On Being Radical: From One Extreme to Another
March 15th, 2012
By Barry Secrest
I was at one of those corporate meetings where a significant amount of back-slapping camaraderie goes on. The executive, a man from further north who commands a very large fortune five hundred company, stood peering at me, eyes almost squinting, probably not sure of what exactly to make, either of me or of some of the things that he had heard about me within the political realm and outside of professional circles.
I get that sometimes, no doubt, the "he's very Conservative" whisper, despite an often bawdy sense of humor, very outspoken, too, perhaps a little over the edge on the boldness scale regarding the southern political pedigree, a radical possibly, being the likely concern of what the high-level officer was thoughtfully musing over: Ergo, one of those fiery Southern guys that fired the first cannonade at Ft. Sumter. This, despite my actual feelings on race, being in sharp contrast to what he might have been thinking. Right about that time, another executive, a better known associate to me, walked up and a political conversation ensued, as if on cue.
After a brief round of light political regaling, another employee in the loose circle asked if I were one of "those" Republicans, smiling ingratiatingly while verifying that I actually wrote a legible book, despite the intonations of a legitimate southern drawl (he obviously had not read Conroy or Frasier). The second executive grinned in return and responded entertainingly that I, indeed, had. He then stepped into a ram-rod straight position on the floor and, looking down, loafers proudly gleaming, stated," let me tell you something about Barry, if this is the center," and then he briefly glanced at me, eyes questioning. Understanding what brand of mirth he was after, I laughed, my brows, with a shrug, letting him know that it was fine. He then, after marking the center, set to walking across the room about 15 feet away.
Upon stopping, he raised his voice, cupped hands over mouth, and yelled, "then Barry is way, way over here on the Right." I laughed sheepishly, not at all hurt or wounded as the executives burst into nervous laughter, angularly glancing at me to verify my reaction. It was, in fact, a compliment; well, at least to me it was, although to some of those present it may have not been. Good thing I wasn't wearing my overalls.
(esp. of change or action) Relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
A person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform.
adjective. fundamental - drastic
noun. root - radix
adjective. fundamental - drastic
noun. root - radix
But I can also remember thinking, at the time, "well, I signed up for this when I became publicly outspoken," while simultaneously realizing that, even in a world dominated by capitalism's corporately moderated Field Generals, the paradigm of ideological battle was yet a deep mystery to many of these "Inc. professsionals," numerous among them, not always stopping to consider the strategic terrain in which they operate. It is not at all an uncommon thing, that those who often profit the most from capitalism's bounty, rarely, if ever, do the necessary tactical groundwork to inform those around them, along with those they serve. Understanding how it is that everyone has a job--and even why, in fact, that job exists, and how it may be lost or multiplied in the future, is not always common knowledge.
A strategic concern it is, within this nation, and now most especially, as many mischaracterize the free market as something greedily contrived and filled with excessive fault, when in fact, it is simply the most natural order of things when it comes to human socioeconomic interaction and the service of others. Many would even further assert that its high time the balance of our corporate leaders began realizing this to the point of voicing it, and yes, to even those self-acclaimed wiser beings who populate the corporate Media news jungle. So far, this labor of love has largely been left to the Academians, and we all know where that road to serfdom leads.
But, as true Capitalism, within its very essence, has been under concerted attack for at least five long years now, it stands to reason that even in an atmosphere of artificially braced markets ( i.e. quantitative easing and Statist bailouts) those markets will yet have isolated, untreated areas of extreme decay and rot, slowly spreading into other areas that continually impair what many see as an economic non-recovery. This largely because of the symptoms having been powerfully treated rather than the root injuries mended. Say what you will, US unemployment and GDP growth are at their historic worst. Not since the Great Depression has the US economy seen such a miserable bag of consistently jumbled economic data.
In other words, as it is with a fractured bone, so it is with industry. Before the healing can begin, the fracture must be immobilized and set, and this step should take place first, not last. However, repeatedly administering powerful pain-killers to the injury--in the form of copious taxpayer dollars stabbed at the wound--only hides the injury's pain and causes healing to take much, much longer, while certainly not correctly repairing it, nevermind the future economic limp.
The thing to also remember is simply that we Conservatives can always verifiably end, and stunningly win, virtually any argument on American Capitalism versus European Socialism and its various stunted cousins, by simply pointing out that no other nation in the history of man has ever produced either the wealth or the upward mobility, regardless of social class, or the ability to defend and quickly project power, or the miraculous accomplishment of providing fully 1/4th of the world's economy, while innovating on a massive scale, even with only 5% of the world's population. This last being a thing that the Messianic Marginalizer-in-Chief never mentions when postulating on how much energy a horrid America wastefully consumes. And all of this simply because of our Constitutionally-based Federal Republic's having been birthed and raised in a stunningly proper manner--well, properly except for the last generation or so, it should be noted.
But as with all things that function properly, there are always those who, while languishing cluelessly within the realm of wealth that we as Americans have created, over time, will seek to correct what is simply uncorrectable, at least not by collectivist means. In fact, the morass of problems that America is now facing are a direct result of diluting, via soft-Socialism's meddling, what once was, and can be again, a very successful formula.
Unfortunately, though, now in America, as things progress downwards, especially within industry, rather than the Federal Government seeing its own contrived impediment as being the actual harm, that same government will, more often than not, double-down on the regulations and the meddlesome monitoring, making survivability all but impossible.
In essence, rather than freeing up the industry in trouble, the Government plops itself down directly on the industry's chest, the attitude being, "I'm here now, so what's the problem," thereby asphyxiating it with the governments own terrible weight, while at the same time paradoxically wondering why all of a sudden breathing has for all intents and purposes ceased, even while the industry's being crushed underneath.
Yet, as I and others try to explain why so many things are amiss in our nation, my Conservative thought process, and the fact that I am voicing it, automatically places me within that ragtag grouping of resolute individuals known as Radicals, alas.
A fact to remember, if you're a Liberal and you're outspoken, your an Activist or even a journalist, however, if your Conservative and outspoken, you are a Radical, and possibly even dangerous.
But here, it also must be explained, that the vast amount of misunderstanding and misinformation bred from the ignorant media, learning institutions, and leftist politicos, while often appearing sound, will be the very thing that brings our industries down into failure and disrepair, while media contrived appearances seeming the exact opposite.
Look at healthcare as a prime example, now, before quality withers any further on the vine. Medical care has already begun to suffer, and super injury claims are increasing at an astounding pace. But this also speaks directly to those Conservatives, and otherwise, who, being weaned from birth on Capitalism, understand almost innately how a free market functions and operates most efficiently.
We tend to assume that everyone else has also learned these same lessons. When, in fact, they have not, quite frankly, and not at all, in many cases. Which is where, I come in, as I am often told by my editor and college academian textbook writer, with a ruler to the hand, stating, "Stop assuming that everyone knows what you know! They Don't!" My reply, being always, "But this is just common sense, right?" "No" is often the outraged response. But this very point that my editor constantly makes was also made tangibly by none other than the sometimes Conservative , Harvard Grad, Bill O'Reilly recently, as he continued his simpletonian attack on American oil companies, sounding much like a very tall Barack Obama clone on steroids.
He's Looking Out For Free Market Training-Wheels, (and Us)
During the show, O'Reilly was raising absolute hell at energy producers for the fact that oil and fuel prices have risen meteorically again, in America, and was blaming those dastardly oil companies, for artificially raising oil prices and then heinously selling the refined product to the highest bidder on the free market. In fact,watching Mary Katherine Hamm, A Daily Caller Conservative expert and regular on Bill's show, exasperatingly try to explain why Bill was totally wrong on his points, comically reminded me of trying to explain to one of my children, when smaller, the differences between toothpaste and shampoo. The difficulty in that they both promote cleanness, both are used with water, both used on the body, both come in some form of attractive tubing, however, the interchanging of the two will produce largely miserable results each and every time.
O'Reilly, who I often enjoy by the way, is moderately outraged at oil companies for exporting refined gas out of the US, for Heaven's sake, and is yet under the impression that a nation can heavily utilize imports via the free market, but then should consume the imported oil only inside the US in a closed loop market, thereby somehow keeping prices low. Which is more or less the miraculous loaves and fishes approach to energy usage within any given market. In fact, buying in an open market and selling in a closed loop market is the very essence of a highly controlled Marxist-Statist approach to energy consumption, which fails miserably every time it is tried--just look at the old USSR and Cuba now, for numerous valuable lessons on the subject. But trying to explain this in any equitable way to most basic Liberals will get you the oil company-loving Radical Capitalist label every single time. You might as well yell, "Let the puppies burn! " at a PETA seminar.
But this, when utilizing the common sense, Conservative method, which tends to approach the various issues from a historical, real-life-lived context, rather than using some nutty Utopian concept predicated on how to achieve political and economic nirvana, makes those of us still within the unmoderated Conservative model a bunch of far-right-wing-nut-jobs virtually each and every single time, even as Rome burns. Attested to by the numerous columns and misguided rants by jaded opinionists that we are increasingly seeing these days. But are we True Conservatives so terribly radical in our stern admonition to follow the US Constitution to the letter and allow the free market to operate mostly unimpeded? Maybe we should ask this particular radical, He who stood remarkably erect on the stage while exuding a certain power, if not nobility.
His words, echoing those of his latter-day Tea Party counterparts, were a little alarming, if not completely radical to those who espoused a more controlled approach , especially to those who considered themselves among the highly erudite elitist class. To paraphrase, the radical extremist, who could easily inspire dread and not a small amount of loathing among his intellectual counterparts, was communicating the following words of wisdom:
People who are free should not only be armed, but should also be trained in the use of arms. Further, not only should they be disciplined in operation, but they should also have a well digested plan and be ready to use it, if the need arises. And if that need does arise, they should also have in place factories, and a plan to manufacture more arms as needed, in such a way that these, the armaments of defense, are always at the ready and independent from other other ventures, particularly for military supplies.
So, who is this gun-loving extremist radical who would obviously leave the Axis Press, along with many within the political class, gasping in shocked disbelief? Well, it was none other than the Father of our Nation, George Washington. The man, and first President being modernly paraphrased, who we, in grade school, also studied at great length in our formative years, and who might even be considered a militant pariah of the Right-Wing were he alive today.
So, what is is it, exactly, that has happened between this, our modern day of Liberally avowed Statism, and over two centuries ago, when this nation, saturated in Liberty, had just been birthed?
Well, that question seems to have been answered by another radical, whom we are once again modernly paraphrasing, and whom Obama would no doubt label a Tea-Bagger:
Wherever and whenever the true power lies within a centralized Government, the danger of both tyranny and oppression will always be present. America's government was initially structured so that the true power lies within the community of people and away from Government's center. Further, the invasion of an individual's private rights should be realized, not from the excess of government, which goes against the intent of the people, but rather from the intent of the people as enjoined by the people to the government.
Here, this particular radical, who warns of the dangers of a centralized or Statist government, and who was also the author of the Bill of Rights, being James Madison, was speaking his mind to another nutty radical in a letter. In fact, in speaking to the recently tackled issue of government's ability to compel upon religion, as in a forced provisioning and payment of birth control by the state against the Church, this same radical, Madison, wrote to above, stated this:
No individual can be compelled to frequent or support any religious institution or ministry in all of its forms. Nor will any individual be restrained, harassed or encumbered, either bodily or by seizure of personal property, due to their personal religious beliefs or opinions. Each and every individual will be allowed to profess or argue their beliefs in any manner; those beliefs which apply to their religion or belief system. These religious beliefs will further and in no way be held to diminish, enlarge or otherwise affect each individual's civic rights.
So, who was this religious nut-job who thought freedom of religious expression should not be limited in any way? Well, indeed, it was the same man who postulated on the merits of the separation of church and state, which the Progressives keep idiotically referring to, while never quite understanding the context. Thomas Jefferson had much to say on free beliefs, despite the fact that he was labeled a religious infidel during his campaign for President. You might also note that nowhere in the paragraph above will you find the words "except in the function of governance," because Jefferson never intended government to be a secular vacuum of agnosticism; ergo, the ever-brilliant Jefferson would be classified as a Right-Wing Nut, if ever there were one.
In fact, when we look back at each of the Founders, regardless of ideological disposition, the one all-encompassing theme, among many, which continually emerges is one of a wariness in big government, a fear for intrusion by the state upon any religious beliefs, and the importance of the individual and his or her rights as opposed to the tyranny of the majority or centralized power's tendency to dominate. The point being, these beliefs that most Conservatives still hold dear to this day are the same beliefs that propelled a nation unequaled in virtually any measurement one can conceivably make. A continued withdrawal away from these tenets would, therefore, by necessity, promote a change from the very things that have made us successful as a nation, to one that falters in failure, which tends to thoroughly explain why we are where we are today, as a country.
Applying the Definition of "Radical"
The thing to remember is simply this; if those who we label Conservatives are the same ones who still believe in the self-sustaining and continual application of the same wisdom the nation was founded upon and achieved outrageous success over 230 years, aren't the true radicals actually those who seek to move away from those traditional tenets?
When we look at what a "Radical" actually means, we will see the following: "a person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform." Now, with that being the case, we outspoken and otherwise Conservatives are constantly fighting to keep the American system from being radically altered any further, from what is was intended to be, according to the Constitution and the Charters of Freedom. So, then, if the Conservative minded are actually the Traditionalists, as is obviously the case, then who are the actual radicals?
Once you arrive at the true answer to that question, then you may begin to see who the true radicals within this nation actually are, and they don't truthfully care very much for Conservatives, the Founders, Capitalism, Religion or even the US flag, for that matter.