for December 8, 2012) as well as Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Republican from Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District) while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican from Virginia's 7th congressional district) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Republican from California's 22nd congressional district) voted against the deal, thereby dividing the House Leadership and also possibly firing Boehner as Speaker.

This whole fiscal cliff debacle reminds me of the most recent issue of the Imprimis newsletter from Hillsdale College. In it Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale, had posted his interview on the Hugh Hewitt show from November 7. There was a very interesting dialogue at the beginning of the newsletter in which Hewitt had mentioned that “there are a lot of people who are close to saying “game over,” who are tempted now to retreat from politics—to go do missionary
work, for instance—and give up on the republic. But you have made your life’s work the studying of leaders who have refused to do that.” Dr. Arnn’s answer is one in which many people should read many times and commit it to memory.

That’s right. And the reason you can’t do that, by the way—the reason you can’t retreat into private life and give up on politics—is that the cost of doing it is overwhelming. If you don’t live under good laws, life becomes truncated and less happy, injustice becomes customary, civilization is compromised. And one
cannot acquiesce in that. One has to be involved. And since politics is natural to us—man is essentially political, as Aristotle says—and since we do live in the greatest modern country—founded that way at least—we owe it a lot. And many of the people who have seen the republic
through to where we are today have gone through things that are worse than this. So first of all, it’s a duty not to give up. But second, there are good reasons to
know that the game isn’t over.

When pressed by Hugh what he meant, Dr. Arnn went on to say,

One of them is that the election is shot through with contradictions. The obvious contradiction is that we have a divided government. The presidency and the Senate are in the hands of one party, and the House of Representatives and most governorships are in the hands of the other. A second contradiction is that a large majority of people continued to say in the exit polls that they were against raising taxes in order to cut the deficit.
One might be cynical and put that down to an irresponsible refusal to pay for existing benefits—to get more and more “free stuff.” But for a long time now, opinion polls have pointed towards the existence of a broad majority of Americans who favor smaller government. This obviously contradicts the re-election of the president and the Democratic gains in the Senate. The
country is still a house divided against itself, and that’s dangerous. But it doesn’t mean that there’s been a resolution. It means in fact the opposite: there is not a
resolution. That resolution still has to be made, and the making of it lies ahead of us, and not behind us.

Dr. Arnn went on to say that Reagan and Churchill were “two statesmen that regarded the Soviet Union as weak, even at the height of its power, because it was built on self-contradictory propositions and its system led to obvious and repeated injustices.”

You can read the entire interview here and also subscribe to Imprimis for free here. I strongly recommend subscribing to Imprimis as it brings the best and brightest from well-known politicians, columnists, and radio hosts like Thomas Sowell, Mark Steyn, John Bolton, Margaret Thatcher, Mark Helperin, and others. The main question here is, “will you give up, or will you fight on?”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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