The Downfall of Conservatism, Inc. | Human Events

How Donald J. Trump made me rethink my Republican heroes.

The Downfall of Conservatism, Inc.

September 11, 2001 changed a lot of things for a lot of people. I’m no exception.Up until that monumental event I was only marginally political; I read the news, but hadn’t yet formed any sort of cohesive ideology. If anything, I was a fairly typical college student in the South, raised to respect tradition.

A decade and a half after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, another monumental event would soon rattle my worldview and drastically alter my political trajectory.

And then the planes hit the towers, and my obsession with politics began.

Watching such carnage must have made me instinctively hawkish. I instantly gravitated toward conservatives like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Every morning began, without exception, with a visit to the Drudge Report.

Of course, it’s only healthy to seek dissenting opinions, and my liberal state-college education ensured I remained exposed to political arguments from both sides. But no matter the issue, I veered right time and time again.

And over time, I naturally came to admire many of the icons of modern conservatism. I read National Review and The Weekly Standard, the essays of Ayn Rand, and countless history books. My growing familiarity with the conservative “intelligentsia” exposed me to the political points view ostracized by overwhelmingly liberal professors during graduate school.

Satisfied with my ideological home, the Bill Kristols and Jonah Goldbergs of the world became my heroes—I would have gladly taken a bullet for Mitt Romney.

But a decade and a half after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, another monumental event would soon rattle my worldview and drastically alter my political trajectory.

I’m speaking, of course, of the election of Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley at the 2016 Second Democratic Debate.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley at the Second Democratic Debate in 2016.

AT FIRST, SKEPTICISM

I wasn’t always a believer. I criticized his candidacy anywhere and everywhere: in bars, on Facebook, even some of my early columns. After all, he was openly and flagrantly mocking men like John McCain—men I had I long since come to admire.

I wasn’t a Democrat for a reason, and ours was not the party of corruption. If [Trump] won the candidacy, my party had spoken, and that’s who I’d be casting my ballot for.

Looking back, my logic made sense. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) sidelined Bernie Sanders’s campaign, corruptly crowning Hillary Clinton as their nominee. It was more than the fact that my loyalty lay with my heroes within the conservative establishment. It’s that this newcomer—who spent years as a Democrat—had no business stealing the spotlight from candidates who I thought stood a chance to win against the dynastic power of Hillary Clinton.

As Donald J. Trump emerged as a viable contender for the Republican nomination, I realized a man I had, on principle, cultivated a loathing for might actually win and serve as the spokesperson for my principles on the national stage. I’ll be honest: the thought of it made me a little sick.

But I wasn’t a Democrat for a reason, and ours was not the party of corruption. If he won the candidacy, my party had spoken, and that’s who I’d be casting my ballot for.

Sadly, my establishment heroes saw things differently. They began doing their best to copy the tactics and lies of the DNC. Of course, they couldn’t do it officially or on behalf of the Republican Party, but they didn’t have to. The loyalties they had cultivated in Americans like me gave them enough power to sabotage Donald Trump’s campaign.

Or so they thought.

Evan McMullin.

Evan McMullin.

LOSING FAITH IN THE ESTABLISHMENT

The establishment conservative leadership began to openly lend their support to candidates like Evan McMullin, a clown with a penchant for retweeting far-left celebrities. Even worse, conservative stalwarts like Colin Powell pledged their support for Hillary Clinton.

Instead of accepting their defeat in humility and taking the opportunity to reflect on how they had failed their constituents, establishment conservatives, launched an all out insurgency.

Hillary Clinton! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Meanwhile, here was Donald Trump, who was not only not a member of the Washington conservative elite, he thumbed his nose at them. His campaign was a functional criticism of establishment conservatives—the same conservatives who had spent the past two decades advocating for disastrous policies such as the Iraq War.

And as his popularity among everyday Americans rose, he began to dethrone these kingmakers, publicly mocking them over their powerlessness. Subscriptions to their newsletters and publications suffered—the Weekly Standard folded less than two years after Trump’s inauguration—as did the hold establishment conservatives had on their base.

Donald Trump would eventually win the presidency. And instead of accepting their defeat in humility and taking the opportunity to reflect on how they had failed their constituents, establishment conservatives launched an all-out insurgency.

Jennifer Rubin on Meet The Press.

Jennifer Rubin on Meet The Press.

DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN—ELITES FLOCK TOGETHER

Suddenly, the icons of modern American conservatism sought refuge within the very elitist bubble they used to criticize.

The cowardice and desperation of my so-called heroes has been more than concerning—it’s been an utter betrayal.

Unable to tolerate being associated with President Trump and popular nationalism, they fled institutions of conservative thought like Fox News. The Democratic media, all too happy to receive them, made room for them on countless cable news panels on opposition outlets such as CNN and MSNBC. Longtime enemies found armistice and unity in a common objective: subverting President Trump and the threat he posed to their continued relevance.

Of course, establishment conservatives had to make ideological compromises for the sake of their new alliances. Policies they once heralded, at least intellectually, became part of President Trump’s populist platform. Policing the border and cutting taxes became Trumpist—not conservative—policies, and symbolized authoritarian overreach.

Nobody was talking about the successes of President Trump’s presidency: from a gangbusters economy to judicial appointments to wiping out ISIS, Number 45 was getting the job done.

No, it was all Orange Man bad. And elites from both sides were happy to tell you just how bad he was.

It was this unholy union that promulgated what will no doubt be remembered as one of the most corrupt schemes in the history of American politics: the Russian collusion hoax.

Conservative writers that I once greatly admired—writers like Steve HayesJohn Podhoretz, and Jennifer Rubin—have been all too happy to flood the airwaves with endless conspiracy theories about so-called collusion between President Trump and Russian hackers.

The cowardice and desperation of my so-called heroes has been more than concerning—it’s been an utter betrayal.

Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin.

THE ROT THAT WROUGHT THE COLLUSION HOAX

What had happened to my heroes?

I understand their objection to Trump’s style—three years ago, I myself was put off by it—but style is nothing when measured against substance. Here was a president advancing their agenda—our agenda—didn’t that mean something?

Establishment conservatives were tokens, allowing liberal elites to pretend they were objective when they were fully intent on transforming American society.

At first, I attributed their open mutiny to pride. Pride is human, and prideful men often make for sore losers.

But now, after ample time to recover from their humiliation, the persistent whining from establishment conservatives has exposed a very ugly truth about our former “leaders.” The George Wills and Tom Nichols of the world were always more interested in self-promotion than advancing conservatism.

Before President Trump’s explosive entrance onto the political scene, mainstream conservatism was somewhat tolerated by gatekeepers in the media, academia, and the arts. My heroes were nuisances to America’s increasingly liberal institutions, sure, but no real threat to the progressively progressive status quo. Establishment conservatives were tokens, allowing liberal elites to pretend they were objective when they were fully intent on transforming American society.

But Donald J. Trump was a different animal altogether, one who refused to kowtow to the cultural norms of American political theater. His frank and straightforward style was intolerable to liberal puppet masters who had spent decades corralling Republicans and forcing them to play nice.

Establishment Republicans have built entire careers out of playing nice. And it shows.

The threat of banishment from cocktail parties and university lectures—over Donald Trump of all people—has been enough to force much of the right’s pundit class to toss aside their ideals to preserve mainstream acceptance.

Three years later, it’s this cadre of tamed conservatives who are lending their efforts to the left’s never-ending coup against the President.

David French.

David French.

FALLEN HEROES

The Democrats may have finally grown the spine necessary to begin acting on the impeachment they’ve threatened for months.

And their “conservative” accomplices have finally shed what remained of theirs.

No “conservative” in their right mind would cede one centimeter of power to the current Democratic Party.

There are rumors that Romney is seeking to rally Senate Republicans on impeachment. And David French and company continue to lambaste President Trump’s every action—the guy can’t even brush his teeth without being accused of desecrating America’s most treasured norms and institutions.

It’s exhausting, and their motives are painfully obvious.

No “conservative” in their right mind would cede one centimeter of power to the current Democratic Party. There is simply no moral comparison between them and the President—they’ve made it perfectly clear they have no intention of being civil. Perhaps the most extreme political entity in the history of the country, today’s left is proudly socialist, openly hostile to the freedoms granted by the Constitution, devoid of any respect for the miracle of life, and an open threat to our safety and stability.

During my two-decades of political education and civic life, if I’ve learned anything it’s that principles—not personalities—should define your political identity.

If it takes a little coarse language and off-color jokes to secure the future of the Republic and stave off the threats posed by an increasingly radical American left—so be it.

 

Source: The Downfall of Conservatism, Inc. | Human Events

Charles Stanley – Guided by Conscience

 

Romans 2:14-16

Human beings are born with a marvelous gift from God—a conscience. Since its warnings can cause discomfort, you perhaps have never thought of it as a blessing. But the Lord had our benefit and protection in mind when He created this internal witness to our moral conduct. By listening to its promptings, we are guarded from making choices that could hurt us or others.

But can you rely on your conscience to offer guidance about all decisions?  God made the conscience to act as an alarm system to warn and protect us from sin. However, many of our choices are not moral issues, so we need an even more reliable source for direction.

That’s why the Lord has provided believers with the Holy Spirit, who accurately leads us in any kind of decision we must make. He not only works through the conscience to make us aware of sin, but He also helps us choose between good and best. As we listen to His voice and heed His warnings, He purifies and sharpens our conscience so that it aligns more precisely with the Word and will of God.

One problem is that the conscience has the capacity to be shaped by our responses. When we repeatedly reject or ignore its promptings, we can damage its dependability, and then sins that should bother us might not even register. But heeding its warnings make it sharper and more sensitive, protecting us even more effectively. Knowing this, let’s ask for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment so we will heed the promptings of our conscience.

Bible in One Year: John 10-11

 

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Our Daily Bread — No Longer Afraid

 

Bible in a Year:

They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.

Zephaniah 3:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Zephaniah 3:9–17

When the Ethiopian police found her a week after her abduction, three black-maned lions surrounded her, guarding her as though she were their own. Seven men had kidnapped the twelve-year-old girl, carried her into the woods and beaten her. Miraculously, however, a small pride of lions heard the girl’s cries, came running and chased off the attackers. “[The lions] stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” police Sergeant Wondimu told one reporter.

There are days when violence and evil, like that inflicted on this young girl, overpower us, leaving us without hope and terrified. In ancient times, the people of Judah experienced this. They were overrun by ferocious armies and unable to imagine any possibility of escape. Fear consumed them. However, God always renewed His unrelenting presence with His people: “The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm” (Zephaniah 3:15). Even when our catastrophes result from our own rebellion, God still comes to our rescue. “The Lord your God is with you,” we hear, “the Mighty Warrior who saves” (v. 17).

Whatever troubles overtake us, whatever evils, Jesus—the Lion of Judah—is with us (Revelation 5:5). No matter how alone we feel, our strong Savior is with us. No matter what fears ravage us, our God assures us that He is by our side.

By: Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What is your greatest fear right now? How does God’s promise to be with you encourage you?

Mighty Warrior God, I need You. I need a Mighty Warrior to stand with me and overwhelm my fears. I’m choosing to trust You.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Collaborative Creativity

 

They gathered every Thursday around nine in the evening with pipes and pints in hand. At any given meeting there was likely to have been at least one historian, a philosopher, a physician, several poets, and a number of professors. The Inklings, as they called themselves, were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of good narrative and gathered to encourage, challenge, and better one another in their various attempts at creating it. Out of these spirited meetings, in which it is said that “praise for good work was unstinted, but censure for bad work, or even not-so-good work, was often brutally frank,” there arose the final drafts of The Lord of the Rings, Out of the Silent Planet, All Hallows’ Eve, and The Great Divorce to name a few.(1)

Contrary to the many critics who insist these writers had little influence on one another (the Inklings’ themselves said of Tolkien that it was easier to influence a “bandersnatch” than the creator of Middle Earth), Diane Pavlac Glyer avers they would not have been the same writers had they not written within the community of the Inklings. “[E]ach author’s work is embedded in the work of others,” writes Gyler, “and each author’s life is intertwined with the lives of others.”(2) Influence, after all, is far from imitation. While it is true that these authors came to their meetings with determined ideas, their reflective and challenging interactions sharpened thoughts, minds, and lives. J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams, as well as C.S. Lewis, would likely have imagined far different worlds had they not participated in the regular reading and criticism of their works in progress.

 

This idea of communal creativity is one I resonant with from my own experience of thinking and writing. Even my most original thoughts or imaginative creations are indelibly shaped by a lifetime of encounters with artists, theologians, family, and community. We do not interpret the world alone nor do we live without influencing one another profoundly. In this sense, we might say that creativity in all its forms—even in the simplest acts of living and acting—is inherently an interactive process. What J.R.R. Tolkien notes on the lips of Frodo can indeed be said of our own interacting stories. Peering at the large red book in which Bilbo started to tell the story and Frodo then continued, Sam looks down in wonder, “Why, you have nearly finished it, Mr. Frodo!” he exclaims.

“I have quite finished, Sam,” answers Frodo. “The last pages are for you.”(3)

When the New Testament writers began to speak of creation through the light of all they saw in Jesus Christ, they affirmed the Old Testament understanding of total dependence upon the maker of heaven earth, but they spoke also of Christ’s presence as the Word at the beginning. Likewise, the early church began to see the role and presence of the Spirit in God’s creative work. Creation, they came to understand, and all we see within it, is the work of God in community. All of creation declares the glory of God, the work of the loving interaction between Father, Son, and Spirit—the very first creative community.

As a Christian, I believe this ultimate image of creative collaboration is one that explains our longing for community and connection, our desire to create and work. We are creatures and co-creators alike. The creative collaboration of the Trinity throughout time and creation invites the notion that God has made us for community and relationship, that our stories come together as if a great book with room for more, and that the grace of a good storyteller is working to make the work inherently beautiful. As the Father has invited us to participate in his good work of creation, so Christ has called us to join him in the community of the kingdom among us, each of us works in progress by the Spirit.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) W.H. Lewis, “C.S. Lewis: A Biography” (Unpublished Manuscript, 268-269); Wade Collection, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.
(2) Diana Pavlac Gyler, The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2007).
(3) J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 1027.

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Joyce Meyer – It Doesn’t Take Much

 

…you shall love your neighbor as yourself…. — Leviticus 19:18

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

One of the many reasons I love God’s Word is that it is full of little things we can do to bless, encourage, and strengthen one another—things that don’t take much time or cost much money. Here are some of the acts of kindness the Bible says we can and should do for one another:

  • Watch over one another
  • Pray for one another
  • Look for kindnesses we can express to others
  • Be friendly and hospitable
  • Be patient with one another
  • Bear with others’ faults and weaknesses
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt
  • Encourage one another
  • Be loyal to one another
  • Be happy for people when they are blessed
  • Keep people’s secrets and don’t tell their faults
  • Believe the best of one another

The ideas listed here are relatively simple things we all can do if we are willing. We don’t have to make special plans for most of them, but can do them throughout the day as we have opportunities.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to truly love other people today—with my thoughts, attitudes and actions. allow others to see Your love and kindness through me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Prayer Has Great Power

 

“Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16).

“I can take my telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space,” said the great scientist Sir Issac Newton , “but I can lay it aside and go into my room, shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, and see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can assisted by all the telescopes and material agencies on earth.”

Among many other things, the carnal Christian is characterized by a poor prayer life. The spiritual Christian, on the other hand, is characterized by an effective fruitful prayer life.

Prayer is simply communicating with God by listening as well as talking. The acrostic ACTS is helpful in recalling the various components of effective prayer, though the order is not necessarily rigid.

“A” is for adoration – worship of God, first for who He is; and second for all of His benefits. He alone is worthy of our adoration and praise.

“C” stands for confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Sometimes this component should take priority, especially for the unbeliever and the disobedient believer, because God does not hear the prayers of the disobedient until they confess. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18, KJV).

“T” is for thanksgiving – gratitude to God for His blessings.

“S” represents supplication – expressing our petitions to God for individuals and specific things and events.

Bible Reading: James 5:13-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will claim great power and wonderful results for supernatural living by a righteous life and by giving priority to prayer. I will remember to bring my adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to God throughout the day

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Max Lucado -A Portable Prayer

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Some people excel in prayer.  They are the SEAL Team Six of intercession.  They’d rather pray than sleep.  Why is it I sleep when I pray?

It’s not that we don’t pray at all.  We all pray some.  Surveys indicate one in five unbelievers prays daily.  Just in case, perhaps?  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them a prayer.  A quotable, repeatable, portable prayer.  Could you use the same?

Father, You are good.  I need help.  Heal me and forgive me. They need help.  Thank you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here’s my challenge for you!  Every day for four weeks, pray four minutes.  Then get ready to connect with God like never before!

Read more Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

 

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Denison Forum – Why Matthew McConaughey made headlines: ‘Golden Rule 2020’ and the power of kindness

Matthew McConaughey made headlines recently, but not for a new movie or television commercial. He joined other volunteers last Friday in preparing eight hundred turkey dinners for firefighters in Los Angeles battling wildfires. His team prepared an additional eight hundred dinners for local homeless shelters.

Our culture will remember McConaughey for his Academy Award-winning acting career. These firefighters will remember him for his kindness.

“Three things that are important in life”

Frederick Buechner: “When Henry James, of all people, was saying goodbye once to his young nephew Billy, his brother William’s son, he said something that the boy never forgot. And of all the labyrinthine and impenetrably subtle things that that most labyrinthine and impenetrable old romancer could have said, what he did say was this: ‘There are three things that are important in human life. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.’”

Nancy Pelosi would agree. While I disagree strongly with the self-described “left-wing San Francisco liberal” on a wide range of issues, I agree with the advice she gave political candidates recently: “Show [voters] what’s in your heart, your hopes and dreams. It’s not about you. It’s about them.”

Now let’s hear from the opposite side of the spectrum.

Victor Davis Hanson is the author of The Case for Trump and a well-known conservative commentator. Responding to the “culture wars” of our day, he notes that “almost every cultural institution—universities, the public schools, the NFL, the Oscars, the Tonys, the Grammys, late-night television, public restaurants, coffee shops, movies, TV, stand-up comedy—has been not just politicized but also weaponized.”

In the most polarized and politicized culture of my lifetime, Henry James’ advice is more urgent than ever.

How to be “sons of your Father who is in heaven”

On one hand, it is obviously urgent that Christians speak up and stand up for truth today. It’s difficult to identify an issue on which our culture is not moving further from biblical morality by the day.

On the other hand, it is urgent that Christians speak up and stand up for truth in a way that leads people to the Truth.

Jesus taught us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The second imperative amplifies and applies the first. It is hard to hate someone for whom we are praying. The more we pray for them, the more we come to love them. And the more we love them, the more we will pray for them.

Our Lord then explained why such kindness is so important: “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (v. 45). Just as a father loves his children whether they love him or not, so we must love each other whether they love us or not.

It’s easy to love those who love us: Jesus asks, “Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (v. 46). And when you “greet only your brothers,” Jesus asks, “What more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (v. 47).

But when we love those who do not love us, we stand out in a way people cannot forget.

Let’s join “Golden Rule 2020”

Yesterday marked exactly one year before the next presidential election. In that light, a campaign that began Sunday is especially significant.

The movement is known as “Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics.” Its organizer explained that the goal is “to remind Christians that our faith has something to say about how we talk to each other and that these insights are relevant to our political discussions—particularly in difficult times like these.”

The campaign is supported by a remarkable coalition, including the National Association of Evangelicals, the Episcopal Church, a department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Presbyterian Church USA. It encourages Christians to “pray for God’s help in healing our country” and to “promote the use of the Golden Rule in political discussions and election activities throughout the 2020 campaign season.”

As a result, “there will be a focus on the practical application of the Golden Rule and how politics in 2020 could be different if Christians practice Biblical teachings about how to treat people who disagree with them.”

Let’s join Golden Rule 2020 today, to the good of our country and the glory of God.

The truest test of character

It has been said that the truest test of character is how we treat people we don’t have to treat well.

When people hurt us, our society tells us we have the right to hurt them in return. Jesus says we have the privilege of loving them by praying for them. When Christians decide that Christ is right and culture is wrong, the culture is drawn to Christ.

Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How will you make people feel today?

 

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