Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jim DeMint, Sandra Fluke and the War of Ideas

Our nation is at war.  No I am not referring to the perennial war on terror or the constant threats that Middle Eastern dictators pose to America.  Rather we are engrossed in a civil war--a war of ideas.  The most recent battle in this war was the 2012 elections, a loss which conservatives are still grieving.  But 2012 was just a battleground--it was not the war itself. 

Through the events of 2012, many of us conservatives have come to really understand just how much ground we have lost in the culture wars over the last 40 or 50 years. All serious conservatives now acknowledge that we have totally lost broadcast television media--mainstream media outlets openly protected the Administration's errors and missteps while crucifying conservative opponents for relatively small infractions.  We have lost the school systems which are educating an army of socialist, liberal young people who support drug legalization, gay marriage and redistribution of wealth.  These losses are reflected in polls that show an increasing support for socialism and big government across the U.S. and, of course, they are reflected in the elections themselves.

I think Time Magazine's short list for Person of the Year may best reflect the ways in which liberal socialism is taking over our society.  On the short list were E.L. James, author of the mega-best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, JayZ, and Sandra Fluke.  Assuming that Person of the Year acknowledges the individual who has made the greatest impact in the year, this is an astonishing list.  Using the criteria of accomplishment, James probably does deserve to be considered.  While I personally find it horrifying that society's morals have eroded to the extent that a series on sado-masochism can become an all-time bestseller, I also acknowledge that James accomplished something else that no one ever has.  She used modern technologies and social media to take an unknown book and make it into an international best seller.  Whether or not you agree with the specific content of her work, she has demonstrated an extraordinary understanding of how to market in the digital age, and in the rapidly changing world of publishing I can understand why the editors of Time would consider her.

Likewise, with Jon Stewart and JayZ, while I do not think that they have done anything worthy of the title of Person of the Year, I acknowledge that both men have demonstrated a high degree of personal success. Although I disagree with their actions and their politics, I also acknowledge that to rise to national fame in media and to influence a generation of voters takes a lot of discipline and commitment. 

That leaves Sandra Fluke.  What makes Sandra Fluke an interesting choice for Person of the Year is that she is the one person on the list with no accomplishments whatsoever.  She is famous only because Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" on his radio show.  Her sole achievement consists of being insulted nationally by a famous personality.  She is a law student in her thirties who supports big government and insists that she is entitled to free birth control.  There is nothing exceptional about her in any way, and yet everyone in America knows her name.

Perhaps Time Magazine's thinking is that Sandra Fluke is a composite for the single young women of America.  In a way she is.  Sandra Fluke and her sisterhood of single, liberal women who overwhelmingly supported President Obama's re-election last month are the spiritual daughters of Hillary Clinton, and like their "mother" these women believe that it takes a village to do everything--including, apparently, prevent pregnancy.  The "Life of Julia" is these women's playbook--they expect and demand cradle to grave care from a huge federal government who will stand in the place of the husbands they choose not to have.  They become enraged if anyone takes exception to being forced to bankroll their promiscuous lifestyles.  I am certainly not saying that none of these women will ever marry--most of them undoubtedly will.  However, they plan to continue to look to the government as their protector and provider throughout their lives, so the government needs to be big and strong and generous so that it can meet their needs and those of whatever children they have.  They are life-long victims of mean, hateful, judgmental people who call them names in public.  But they don't aspire to elevate their status in the world; they just want to silence the voices criticizing them. For these women, conservatism is a foreign language they do not wish to learn; the ideas are hollow and offensive.

By even giving Sandra Fluke honorable mention as a contender for Person of the Year, Time Magazine is acknowledging that these women are the new future of our country.  They are also playing into the liberal, socialist mindset that accomplishment and achievement don't matter.  Hard work does not matter; success does not matter.  A person who has done nothing except demand government handouts and fend off insults is as worthy of recognition as the one who has worked hard and achieved something notable. 

In the face of this new mindset, where work and achievement are denigrated, where unaccomplished people demanding a free ride are celebrated, and where promiscuity and irresponsibility are rewarded, how do conservatives restore the voice of reason?  As I mentioned last week, liberals understand human nature much better than conservatives, and so they have done much better in this war of ideas than we have.  But as I also mentioned, conservatives have a much better grasp on reality than liberals, and we know that liberal ideas do not work over the long haul.  That is our strength--and our weakness.

With this in mind, I was initially very sad today to learn that SC Senator Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate and going to work as the head of the Heritage Foundation.  It was DeMint who blocked the ill-conceived and dangerous LOST Treaty from being ratified this summer; it was DeMint who virtually single-handedly prevented the unionization of the TSA.  DeMint has consistently stood for conservative principles--sometimes completely alone--and he has accomplished remarkable things in an often hostile environment. called him the most conservative member of the Senate--a title I think he deserves. When I heard the news, therefore, I thought, with a lot of sadness, that we are losing a strong, consistent advocate for freedom in the Senate.  But when I read DeMint's statement about why he is leaving now, I was heartened.  He wrote that his intention has always been to be a citizen legislator--never a career politician.  And then he added this:
"I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight. I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”
He went on to say:
"This is an urgent time because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections...We want to figure out what works at the local and state level."

As I have thought about DeMint's statement today and how the Senate will look without him, I have realized that we now have other strong true conservative voices in the Senate--Senator Mike Lee of Utah, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and incoming Texas Senator Ted Cruz.  Each of these men understands that freedom is essential, that U.S sovereignty is not negotiable and that we must stand up for the Constitution of the U.S.  Perhaps DeMint knows that the Senate now has the principled, strong conservatives it needs in order to stand in the gap for our country in the short term.  He also seems to know that the real war is not in the Senate--it is in the minds of Americans who read Time Magazine and watch broadcast news and are influenced more by celebrities than think tanks.  The true war is in the thinking of the millions of women like Sandra Fluke who rejoiced at Obama's election as a victory for their futures, and in the thinking of Americans of all colors who routinely vote Democrat out of a sense that the Democrat party looks after the "little people" while the Republicans only look out for their own rich friends. If we cannot clearly communicate conservative ideas in a way that all Americans can understand, soon we will not able to elect enough people committed to the Constitution to any branches of our government to preserve our way of life, and then we will lose the country completely.  If we don't win the war of ideas, in a short time none of the other battles will even matter.

Welcome to the fight, Senator DeMint.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me A Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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