In the age of Obama, the last thing we need is conservatives at each other’s throats.
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The second modification is that the Commandment should never be seen as providing full immunity. Conservatives can and should frequently debate each other, constructively criticize each other, and even respectfully oppose each other when disagreements are deep and sincere. There should be little toleration, however, for vitriol, absent a political sin indicative of poor character or bad faith. Save the choice words for the leftists who accuse us of racism or viciousness (and even then, use them only if effectively aimed), not for the erstwhile allies who merely prefer moving their knights rather than their rooks in a game of political chess.
The third modification is that a distinction should be made between speaking ill of another conservative’s prudential decisions and speaking ill of his motives or character. It is the latter, not the former, that should almost always be off limits. Indeed, Reagan himself (if memory serves) indicated that he had always intended the Commandment only to proscribe overly personal attacks, not spirited debates about means and ends.
The fourth and final modification is that the proscription does not apply at all when defending oneself from cheap shots by fellow conservatives. In other words, if the Commandment is broken at the expense of one conservative, the self-policing nature of the Commandment requires that other conservatives denounce the rightist violator who hurled the unfair invective in the first place. (For a fictional example from history, if Jack Kemp had called Ronald Reagan a “spineless Benedict Arnold”—he never did, of course—other conservatives would be duty bound to denounce Kemp in the harshest of terms.) Extremism in the defense of a fellow conservative’s basic decency is no vice.
In sum, what’s needed on the right is a re-appreciation of Ben Franklin’s famous (perhaps apocryphal) remark that “we must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately.” Barack Obama is determined to permanently destroy the conservative movement and the cause of limited government. The more of our fire we aim at each other, the more we aid him in his task.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?