The Magazine

Where Are We Now?


From View From The Right

We've entered into a new situation, in which our relationship with our government and society and our fellow Americans, how we feel about them, and even what our own identity is as Americans, has become, to an undetermined extent, undetermined. How that will sort out we don't know yet, and may not know for a long time.

For years I've wrestled with the question, how does a conservative relate to a social order that has already been radicalized? How does an American feel about his country--and about himself as an American--when it has been largely changed into a different country? My answer has been stated in part in my Traditionalist's Credo:

I declare that this government is no longer a constitutional and moral form of government. I will deal with it, and I will obey its laws, and I will support it when it is defending our country from foreign and domestic enemies. I will vote in its elections and participate in its political debates. But I will never accept it. I aim at a restoration of constitutional and moral order.

That was the way I found of negotiating the contradiction between the fact that America has radically changed, and the fact that I am an American, living in this country and a part of it.

Another way of putting it, is that while there is much in America that is bad and that we cannot accept, there is still much of it that is good and that is ours. So we fight against the bad and try to bring back the good.

But at a certain point, a society may change so much that it changes its very form. What is our relation to an America which is not just bad in numerous respects, but which has become bad at its core, an America which has become hostile and threatening to us--at its core? An America whose Constitution has not just been distorted in profound ways, but has ceased in the most fundamental way to be operative? An America in which the government can do whatever it likes to us, and this is ok with at least half the people?

At that point, the Traditionalist's Credo becomes harder to maintain and may have to be revised, or even abandoned. How it would change, I don't know.

As for the health care bill, the fact is that we are at the beginning of a struggle that will go on for years, since conservatives can no more accept this supposed law than they could accept the imposition of a Soviet government in this country. Not that Obamacare is the same as a Soviet government, but that both are completely outside our historic society and Constitution. The government overseeing every person in the country to require him to purchase health insurance? The government controlling every transaction between doctors and patients? A government out of Atlas Shrugged, which demonizes entire industries and seeks to bankrupt them? I've noticed on the Web today that even mainstream conservatives, such as at Powerline, will never accept this and are prepared to fight for years to repeal it. Powerline calls it National Socialism. That's strong stuff. And various Republican politicians say that they are set on repealing it. So this is going to go on for years.