Bidding Farewell To Politics

BY Herschel Smith
3 years ago

We all knew it would happen one day, this final divorce from the political scene.  It’s been building for a long time, but before I get ahead of myself, let me explain how I got into politics.

I’ve never really been in politics, per se.  I’ve never run for office, I’ve never been an active part of a party, but I have donated, worked hard to persuade others of my views, and diligently voted, as well as followed the political scene very closely.  It all began my final year at Clemson University.  I recall being in Johnston Hall in a small dormitory room (are there any other sizes?), along with about twenty other guys.  We were packed in, and all watching Jimmy Carter debate Ronald Reagan.  Reagan handed him a resounding defeat, and at that time we were all Reagan supporters.  The entire campus, it felt like, thought like we did.  There couldn’t be found a single student on campus who supported Jimmy Carter, or if there could, he didn’t say so out loud.

In addition to studying engineering into the late hours every night, we were carefully and diligently following every particular, every detail, of the political scene, and understood fairly well the theoretical and philosophical basis of the choices the candidates made.  Those were heady days – from Calculus and engineering mechanics to political theory and theology and the Bible and back again to physics and chemistry (Even then, the humanities department was infected with progressives, and if we wanted to learn we had to teach ourselves.  I’m reminded of a friend studying philosophy at another college who had to ignore his classes and read Frederick Copleston to learn philosophy, but that’s another story).  The Reagan revolution was strong at Clemson in those days, and we survived on caffeine and late night snacks.  More than a few pots of coffee were made in that horrible kitchen in Johnston Hall at midnight.

We won, and it wasn’t that we won, so much as our ideas held sway.  I do wish that Reagan had been a little more into the details of things, because I hold these four things against him: (1) the first amnesty, (2) Sandra Day O’Conner and Anthony Kennedy, (3) The Hughes Amendment, and (4) deploying the Marines to the barracks in Beirut, only to withdraw them after attack by Hezbollah.  Every one of these things have been shown to have deleterious effects on America (including the Hughes amendment which has caused a lack of investment and design engineering in weapons for our military).  Those are four big failures, but still, we knew that the unborn had a champion, small government had an advocate, and that the danger of “near peers” wouldn’t be underestimated.

Over the course of time, compromise began to occur.  Deals were made, and the mantra of electing the “conservative” who was most electable replaced principled conservatism.  As the democratic party moved more to the left, republicans moved with them in order to stay “relevant.”  The same disease afflicts the American church, leading to the defenestration of doctrine in favor of relevancy.  Whereas the church used to talk about the vicarious atonement, the sovereignty of God and the Council of Nicea, it now focuses on racial reconciliation, nuclear weapons, and gender identity.

We all knew this would happen one day.  By not stopping the diminution of the party, we fed the monster of big government, largesse, entitlements, debt, money printing, high stakes gambling on Wall Street, corporatism, open borders to feed low wage labor, hospital emergency rooms functioning as primary care clinics all paid for by the middle class (so that those low wage workers can work for the corporate masters), crony capitalism and its attendant involvement in the drafting of millions of pages of law, regulation and federal register notices to ensure that the corporations “get theirs.”

I wasn’t surprised at the revolution of the voters this election cycle.  I suspected that it would occur.  What did surprise me was the popularity of Donald Trump.  South Carolina broke my heart, and I knew it was over for Ted Cruz at that point.  Here was the perfect chance to elect someone who would come as close as possible to taking us back to the Reagan revolution, and perhaps even do better than that, in Ted Cruz.  He is a champion of the unborn, has an even stronger position on work visas than Donald Trump, is against the imperialistic military meddling in the affairs of other states and has said so quite clearly (the effect of this position in alienating him from the likes of George W. Bush, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and the rest of the neocons, has been underestimated and is ripe territory for study), has always been a strong supporter of the right to bear arms, has successfully argued before the Supreme Court and understands its machinations well enough to appoint reliably constitutionalist jurists, favors a flat tax, has tried his best to shut down funding for Obamacare (with no help from his senate colleagues), and has sworn to overthrow the single payer health care system.

I have relayed what I heard Louie Gohmert say regarding the meetings between Cruz, Lee, Brat, Gohmert and Duncan, among others, in Cruz’s office, to overturn support for the “gang of eight” bill.  Cruz was hated inside the beltway for very good reason.  While Jeff Sessions was telling us that only Trump would “bust up the Oligarchy” in Washington, Cruz was doing just that.  Busting up the Oligarchy is sure to make the Oligarchs mad.  It doesn’t bother me at all that Cruz was hated by others in Washington.  I would have been even more his supporter if Cruz had advocated an old fashioned lynching of most of the Senators and Representatives, or perhaps tar and feathering.  No one is angrier than I am over the devolution of things in Washington.

And yet the people have chosen Donald Trump.  A man who mocks the handicapped, who considers free speech a disgrace, who triangulated a position so nonsensical on North Carolina’s bathroom law that no one knows what he means, who is a proven hypocrite on foreign workers and immigration, who wants to increase the lands owned by federal government rather than decreasing federal power and turning over the lands to the states, who has never asked anyone for forgiveness, most especially God, who only recently triangulated his position on gun rights when previously supporting an “assault weapons” ban, who supports abortion, who believes that Maryanne Trump Barry (who supports infanticide) would make a fine supreme court justice, who criticizes women for their appearance, who calls people disgusting because of pictures taken of them while they eat, and who believes in a single payer health care system.

It’s like watching an awful reality show or perhaps an interstate wreck at high speed.  Donald Trump is an obscene, narcissistic, self serving, hateful, vengeful, grotesque, moral monster who hates anything that isn’t rewarding him for being him.  He is the post-modern man, evolved past Sartre and Camus and (I suppose, finding emptiness) circling back to the pinnacle of self indulgence, Marquis de Sade.  He is an awful man.  I’ve repeatedly heard that Ted Cruz was born in Canada or wherever, or that he took a loan from such-and-such bank.  The former issue never got any traction with me, and as for the later issue, so taking loans is now illegal or immoral?  I have a loan on my house.  So what?  And as for Trump’s bankruptcies?  That’s okay, because sadism is all about self indulgence at the expense of someone else.

I get the revolutionary flavor of the current political scene.  But instead of supporting the only real revolutionary, the GOP voters have collectively dropped their drawers and mooned God and everyone else in a protest of the preceding years.  It’s a sad thing to watch.  They chose the wrong symbol of protest, and will end up getting what they most loathe, as they become what disgusts and repels them.  The people have raised their fist to God and shouted, “give us a king like all the others.”  And the Lord has said, “very well.”  Suck it up folks, because you’re getting ready to reap the rewards of your choice.

Voting for the least bad candidate is partly what got us here.  Oh, I blame the GOPe, the establishment, 100% for this debacle.  This is a protest vote.  The voters are burning it all down because of your corruption, and the sad, sorry truth is that you still don’t get it.  But it doesn’t stop there for me.  I also blame the voters, 100%.  It isn’t either-or with me, it’s both-and.  No one held a gun to your head and forced you to vote this way in the booth.  You could have chosen to be thinking men and women, but you didn’t.  You became an unthinking mob.  So we are where we are.

And for me, that means that I’ve cast my last vote.  I am bidding farewell to voting.  I am now a disenfranchised conservative Christian, and if a third party opens up for me, I might decide to rejoin in the struggle, but I’ve won’t vote GOP again for the rest of my life.  The GOP has left me – establishment and voters.  It’s no longer my party.  I have no party.  But if I ever vote for an upstart party that is true to my conservative, constitutional ideals, I won’t cast my vote because I think politics will save us.  I don’t.  As John Adams has observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

If we are to be saved, no piece of paper or parchment will do it.  Thus, I sympathize with my friend Claire Wolfe on our sad state of affairs.

In part it’s because I see so many angry people putting so much hope in Trump — a man who, should he manage to buy his way into office (or tumble in by default after Hillary gets indicted) will betray them even worse than than the poltroons of 1994 betrayed We the Hopeful Fools.

But also because, horrible as the prospect of either President Trump or President Clinton the Second is, it’s a relief not to feel hope.

Or despair, for that matter. Horrible as the prospects are, it’s glorious to know how very little it really matters. For freedom. For anything that counts. Oh sure, either pretender to the throne has the potential to make a ghastly mess of things — up to and including World War III (unlikely, but someday somebody’s going to do it). Or building a wall to keep us all in. Or decreeing that all guns must Go Away Now, So There, I Have Spoken. More likely not much happens except the routine bad getting routinely worse. And millions ignoring whatever “the most important leader in the world” says, decrees, promises, etc.

And those poor hopeful fools losing hope. Been there. Done that. It hurts. It burns. It makes you want to go postal. (That was the state of mind I was in from about February 1995, when the betrayal became obvious, to late 1996 when I took my life back, laughed, sat down, and wrote 101 Things to do ‘Til the Revolution.)

Yeah, it hurts. But it hurts like growing up and learning that Santa didn’t really put those presents under the tree.

To be sure, while Cruz called out Senator Mitch McConnell for being the liar he is, I fully expect to see Trump rubbing shoulders with McConnell, Paul Ryan, and so on.  He will cut deals with them.  He said so.  Have you ever heard Trump attack McConnel, Ryan, Eric Cantor, or any of the other creeps that helped to get us here?  No, you’ve only heard him attack fellow candidates.

But unlike Claire, I never expected government to work right any more than I believe presents come from Santa Claus.  I’ve always treated my vote as a precious gift from God whether I effect change with it or not, a power over which I had stewardship and for which I will one day answer to the most high.  I have always voted based on principle rather than pragmatism, or at least I have tried to, and because of principle I am now out of the process until a third party develops that is true to my beliefs.

As for the voters, enjoy what you have created.  When you build you house on sand, don’t be surprised when the first heavy rain knocks it down.  I bid you farewell.  Oh, I’ll poke fun on occasion and remind you of your choices, and I’ll get a good chuckle out of all of this.  But I’m out of the political scene.  I won’t be voting for Donald Trump.  As for my mockery of the situation, I’ll see you over the transom.

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Comments

  1. On May 5, 2016 at 4:50 am, Steve Parker, M.D. said:

    Herschel, I don’t blame you, and I agree with much of what you outline above.

    I remember writing letters to my national representatives when I was a young man, telling them my thoughts on upcoming legislative issues. What a waste of time! Now you can email them or call and talk to staffers; your opinion goes into the same black hole. They’ll consider my opinion when I walk in with a large enough check or briefcase full of money. Which I will not do.

    i’m 61 now. The older I get, the more I accept that I’m not of this world. I belong elsewhere and will be there soon enough. Christians know what I mean. I’m concerned about the future for my children, but have to leave them in God’s hands.

    With the last Presidential election, I looked into the Constitution Party and found it attractive. It’s like a Libertarian party for Christians. But they’ve never gotten any traction, and won’t this year either.

    -Steve

  2. On May 5, 2016 at 12:28 pm, Archer said:

    +1 on the Constitutionalist (or Constitution) Party. I like the Libertarians on freedom, fiscal issues, and small government, but they’re a bit too socially liberal (or socially scattered and/or ambivalent) to hold much appeal to me. They’re fiscally conservative but socially and morally vague.

    The Constitution Party sounds great, but they won’t gain much ground. Not in today’s society.

  3. On May 5, 2016 at 6:52 am, Geoffry K said:

    Sometimes you have to go with the lesser of two evils.
    Unfortunately the last 7 years went with big evil.
    obama filled the bowl of America’s toilet full of liberal leftist crap, and if hillary gets elected her hand will be on the flush handle.
    And that will be the end of any resemblance of freedom.
    A dictatorship will be born.

  4. On May 5, 2016 at 7:49 am, gunga said:

    Geoffry, No. No-one ever has to go along with evil. Vote for evil if you want. Compromise if you want. Just don’t expect people with actual principles to follow suit. I find your argument in favor of slightly less excrement in the excrement sandwich you are being fed unpersuasive.

    Herschel, lots of us no longer have a party. It left us, we didn’t leave it.

  5. On May 5, 2016 at 5:19 pm, Warmongerel said:

    The “lesser of two evils” is otherwise known as compromise.

    I’ll pour a tall glass of Drano for you. I want you to drink all of it. You don’t want to drink any of it.

    We’ll compromise and you can drink only half of it.

    The lesser of two evils is still evil.

  6. On May 5, 2016 at 8:21 am, Ammono Cruose said:

    I would like to say I will miss your political posts, but I won’t. I, for one, am glad for the end of this type of discussion and eagerly await the excellent firearms related content that brought me to this blog in the first place.

  7. On May 5, 2016 at 10:17 am, firefirefire said:

    we are adrift on stormy seas with no rudder headed for the rocky shoals.

  8. On May 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm, Fred said:

    Warning: Trump is a leftist nationalist authoritarian. No I did not have a mind melt and mean to type Clinton. She is a leftist socialist authoritarian. Nationalists want to harm “them”. Socialists want to harm everybody but “them”. So, either way…

    Prepare, sooner or later you will be the “them”.

  9. On May 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm, Archer said:

    That’s pretty much what I’ve been saying about Trump. He’s no conservative — he’s every bit the lying leftist totalitarian that Hillary is, PLUS every bit the smartest-man-in-the-room narcissist Obama is, all rolled into one obnoxious package.

    I understand he appeals to many with his “populist” message. What his supporters refuse to see is that the “populist” message needs an “us” to cheer for and a “them” to condemn, and when his message changes — as it does, depending on his desired audience — the definitions of “us” and “them” change with it. The overall takeaway is threefold:
    1. Donald Trump disapproves of (read: hates) everyone who’s not Donald Trump.
    2. He’s not shy about marginalizing or “Othering” anyone (or everyone) if it’s politically expedient to do so. It’s always about “us” vs. “them”.
    3. Once you’re counted with “them”, you will forever be one of “them”, even when he starts pandering to you again. Eventually, “them” will mean “everyone who’s not Donald Trump” (see point #1), and he will still expect you to support him against the rest of “them” (who he will expect to support him against you).

    Prepare. It’s all we can do at this point.

  10. On May 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Bobby Jindal said it well, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/434937/lets-unite-help-hothead-get-his-fingers-nuclear-codes

    Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. He’s a narcissist. He’s an egomaniac. The only thing he believes in is himself… Everybody knows this is true. This shouldn’t be new. The idea of the Donald Trump act is great. The reality of Donald Trump, however, is absurd. He’s non-serious. He’s a carnival act. Here’s the truth about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is shallow. He has no understanding of policy. He is full of bluster. He has no substance. He lacks the intellectual curiosity to even learn. You can’t argue policy with this guy. The only thing that Donald Trump believes in is himself. Look, he tells us that his healthcare plan’s going to be fabulous. He tells us his tax plan will be really, really terrific. He is shallow, there is no substance. He doesn’t know anything about policy. He has no idea what he’s talking about. He makes it up on the fly. He doesn’t believe in limited government. He has told us that. Over and over from his belief in socialized medicine to his desire for tax increases. He has told us over and over that he’s got no problem with big, top-down style government. The only government he’s got with D.C. today, he has no problem with big top-down style government. His only problem is he’s not the one running it today. Donald Trump’s not against big government, he’s just against the folks that happen to be running it. Donald Trump is for Donald Trump. He believes in nothing other than himself. Look, he’s not a liberal, he’s not a moderate, he’s not a conservative. He’s not a Democrat, he’s not a Republican, he’s not an independent. Donald Trump is for Donald Trump. He’s not for anything, he’s not against anything. Issues don’t mean anything to him. Policies, ideals, they’re not important to him, he is for Donald. Donald Trump is a narcissist and he’s an egomaniac. Donald Trump is dangerous, but not in the way you think. The reality is we have an incredible opportunity to turn our country around and the question for conservatives is this: are we going to rely and trust proven conservative principles or are we going to turn to a man who believes in nothing but himself? And that is the most essential question we’ve got to answer right now. Are we going to miss this great opportunity? Are we going to apply conservative principles, or do we trust a man who believes in nothing but himself? That’s what makes Donald Trump so dangerous. Many people think he’s dangerous, they say, “Well, you wouldn’t want somebody like that with such a hot head with his fingers on the nuclear codes.” And yeah, that’s certainly true. That’s not the real danger. The real danger is that ironically Donald Trump could destroy America’s chance to be great again.

    And then like a GOP politician, he recently said that since Trump would be the nominee, he would vote for him anyway. I honestly don’t know what’s worse. Donald Trump or the weasels in the GOPe. I wouldn’t trust the safety of my family to any of them. I wouldn’t even trust a dime to be laid on a table with these characters around.

  11. On May 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm, Archer said:

    The GOPe is turning into a slightly less offensive version of the Democrat party. Democrats for a long, long time could be counted on to vote Democrat, because no matter how much they might disagree, dislike, or disapprove of the Democrat candidates, they’d still vote Democrat because the other option was to vote for a *shudder* Republican.

    That is what the GOPe is turning into. They’ll vote for an unprincipled, unscrupulous, amoral, atheist, loud-mouthed windbag who is just as far left as Hillary, just as socialist as Bernie, and just as full-of-himself as Obama, for no other reason than that he has an ‘R’ after his name.

    I’d say that I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, but that’s being too generous. Dime on the table? They can’t be trusted with a wooden nickel.

    Principled conservatism still exists, but you won’t find it in the GOPe, and the GOPe will fight tooth and nail to keep it from the levers of power, even if that means electing President Hillary Clinton.

    The GOP is gone — they just haven’t realized it yet; likely they never will — and the transition will be … messy.

  12. On May 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm, Fred said:

    “…just as far left as Hillary, just as socialist as Bernie, and just as full-of-himself as Obama…”

    Yep.

  13. On May 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm, Big Boss said:

    Amazing article. Keep a seat dry for me in the lifeboat.

  14. On May 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm, Frank Clarke said:

    It may be the triumph of hope over experience, but I will continue to vote LP — the best of those unlikely to be elected — in the possibly vain hope that enough people will see their vote as an investment that will take time to mature. Until we invest one of those unelectable third parties with enough clout that the FEC cannot — without losing its remaining credibility — exclude them from the next round of Presidential debates, nothing will change. We will hear only the opinions of TweedleDee and TweedleDum (who say almost exactly the same thing or lie about it), and any alternative voices will be silenced.

    I have heard it said that most Americans are libertarians — ready to adopt “MYOB” as official policy — but they don’t yet know it. They don’t know it because they never hear libertarian/constitutionalist voices on the Presidential debate stage (except for Ron Paul who got torpedoed by the GOPe). Maybe it’s time to fix that problem.

    I know that many here consider abortion to be their touchstone issue. Let me urge such folk to consider that the GOP has not delivered what you most dearly want, and they are unlikely to do so this cycle, either. Perhaps now is the time to bid for that half-loaf: the LP is institutionally committed to defunding abortion at the federal level. True, it’s not everything you want, but it’s moving in that direction. The LP has never been able to get a consensus on ending abortion itself, and probably never will, but if they defund federally, you get to fight your battle at a much more local level.

    You didn’t bite that bullet in 2012 when it would have meant something. You didn’t bite that bullet in 2008 when it would have meant something. You didn’t bite that bullet in 2004 when it would have meant something. You didn’t bite that bullet in 2000 when it would have meant something. Now your vote means nothing. Why waste it on the Republicans?

  15. On May 5, 2016 at 5:13 pm, Warmongerel said:

    I’m certainly going to vote. I’ll go to the polls just to write “Ted Cruz” in for every open position from dog-catcher to President.

  16. On May 6, 2016 at 7:54 am, dad29 said:

    Captain, I’ve argued (without a lengthy supporting essay) that since “culture” inevitably follows “cult” and since the “cult” in this country has (by and large) walked away from the 1st Commandment–and subsequently all the others, to one degree or another–that we are getting exactly what we deserve.

    You and I may argue over exactly when this began. We’ll both agree that it really began in the Garden of Eden. I’ll contend that it started in this country when the Progressives gained serious purchase–about 1900 or so.

    I’ll be happy to be proven wrong; but I doubt that will happen in my lifetime. I PRAY that it will be reversed during the lifetimes of my children, and theirs.

  17. On May 27, 2016 at 1:38 pm, cc said:

    What dribble

  18. On May 30, 2016 at 11:02 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    How cute! Dribble. First definition, bounding a ball. Second definition, slowly.

    You meant drivel. But since your comment amuses me, I’ll leave it up so that it embarrasses you.

    In the mean time, if you need to learn more about thinking, I would suggest reading Gordon H. Clark, Greg Bahnsen or Alvin Plantinga.

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You are currently reading "Bidding Farewell To Politics", entry #15147 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Featured,Politics and was published May 4th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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