Monday, July 16, 2018

What If I am Wrong?

by Barry Lee Clark

I began blogging in 2002, occasionally I look back at some of the topics and subjects and realize I have been absolutely wrong on some matters.  These generally relate to specific policy matters or predictions where some policy may or may not have gone. This is to be expected.   If I were correct on every geopolitical issue I have ever blogged about, there were many, I would be highly paid and on CNN, Fox etc. each night.

Through all of my writing, when I re-read,  I see foundational principles, some have matured and evolved, but they exist as tangible artifacts.  The trouble I find within myself is that the world around me has also evolved and changed - at a rapid pace and for the most part opposite of the principles I have come to believe.  Today, as a thought exercise, I wondered to myself if I am wrong?

Could it be that the progressive, humanist path that the world around me is leaning toward is correct? Does the fact that the majority seem to be on a particular trajectory validate their perspective?  Sometimes, in the quiet moments, one wonders - just for a moment.  Then common-sense prevails.

The center is more left-leaning than ever before, what were once crazed liberal notions are generally accepted by a majority of Americans. The far left is rabid, extreme and frankly frightening in their mob-like mentality.   It is not a far stretch to imagine guillotines in some version of the future if that crowd continues its path.

The intellectual core of the old right has been relegated to obscurity, ignored by the ordinary conservative man as ineffective and vilified by the extreme left as "educated racist" and curmudgeons.  The problem is, these men (the educated paleoconservatives), in my mind and understanding, were and are right.  In all of my reading and dialogue with them, I have never detected racism. But alas, that does not matter.  That word is a powerful tool of the thought police on the left. It tends to silence the voice of those it is applied to.

The first politician I supported after college was Patrick J. Buchanan.  His culture war speech in 1992 was for me a clarion call of understanding and enlightenment. Of course, as John Seiler contends, the Republican party never fought the cultural war that Pat mentioned was already underway.

I spent the 1990's primarily concerned with making a living as a young man and starting a family.  I listened to Rush Limbaugh during that period but by the early 2000's and a tour in Iraq, I had grown tired of partisan politics and our team versus theirs non-sense.

I became attracted again to ideas of history and political science from my days at The Citadel.  I still have fond memories of Capt. John Coussons USN (Ret) and his wonderful lectures.  It was from this foundation I abandoned the dribble of partisan politics and talk radio and found new compatriots.

I rediscovered Pat Buchanan's writing on various sites and through those sites, I discovered men like Dr. Clyde N. Wilson.  I was a big supporter and follower of the League of the South in its early days.  I was attracted to the notion that a way to save the nation was to recognize that the US was still made up of very different people groups.  The South was still the heart of the last vestiges of true conservatism.   The League of the South in the early days proposed revitalization of states' rights and nullification as means to protect the minority of Christian conservatives in the South from the growing and tyrannical majority elsewhere.

In 2002, I began blogging.  I found like-minded other bloggers, we even formed a blog Alliance called the Rebel Alliance.  We blogged about history, conservatism and ways to save the South from the cultural war we had been losing since before Buchanan's speech in 1992.  I ran my first website for a couple years, called The Southern Nationalist. It as not my best work, there were errors, but fundamentally and principally as I look back at that archive I stand by it.

I meet a fellow named Cory Burnell who had an "outrageous" plan to help move Christians from their minority communities in other parts of the US to South Carolina, the group was called Christian Exodus.  I agreed with the concept.   Consolidating voting power in an already conservative state and then applying states' rights principles seemed a good plan.  In principle, I stand by my support of this idea.

Christian Exodus was doomed from the start.  The media had a field day with this, a bunch of crazy Christians planning to move to concentrate their votes.  I was heavily involved and spoke often with Cory electronically and digitally.  He was never what he was portrayed to be.  Dogmatically he represented the sort of Mere Christianity, I believe in.  He was no crazy-man and certainly not a cult leader.  However, the media reaction was to be expected.

What I did not expect was the reaction from conservative Christians in South Carolina.  These ranged from, "we should be in the world but not part of it" to a "toe the Republican party line" of partisan politics as usual.

I started another web project during my dealings with Christian Exodus, The American Secessionist Project. That work began with the principle that all people, in all times and places should have the right to determine their own form of government and that secession was a legitimate means to achieve that.   I had the chance to dialogue with people managing secession movements in Hawaii, California, Vermont, Texas, New Hampshire.  I met, Kirkpatrick Sale, a fascinating fellow, through this project.  He ran The Middlebury Institute.

In my work with the secessionist project I encountered, Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Dr. Thomas J. Woods Jr., Dr. Walter E. Block and Dr. Donald W. Livingston. The writing of these men inspired and informed me and reinforced principles that were becoming cemented.  We published the first twenty Secessionionist Papers on the site, these would become the nucleus of an eventual book, The Annotated Secessionist Papers, now in its second edition.

I stand by all of that.  Time has proven me (and Patrick J. Buchanan) right.  The culture war was never fought, but it was lost.  Centralization of power in the Federal Government has only increased and the tide has not only turned, it has likely washed away any hope of a return to the Americanism and America many of us grew up to believe in.

There was perhaps a moment, I suspect it was in early 2000, just after the abhorrent years of a Clinton administration and before the events of 9/11 that both solidified nationalism and fractured conservatives.  I missed that moment.  I was just waking up from the long sleep of the 1990's and my talk radio addiction.  I surmised this event later, reading what people had written, what they felt and what they believed.  I also began to witness the fracturing of the conservative movement, I did not fully understand all of the "why", that took time, but I witnessed it first hand.

First, there were the anti-war conservatives (paleos mostly and some libertarians), opposed to the neoconservatives that seemed to want to use 9/11 to reshape the world in the way WWII did.  Most ordinary conservative Americans were too caught up in the nationalist rush of emotions to listen to the principles of the paleos.  The Cindy Sheehans of the world, with their wild emotional ranting and action, did not help the cause.  Ordinary conservatives did not want to be associated with someone like that, so most tuned out the paleoconservatives.

(My personal views on the war in Iraq only changed once, during a deployment.  I did not really come to agree with what we were doing or to think it would make a positive difference but the atrocities of the other guys got my dander up.)

Second, and more subtly, there was disaffection within the paleoconservative movement itself.   Where once groups like the League of the South and others identified with something that the 12 Southerners would have embraced many began to realize the culture war was already lost and seek shelter.   Many on the left had labeled these groups racist since the start, but at some point in the early 2000's race did become a focus for some groups.

This happened to one of the fellows I used to write with. One of the members of the Rebel Alliance, my old blogging group left us one day.  I found him years later, still the same guy in principle, but now an Identity advocate convinced that all is lost and his efforts should focus on saving just white Southerners.

Many who were once supporters of paleoconservative principles just grew tired of losing, tired of overly educated people talking about principles while the world burned. They wanted results. Some turned to Identity politics, some gave up in the mid to late 2000s, others embraced neoconservatism. Many more went on to become the "deplorables". 

The result is much like the effect WWII had on the Old Right conservatives - paleoconservatism with its high ideals, principles and talk of political philosophers just fell out of favor and was replaced by more pedestrian and bellicose forms. The election of 2000 and the attacks of 9/11 were significant turning points.

We will never know the cost of a few hanging chads in Florida.  Perhaps the best thing that could have happened for our future would have been if the fruitcake Al Gore had won the 2000 election as opposed to the neoconservative Bush.   Perhaps Gore would have fumbled the 9/11 thing but it is hard to imagine more so that W.  Perhaps four or eight more years of socialist, progressive nonsense would have kept the paleo-right intact.   Perhaps there would have been a chance for principled change and a way to win the culture war and the war on liberty and good government. We will never know.

Instead.  We suffered through Bush and neoconservative wars that served no purpose.  We suffered through Obama and his ushering in moral atrocities we will likely never remove from the law now.

(I had hope in 2008 for Ron Paul, simply because he is such a principled man but he never had a chance)

All of this only served to divide the far right and the far left and isolate men that think, speak and act from sound principles from the debate.  It left the ordinary right and left to choose between a socialist and a populist while Antifa and the Alt-Right clash in the streets.  We are so very divided now, dangerously so.

Academia is lost.  I do not know where men like Wilson or Livingston will come from to teach a new generation.  I was so fortunate to sit in lectures by a man like John Coussons but I cannot imagine in the current state of liberal education someone like him could gain a professorship much less tenure.

Wikipedia, the go to source of knowledge for so many contains such bias and inaccuracies - it is filled with historical revisionist dribble. Those without proper educational and foundational knowledge will never know the truth about people, events and issues.

Social Media is controlled by corporations that at a whim decide who sees what.   The truth will never be found there.

The mainstream media is intolerable.  Fox is nothing but a partisan patsy and all of the others are 24/7 liberal propaganda outlets.  There is no news in the news any longer, no truth to be found there.

What if I were wrong all this time, thinking that my meager voice might help advance the cause of real dialogue?   Perhaps I was, I suspect I will never know if any of my past, present or future efforts have any effect.

I do know, I have not been wrong on principles.

  • Christian culture is worth preserving. 
  • Natural Law exists and there is a Creator that formed it.
  • Revisionist History should be opposed and corrected.  
  • Good Government is a government that governs the least and adheres to its own laws.  
  • Socialism in any form leads to evil.  
  • Progressivism coupled with humanism leads to evil.  
  • We do not always know more than the people that lived before us. 
  • History, family and culture are important. 
  • Might does not make right.
Those principles have been core to everything I have written since I began blogging and in those principles.

Ultimately, I have not been wrong.

I shall keep onkeeping on.  I blog primarily at The Calhoun Institute and

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