Recently, I put up a post that introduced the premise that the issues we face as we seek to further a conservative movement are structural. Purely from the standpoint of a “function of the Constitution” perspective, that is true. The evisceration of the Tenth Amendment via ratification of the Seventeenth is an impediment to the correct functioning of the federalist state as devised at our nation’s founding. It is analogous to buying a Bugatti Veyron, then removing two spark plugs and expecting that the car will still function as the supercar it was designed to be.
Putting aside the stale “state’s rights” argument for a moment (we will get to that later), there are two aspects of this situation that we must investigate. Some are saying that conservatives (via our current delivery vehicle, the Republican Party) are victims of shifting demographics, Greg Sargent at the Washington Post thinks so – but then Sargent is cheering for a permanent Democrat majority, so keep that in mind as you read:
Peter Beinart, reflecting on the spectacular electoral success of Obama’s bet on America’s changing demographics, makes a bold prediction:
Four years ago, it looked possible that Barack Obama’s election heralded a new era of Democratic dominance. Now it looks almost certain….the face of America changed, and only one party changed with it….From the beginning, Obama has said he wants to be a transformational figure, a president who reshapes American politics for decades, another Reagan or FDR. He may just have achieved that Tuesday night.
Along these lines, Pew Research has released its analysis of the the exit poll numbers. It is striking:
Nationally, nonwhite voters made up 28% of all voters, up from 26% in 2008. Obama won 80% of these voters, the same as four years ago.
Obama’s support from nonwhites was a critical factor in battleground states, especially Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, blacks were 15% of the electorate, up from 11% in 2008. In Florida, Hispanics were 17% of the electorate, a slight increase from 14% in 2008. While minority compositional gains were not huge, they offset a strong tilt against Obama among white voters. Nationally, Romney won the white vote, 59% to 39%.
Romney won nearly six out of every 10 white voters, and still lost. The key point here is that the GOP explicitly bet on a reversal of demographic trends. The case for a Romney victory always rested on the hope that the electorate would be whiter and older than it was in 2008. The opposite happened — the election seemed to confirm that these trends will continue marching inexorably forward.
I’m finding just a shift in demographics hard to swallow as the true political change agent.
I believe that we must also recognize that there is another cultural/sociological challenge at hand.
It appears in the post-election analysis that, once again – and in numbers rivaling those of 2008, the youth vote went overwhelmingly for Obama. This was initially confusing to me as I asked myself this:
Do these people not understand that the full burden of this foray into socialism will fall on them?
Sure, I’m likely to get whacked with higher and confiscatory taxes but my career is in its last trimester. I’ll be 65 in 12 years. It will be the under 30 set that has to shoulder the economic decay that comes with crushing national debt, a universal healthcare system and a burgeoning welfare state that will support my age group and the reduced employment opportunities that come as a result of their decisions today.
I think they do realize it but at a level that we recognize wind noise from a open car window as we drive along. At slow speeds it is hardly noticeable – at moderate speeds it is louder but still tolerable as a trade-off for fresh air but it really gets bothersome at higher speeds…and we tend to do something about it then to change our environment. Usually we roll the window up and switch on the AC.
The kiddies are rolling along and low the moderate speeds, enjoying the cool air and willing to accept the trade-offs right now but as they get older (the speed increases), they are going to want to roll the window up only to find out that the power windows no longer work and they don’t put manual cranks on cars any longer.
For me it all comes down to this:
We have segments of our society who have received awards just for participation; they are rewarded for pseudo-talent while true talent goes unrecognized or is equivocated so everyone appears the same. Within the American left, there is a cultural revulsion against the very notion of greatness itself. Competition, capitalism, leadership, merit and excellence have been replaced by participation, redistribution, deference, concern for self-esteem and simply trying. A couple of years ago, the Pentagon proposed a military award for “courageous restraint”. Trying is equivocated as doing.
I have to ask: have we lost the drive to compete and more importantly, to win?
Life keeps score even if our society doesn’t.
And yet the diversity police of the American left have worked decades to teach our children through government schools that we should recognize, support and value “diversity” (eg. “differences”) in people in sport, in the classroom and in society. While they said this in words, in practice, these proto-Marxists and communist social scientists were developing and enshrining systems in regulation, policy and law that made absolutely sure that everyone was treated the same regardless of ability, capability, desire, drive or initiative.
When everybody is special, nobody is.
All grades must be “on the curve” to so as not to base learning on an objective standard, scores must not be kept at T-ball games because no matter how bad they are, the kids should never feel bad that they suck…and the kids that are good at sports cannot be allowed to stand out. Trips to Chuckle Cheese and a box of trophies for all…affirmative action programs to “race norm” admissions even if the students are not up to par. Minority “set-asides” in government contracting…and so on, ad infinitum.
We must celebrate differences by not recognizing that people are different or allowing them to be different. This is liberal logic, such as it is.
Even child labor laws and local permit regulations that outlaw selling cookies and even lemonade stands contribute to the absence of youth education and prevent direct experience of the free enterprise system.
Is it any wonder that we have soft-minded adults in the under 30 set who actually believe Obama’s Marxist mantra?
Hell, they have been taught it since they were old enough to kick a soccer ball or hold a plastic bat in their hands. They have been indoctrinated every bit as much as the Hitler Youth or the Komsomol (the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ).
Here’s our problem in a nutshell – this is why I think it is cultural rather than simply demographic.
Conservatives and liberals aren’t born, they are grown – they are taught and we are at a severe disadvantage in that department.