Conservatives Keep Losing: so what CAN we do?

JRM Blue jacket Mary Sweetened thumbnailNo RINOs CINOs or Conservative Inc.

I recently wrote an article called “Ideas Don’t Have Consequences.” The subtitle was “Why Conservatives Keep Losing.”  My point was that ideas by themselves, don’t do a darn thing. Someone has to take action to implement those ideas, to fight for those ideas and to build a society around those ideas.

A lot of you guys liked the article. But they have been asking me, “what can we do? We know that we are doing isn’t working. What can we do? What should we do?” Continue reading “Conservatives Keep Losing: so what CAN we do?”

Detecting Totalitarian Ideologies on Independence Day 2020

JRM Blue jacket Mary Sweetened thumbnail

“Soft power” systems to justify the accumulation of hard power, disarming victims and providing cover for abusers.

 Today is July 4th, 2020, Independence Day in the United States. I’m going to a cook-out today as soon as I finish this video, so I’m dressed in my picnic clothes. America is on edge today. We are seeing increasing restrictions to try to control the coronavirus. We are seeing rioting in the streets and the destruction of monuments.

We don’t feel like “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Independence Day is a good day to reflect on totalitarian ideologies. How can we tell the difference between the government making legitimate use of its power to protect the common good, and the arbitrary illegitimate use of that power? How can we distinguish calls for reform and calls for revolution? These are not theoretical academic questions. The future of our way of life depends on getting this right. Continue reading “Detecting Totalitarian Ideologies on Independence Day 2020”

Ideas Don’t Have Consequences: Why Conservatives Keep Losing (American Mind version)

American Mind BannerThis is the text of the full article from The American Mind. The Dr. J Chats video posted earlier, is an abridgment of this article.   Ideas Don’t Have Consequences: Why Conservatives Keep Losing.

Ideas Have Consequences, a book by Richard Weaver, has animated countless conservative intellectuals and professionals for over half a century. What a pity, then, that the book’s title expresses but a half-truth at best. Still worse: the missing half is by far the more important one. Conservatives of all stripes need to take a sober-minded look at this bromide.

The true half of the half-truth is this. Getting the ideas right is important. Having concepts and ideas that are empirically accurate, historically truthful, and philosophically sound—all of this is important. Motivated by this fact, countless idealistic young people have dedicated themselves to intellectual pursuits. They hope to contribute to The Cause by getting the ideas right. Clarifying, correcting, and advancing the ideas will, they imagine, have consequences.

This was certainly my experience as a young academic. Back then, I identified as a free-market libertarian economist. I imagined that I would contribute to advancing the Big Ideas of liberty. I was involved in, and mentored by, several think tanks that help young academics succeed in their careers. I attended many meetings and seminars and colloquia. I can honestly and sadly report to you: never once did I hear anyone say, “You know, we really need to start attending the Faculty Senate meetings. We should at least keep track of what our intellectual opponents are doing in our institution.”

Continue reading “Ideas Don’t Have Consequences: Why Conservatives Keep Losing (American Mind version)”

Ideas Don’t Have Consequences: Why Conservatives Keep Losing (video version)

JRM Blue jacket Mary Sweetened thumbnailWaiting around for the Apocalypse is not an honorable option. Text of a Chat recorded on Facebook Live on June 25, 2020. 

“Ideas Have Consequences.” How many times have you heard that from conservative intellectuals and professionals? Alas, this cliché is a half-truth at best, with the missing “half” being by far the more important.

The true half of the half-truth is this. Getting the ideas right is important.

When I was a young academic free market libertarian economist, I imagined I would contribute to advancing the Big Ideas of liberty. I was mentored by several think tanks that help young academics succeed in their careers. I attended many seminars and colloquia. I can honestly report: never once did I hear anyone say, “You know, we really need to start attending the Faculty Senate meetings. We should at least keep track of what our opponents are doing in our institution.”

We have no right to whine and complain about the “Left’s Long March Through the Institutions.” They marched largely unopposed. We lost a game we never even showed up to play. Continue reading “Ideas Don’t Have Consequences: Why Conservatives Keep Losing (video version)”