Another brilliant example of why I enjoy listening to Rush Limbaugh:
[ … ]CALLER: Number two, you used a term “mystified” a couple of times today, and I’d like to say that Thomas Paine wrote that without an informed electorate, democracy would surely fail — and if you substitute “uninformed” with “misinformed” with the way the mass media is giving out all this information, that’s the reason we’re so confused.
RUSH: Well, there’s no question, but look here. I will admit that I am among those of you who are frustrated and angry over a bunch of ridiculous things happening that are not needed. We don’t need Republicans traveling off the conservative reservation to win. We don’t need people who are willing to abandon conservative principles for whatever reason, in order to win. But it’s happened. Okay, so it is what it is. Things are cyclical. I read a piece today. I forget who wrote it. I’m not intentionally forgetting this. It’s in the American Spectator on their website, and it’s about how maybe conservatism does need to go through some changes here. A lot of people on our side are starting to say this. The premise here is that the Reagan era is over. We’ve got a bunch of young people who are coming of age now in the political spectrum, who weren’t alive during the cold war. They have no idea. The Berlin Wall falling? Yip, yip, yahoo. “They didn’t live through it — just like you, Limbaugh, didn’t live through the Great Depression, you know, so you don’t care about another depression happening. You don’t care what the politics were back then.”
Au contraire, by the way, but have people telling me this. So these young people couldn’t care less, just like young people today are not imbued with any sort of romance over the Clinton era, because they don’t really remember it. They’re 18 and 20 now, but back then it wasn’t any big deal. I profoundly disagree with this notion that conservatism is somehow fading away. It can’t. It’s immutable; it is a set of principles. It survives. It’s not a scheme, as I keep saying. There are people who are constantly… Look de Toqueville, 149, 120 years ago, spelled out the basic challenge between liberalism and conservatism. Conservatism was present at the founding of the country. Liberalism has been around forever, and it’s not going away. Conservatism isn’t going away. These are ideas, these are battles of ideas — and nobody’s going to be able to erase conservatism as an idea. It isn’t going to happen. One of the things that’s happening, you talk about young people? Nobody talks about it because, of course, the Drive-Bys and people outside this universe are not even aware of it, but it’s the phenomenon known as Rush Babies. Look at all the conservative Republican clubs at major institutions of higher learning. Look at Berkeley. More Republicans enrolled than liberal Democrats at the University of California at Berkeley.
Now, these things are cyclical, and it may well — There are consequences, by the way, to actions, and if the Republican Party is going to end up nominating somebody who is going to try to steal voters from moderates, independents, and Democrats and liberals, and gets elected or loses that way, okay. We’re gonna get either Mrs. Clinton or Obama. The odds are, if they do what they promise, we’re going to get another four years of malaise at some point. We’re going to get another Jimmy Carter-type administration — and that, guess who, is going to awaken a whole lot of people, particularly young people who are now inspired by conservatism, forming clubs, going to universities, and living their lives based on these principles. So it’s unfortunate, but sometimes it takes a Jimmy Carter to get a Ronald Reagan. There’s another reason for it. (sigh) As you know, I love President Bush, but he’s not been leading a movement. Had there been a genuine conservative movement being led these last eight years, we wouldn’t be in this situation. But, again, that’s what it is.
He never said he was going to, so you can’t really sit here and blame him. He’s a Republican. He’s conservative on certain things, but he’s not “a” conservative — and we haven’t had one of those, you know, since the Republicans took over the House in 1994. But it’s there for the asking, if somebody just wants to assume the mantle of leader in a forceful and powerful way. It’s going to be tough because the Drive-Bys and Democrats will line up. You see the Drive-Bys. You can see who they’re propping up on our side. You can identify who the conservatives are if you’re questioning it, if you’re confused, by looking at who the Drive-Bys tear down on our side and who they support. I guarantee you the people they support –the Drive-By Media, the people they support on our side — are not conservative. The Democrat Party, the liberals in this country, the media would love nothing better than for the conservative movement to be made defunct, a nonfactor. They would love for the Republican Party to go back to being dominated by a minority of country club blue bloods, who didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of being in the same party with people who are pro-life.
While most of the so-called conservative blogopshere talks about polls and news articles focusing on “momentum” and superficial nonsense, Rush Limbaugh is talking about Alexis de Tocqueville. Know who he is? I bet you know the latest stories on Jessica Simpson or the latest winners of American Idol. And I bet you know who is leading the polls in South Carolina and what each paper is saying about each of the polls out nationally. But do you know anything related to principles and conservative principles? Are you reading up on history and conservatism and democracy and its pitfalls?
RUSH: Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote the book. He passed away 149 years ago. He came to the United States, traveled around, wrote a book. Parts of this book — well, all of it is amazing, but parts of this book are so prescient. I got this excerpt from the Power Line blog yesterday. He concludes in the book, Democracy in America, “with a warning of the kind of despotism to which democratic societies are usually and especially susceptible. He warns that the passion for equality will give rise to a certain kind of degradation in which citizens will surrender their freedom democratically to a tutelary power.” Now, tutelary power, think protector, think guardian, think Nanny State. Here’s the excerpt.
“Above these [citizens] an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? Subjection in small affairs manifests itself every day and makes itself felt without distinction by all citizens. It does not make them desperate, but it constantly thwarts them and brings them to renounce the use of their wills. Thus little by little, it extinguishes their spirits and enervates their souls.”
This is Alexis de Tocqueville, died 149 years ago, and when he writes — it would be one thing if the Nanny State prepared people for adulthood and manhood, but it doesn’t. It wants to keep us perpetually childlike. They, the government, want to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of happiness. They want to provide for our security, they foresee and secure our needs, they facilitate our pleasures, conduct our principal affairs, direct our industry, regulate our houses and homes, divide our inheritances. Can all this not take away from us entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? By the way, it doesn’t take government to make this happen. Oprah Winfrey has made it happen for many in her audience, the Oprahfication. We expect this on the left, but there are Republican candidates who are now running under this basic idea, life is too complicated, we’re going to fix it for you, we’re going to make you happy, we’re going to make you dependent, and we’re going to make everybody equal, and we’re going to divide up your inheritance. And we’re going to regulate your homes, as in, where you can and can’t smoke, what you can and can’t do with your land, what kind of car you can and can’t drive, and we might even regulate the thermostat to tell you how cold and warm and hot and so forth you can and can’t be.
Then we’re going to tell you what kind of lightbulbs you can and can’t use. We’re doing all this for your pleasure. We’re doing all of this for your own good. One of the tenets of his book here is to spot the pitfalls of democrat societies. Remember, we’re not a democracy, we’re a representative republic, and that also is being attacked as well. This will resonate with a lot of people, especially during primary time, because primary time, folks, is not really where elections are devoted to substance. They’re devoted to perception and image and feel-good type things. When you get to the presidential election, contrary to what the libs like to say, contrary to what the Drive-Bys like to say, presidential elections are about issues. But will that change? Who knows. The point is, the antidote for this is conservatism, and there just isn’t anybody on the front burner that is explaining and leading with these principles.
Instead, way too many people are trying to water them down and redefine them so as not to have to deal with them. It’s hard. I’ve always said, conservatism is hard, conservatism does not baby people. It doesn’t do what de Tocqueville was describing here. It doesn’t keep you a perpetual child. Conservatism doesn’t try to find a way to keep you happy. Conservatism is about making yourself happy and productive and fulfilled and making sure that there are as few obstacles in your path to all that as possible. But liberalism, Nanny Statism, why, it’s easy. It’s the most gutless choice you can make. Just tell everybody you care about them, understand that they can’t survive against the odds and they’re going to punish the people who do. We’re going to try to make everybody equal, and we’re going to make sure you’re as happy as you can be, and we’re going to make sure that you don’t do any damage to the country, you don’t do any damage to the planet, you don’t do any damage to the neighborhood, you don’t do any damage to your house. If you engage in fraudulent or mistaken practices that cost you econonically, don’t worry about it, no harm, no foul, because you were too stupid to know what you were doing in the first place, so we will fix it and make you indentured servants of ours, constantly owing us in the government for whatever pleasure and happiness you find in life, and that will keep you dependent on it and will keep you looking everywhere but yourself for contentment, for happiness, for satisfaction, and for pleasure. That, my friends, is what he’s talking about. That’s what liberalism is, and it pains me to say, we have Republicans running on the same premise for the presidency in this campaign.