- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

In 2012, Who Is for Hope and Change?

“Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

So wrote John Jay in Federalist No. 2, wherein he describes Americans as a “band of brethren united to each other by the strongest ties.”

That “band of brethren united” no longer exists.

No longer are we “descended from the same ancestors.”


Indeed, as we are daily instructed, it is our “diversity” — our citizens can trace their ancestors to every member state of the United Nations — that “is our strength.” And this diversity makes us a stronger, better country than the America of Eisenhower and JFK.

No longer do we speak the same language. To tens of millions, Spanish is their language. Millions more do not use English in their homes. Nor are their children taught in English in the schools.

As for “professing the same religion,” the Christianity of Jay and the Founding Fathers has been purged from all public institutions. One in five Americans profess no religious faith. The mainline Protestant churches — the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian — have been losing congregants for a half-century. Secularism is the religion of the elites. It alone is promulgated in public schools.

Are we attached to “the same principles of government”?

Half the nation believes it is the duty of government to feed, house, educate and medicate the population and endlessly extract from the well-to-do whatever is required to make everybody more equal.

Egalitarianism has triumphed over freedom. Hierarchy, the natural concomitant of freedom, is seen as undemocratic.

Are we similar “in our manners and customs”? Are we agreed upon what is good or even tolerable in music, literature, art?

Do we all seek to live by the same moral code? Abortion, a felony in the 1950s, is now a constitutional right. Homosexual marriage, an absurdity not long ago, is the civil rights cause du jour.

Dissent from the intolerant new orthodoxy and you are a bigot, a hater, a homophobe, an enemy of women’s rights.

Recent wars — Vietnam, Iraq — have seen us not “fighting side by side” but fighting side against side.

Racially, morally, politically, culturally, socially, the America of Jay and the Federalist Papers is ancient history. Less and less do we have in common. And to listen to cable TV is to realize that Americans do not even like one another. If America did not exist as a nation, would these 50 disparate states surrender their sovereignty and independence to enter such a union as the United States of 2012?

Nor are we unique in sensing that we are no longer one.

Scotland, Catalonia, and Flanders maneuver to break free of the nations that contain their peoples. All over the world, peoples are disaggregating along the lines of creed, culture, tribe, and faith.

What has this to do with the election of 2012? Everything.

For if America is to endure as a nation, her peoples are going to need the freedom to live differently and the space to live apart, according to their irreconcilable beliefs. Yet should Barack Obama win, the centralization of power and control will continue beyond the point of no return.

His replacement of any retiring Supreme Court justice with another judicial activist — a Sonia Sotomayor, an Elena Kagan — would negate a half-century of conservative labors and mean that abortion on demand — like slavery, a moral abomination to scores of millions — is forever law in all 50 states.

President Obama speaks now of a budget deal in which Democrats agree to $2.50 in spending cuts if the Republicans agree to $1 in tax increases. But given the character of his party — for whom Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, Head Start, earned income tax credits, and Pell Grants are holy icons — any deal Obama cuts with Republicans in return for higher taxes will be like the deal Ronald Reagan eternally regretted.

The tax hikes become permanent; the budget cuts are never made.

In the first debate, Mitt Romney said that in crafting a budget that consumes a fourth of the economy, he would ask one question: “Is the program so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”

If a President Romney held to that rule, it would spell an end to any new wars of choice and all foreign aid and grants to global redistributionsts — such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It would entail a review of all U.S. alliances dating back to the Cold War, which have U.S. troops on every continent and in a hundred countries.

Obama offers more of the stalemate America has gone through for the past two years.

Romney alone offers a possibility of hope and change.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of TAC and the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? [1]” Copyright 2012 Creators.com [2].

13 Comments (Open | Close)

13 Comments To "In 2012, Who Is for Hope and Change?"

#1 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 31, 2012 @ 9:29 am

Respectfully, Mr. Romney offers the same hope for change as Obama did four years ago. That is a powerful hope as much change is needed.

But a hope for change, as we discovered over the course of the last four years, is not the same as change occurring.

Mr. Romney owes allegiance to the same powers of status quo that Mr. Obama decided not to challenge and is also financially beholden to.

I cannot imagine that if Mr. Obama could not bring the fecklessness of the money power to heel, that Mr. Romney would stand for anything else other than furtherance of all their policies that have brought the country to such a low state.

#2 Comment By Daniel Baker On October 31, 2012 @ 10:09 am

Buchanan’s argument is incoherent. If we principally need freedom and decentralized government because we are increasingly diverse in our ancestry, language, and religion, then what was the need for freedom and decentralized government at the time Jay wrote? Conversely, if Jay and the other authors of the Federalist considered their free and decentralized system only proper for a homogeneous country, then doesn’t that argue that decentralization won’t work for the much more heterogeneous country of today?

And if freedom and decentralization are desirable in both heterogeneous and homogeneous countries, what is the relevance of discussing America’s increasing diversity at all?

#3 Comment By Matt On October 31, 2012 @ 11:29 am

I believe Buchanan is saying that the only way to preserve America as a “nation”, as opposed to a hodgepodge polyglot collection of disparate peoples forcibly held together by a central tyrant, is for political decentralization to unite us on the few things we might agree on while leaving everything else to lower levels.

#4 Comment By Mr. Patrick On October 31, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

God help us, our nation’s future hinges on Governor Zelig.

#5 Comment By Bob Jones On October 31, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

The problem with Buchanan’s argument is that he takes Jay at his word, without examining the actual demographics of both pre- and port-revolutionary America. The colonies and later states were indeed quite diverse, both in their religion, their ethnicity, and their economies. Jay was arguing in the Federalist paper for support for the constitution to bring this diverse collection of communities together, by extolling a commonness that really didn’t exist in the form he described. The necessity for a Civil War 70 years later is the counter point to Jay’s argument.

#6 Comment By KateLE On October 31, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

Just how big a pretzel did Pat have to twist himself into to turn Romney into the candidate least likely to start another war?

#7 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On October 31, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

America ceased to answer to John Jay’s description when the first Irish immigrants were allowed to enter our nation. No, before that, Benjamin Franklin complained about the “Palatine Boors” being admitted to Pennsylvania, meaning German immigrants. Significant numbers of Roman Catholics were as great a challenge to Jay’s “professing the same religion” as any wave of immigration. Yes, Catholics are Christian, but the founders were for the most part militantly Protestant, accepting Catholics like the Carrolls precisely because they were few, and not pushing their faith on anyone.

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I met adults who learned to speak German at home, before they learned English. Out on Long Island in the 1970s, I heard people speaking Polish at the local supermarket. In Santa Ana, California in the 1980s, I observed that Hispanic immigrants were more anxious to learn English from me than to have me try out my limited Spanish on them.

Our diversity pre-dates the Civil War. One of the untried strengths this diversity could have given us was Louis Adamic’s proposal that American citizens of various European ethnic origins should be sent in teams after WW II to build a democratic Europe on the ashes of Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich. (FDR was intrigued by the idea; Winston Churchill was horrified).

As for the rest, we need not bind up every issue into a monolith.

Abortion, a felony in the 1950s, is now a constitutional right. Homosexual marriage, an absurdity not long ago, is the civil rights cause du jour.

Abortion only became a felony in the mid to late 19th century. When Jay wrote the words quoted above, it was freely available, if not entirely respectable. What has been affirmed as a constitutional right is not abortion, per se, but that there are matters government should stay out of, leaving to individual discretion. Abortion, at least until the 20th week or so, is one of them. That is a sound conservative point of view.

Homosexual marriage, on the other hand, should at least stand on its own merits, not wrap itself in the mantle of a civil rights movement now enshrined by general acceptance. Like it or not, heterosexuality is the obvious and irrefutable biological norm for the human species. Even assuming, as seems likely, that homosexuality is a natural outlier of sexual passions that are inherently heterosexual in origin, that doesn’t mean any state owes it recognition or approbation.

Obama’s administration would be much improved if it acknowledged that there really ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. But, before George Bush’s childish tax cuts, we were paying down the national debt. Instead, he put us into a spiral that doubled the debt during seven years of prosperity. Obama came in on the cusp of Great Depression 2.0. With more fiscal probity during the Bush years, staving off depression would have raised a debt of $3-4 trillion up to $8-9 trillion, rather than $15-16 trillion.

But what has any of this to do with Romney? The only consistent principle the man has evidenced is “I really admire the thought of ME being president. My wife tells me she likes it too. What do I have to tell you this week to win your vote?” Nobody knows what he would do in office. I’m not sure he even has a clue.

#8 Comment By colm J On October 31, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

I admire Mr Buchanan’s moral courage in taking on the neocons and the left but I think like many old rightists he doesn’t really understand the forces he is opposing. The left is not really egalitarian and never has been – China, Soviet Russia, modern China, Blair’s Britain and the America of Clinton and Obama prove that beyond argument. The Obama Clinton left and the Bush-Romney-McCain neocons keep on prosecuting “humanitarian interventions” that lead to untold human suffering, on behalf of a nihilistic oligarchy, and the old-conservatives keep on complaining that these guys are just too “utopian” for their own good . It never seems to occur to them that maybe just maybe the left and the neocons like oppressing people, that the Gulags and the endless wars and the surveillance cameras on every street are the whole point – not the result of misplaced utopianism.

#9 Comment By Mike S On October 31, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

“No longer are we descended from the same ancestors…”

My goodness, you mean as 225 years passed, things changed? Who would have thought it? In any case, nothing can be done about it.

I think Obama has done very well, given the mess he inherited. He has my vote.

#10 Comment By Will Wilkin On November 1, 2012 @ 12:49 am

I agree with Mr. Buchanan’s implied criticism of deploying military personnel in 100 countries, having an empire of 800-1000 bases in 150 countries, and multiple wars of choice. I wish he’d add opposition to the kill lists and indefinite detention “authority” Obama wants the Supreme Court to approve, in contradiction to the Bill of Rights. Here is a frightening grab for Executive dictatorship power that Mr. Romney has said nothing about –why not? And if Mr. Buchanan is serious about liberty, the NDAA2012 absurdities passed by Congress and signed by Obama show neither party is fit for the Constitutional responsibilities.

But I disagree there is something inherently wrong with using government to promote public education, public health and public welfare. Congress is not advancing the national interest –but it could!

I share Mr. Buchanan’s lament for the lack of unity in our country and wish we could ignite patriotism in the USA (not that there isn’t any), get Americans from all positions in society to agree we will make our fate together as a nation. We will buy American, we will make it in America, we will demand governance that promotes prosperity and opportunity for all. The left would have to swallow that bringing prosperity in the real world means MORE corporate welfare rather than less, and the right would have to swallow MORE democratization of that prosperity, ideally through full employment and strengthened Social Security and National Health.

Act like a team, put our differences and animosities aside and agree we need a strong private sector centered around 21st century manufacturing as the engine of wealth creation, but rather than just give the country away to the industrialists they must agree to democratize the prosperity. I was just a kid at the time but still like the way Nixon used to say “my fellow Americans….”

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 1, 2012 @ 11:25 am

LBJ used to say “Ma fellamericans” too. He and Nixon had different flaws, but both were significant.

I think we may find that the great bulwark of civil liberties and limited government powers in the coming decades will be Chief Justice Roberts. I liked the way he slapped down Elena Kagan’s argument, as Justice Department solicitor, that invoking the First Amendment protection of free speech requires an examination of the value of that speech.

Citizens United was a travesty, but after all, he was bound by the precedent of Southern Pacific Railway v. Santa Clara County, or rather, the careless manner that a dictum from that case had subsequently been applied as precedent. Remove personhood from the corporation, and the landscape would be quite different.

#12 Comment By Kevin Murphy On November 1, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

I’m not sure we have to remove personhood from the corporation, although I favor doing that.

The essential step is to remove the rights of citizenship from the corporation. Non-citizens are prevented from influencing elections.

How can we consider a company like Citibank as a citizen, to pick just one example? The biggest shareholders are the Saudi royal family.

When the biggest investors in the world are the sovereign wealth funds of Russia, China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and others, how can we give corporations the right to contribute money to election campaigns, just because they are listed on the NYSE? They may be majority owned by Iran, for all we know.

Strip the rights of citizenship from all corporations.

#13 Comment By M_Young On November 3, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

“The problem with Buchanan’s argument is that he takes Jay at his word, without examining the actual demographics of both pre- and port-revolutionary America. ”

The white population of the colonies was 80 percent British descended. The Indians were treated as foreign nations, the Africans were slaves. There were no significant populations of Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, etc. Not even many Jews to speak of. The few European groups of any note were very similar genetically and even culturally to the Americans. Germans, after all, speak a Germanic language as do English speakers.

Further, as America expanded in only added as states territories with a solid white majority (until the unfortunate addition of Hawaii). That’s why, despite having our Armies in Mexico City, we didn’t take over that whole country, but only the very sparsely populated northern ‘half’ (with, as they say, all the good roads).

And Siarlys, if you went to Santa Ana today you’d barely hear English, it is extremely non-diverse (80% ‘Hispanic’) and at its elementary schools *every single pupil* receives a free lunch and breakfast if they so desire. We didn’t feed the Irish or the Italians.