When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Monday, December 1, 2008


I am Craig Bardo and I am humbled by the invitation to join Robert, Jennifer (if I may), Truth-Pain and Sam. Perfunctorily, I am a married, father of 5 and a business owner, who resides in Nashville. Who I am is what I believe. I grew up liberal blaming America first, self-absorbed, ungrateful, unmotivated but blessed beyond knowing. I went to church once, on Easter as a child and maybe one other occasion. I was an athlete and played basketball for eventual national champion, Indiana University, but was ineligible to play because of poor grades. I joined the Navy and grew up a little. I saw how truly blessed we are to be born and live in the greatest country in the history of earth and wondered why people lived the way they did elsewhere. I finished college at The Citadel and while there met a man who set me on this path to conservative thought. His name is Dr. Walter Williams of George Mason University, who was a guest speaker for the college's Greater Issues series. My economics professor took an interest in me and arranged an audience with Dr. Williams before he spoke. I asked him questions from my liberal perspective that he batted down with such ease that motivated me to learn more.

Questions I had included: Why not help poor black families with welfare? Why not have people who earn more, pay more in taxes? Why not make corporations pay more taxes and why not regulate business more? Why shouldn't affirmative action be expanded? Why with all of the (supposed) unfairness in this country do we continue to prosper? I assumed and had been taught that it was the work of evil white men, scheming, as it were, to keep a brother down. I also made the most important discovery of my life in this period of inquiry. I discovered that there is someone who always looked past my many, many faults and saw my need. He is known by many names, The Lily of the Valley, The Bright and Morning Star, The Rose of Sharon, The Way, The Truth and the Life, Redeemer, Savior, The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, A Rock in a weary land, A Balm in Gilead, The Alpha and the Omega, The Great I Am and when I can't call him anything else, I call him Jesus. I hope you don't mind if I talk about him from time to time, I'll try not to preach, I won't preach, but sometimes I get excited.

Back to the inquiry... what I discovered in my search for reasons why we prosper here in America and why there is an uneven prosperity here didn't yield simple answers but it did yield a direction and a set of unassailable principles, principles that those that established the experiment that we call America had studied, understood and had the fortitude to be willing to die for and more importantly live by. The key to our prosperity is what John Locke said. He said that a man ought to own himself and the fruit of his labor and intellect, that he should not be subject to the whims of a monarch or a tyrant. He reasoned that the role of government should be to protect a man's life, liberty and property. He argued that being able to dispose of property (real property, personal property and contract rights) as one wished (owning it) is the key to liberty. As it turns out, it is also the key to prosperity.

Another Scotsman, Frances Hutcheson, wrote later that there are certain rights that are inalienable. Thomas Jefferson, being a widely read and well educated man, combined the natural law/rights concepts of Locke, Hobbes, Hutcheson and others into what Dr. King would call on the steps of the Washington Mall, "the magnificent words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution." "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The wisdom contained in that one sentence is the key to America's unprecedented freedom and prosperity.

I have learned that all of the do gooder schemes of the uninformed do more harm to those they purport to help than had they been left alone, that the unintended consequences of social engineers and tinkerers is more detrimental to the fortunes of America than a direct assault on those the programs are designed to benefit. I look forward to sharing my observations and getting your feedback.


Robert said...

Allow me to be the first to welcome you aboard, and I am sure you will enjoy the debates and discussions...the majority of them anyway.

I hope the rest of us don't detract from your important and critical expertise.

Thank you for the intro. Dr. Williams has long been an inspiration to me, and I wish I had the opportunity to sit through his classes. I think we will be even more fortunate to have your imput here than I expected!

It is also good to have another southern influence here. We have too many people on the team who don't even know the culinary delights of catfish and cheese grits!

Perhaps one day we can enjoy a cup in Nashville. We are jsut a few hours apart and it is an easy journey. My brother did his doctoral work at Vanderbilt, and hopes to move back soon.

Anonymous said...

Another southerner, and with Gayle that makes 4 now. We are definitely outnumbered! You still won't get me eating grits though!! Great introduction and I have a feeling that I am going to learn a lot through this blog!! I look forward to your work!

TRUTH-PAIN said...

Mr Bardo,

I have zero hair on my tongue, so I'll go right to it, I am energized and happy to know you are an American who happens to be Black AND conservative. So much time and energy is spent by both well-meaning persons and others in parsing the dichotomy that is being a Black person who is not a liberal or not a Democrat. As you have put it, the pejoratives thrown to those of your outside-the-box thinking are silly and insulting at the same time.

I am looking forward to merging my opinions with yours, inquiring on your perspectives and going down ideology roads not frequently traveled by the politically correct.

Welcome again CB!

Anonymous said...


Christopher Hamilton
The Right Opinion, for the Right Wing

Robert said...

Texas is southern geographically, butnot culturally. Same values, but they are not "dixie" southern. They are too busy rounding up cattle to enjoy a mint julep on the veranda......

Z said...

Super introduction, thanks! I'll be looking forward to reading your posts ..even (especially?) if/when you mention Jesus!

CB said...

Technically, having grown up in Southern Illinois, near Paducah, KY, I'm a carpetbagger but culturally, I'm a southerner, especially when it comes to food. Cheese grits (with hot sauce, my youngest daughter eats it almost every day, like I did in college), collard greens, hot water corn bread and is there really any good reason why most meats shouldn't be be fried, covered and smothered? Sweet tea really is one word.

So, Robert, any time you're up my way, give me a half days notice and we'll take a trip to Monell's family style restaurant, Silver Sands or if you're really brave, some holes in the wall where you might have to wipe your fork on your pants.

Brother Truth - part of my odyssey has been frustration with the lack of progress of an intractable, almost permanent black underclass and baby's daddy culture. Fatherlessness has so many devastating consequences for children and communities, spilling over into motivation, education and the ability to take advantage of opportunity.

Robert said...

Brother Craig, if you take me anywhere BUT those places, then I should be most assuredly disappointed.

Joe said...

Robert: If you hadn't gotten here so far ahead of me, I would have been the first to welcome Craig.

Well, late or not, WELSOME CRAIG!

We look forward to reading what you have to write!

Robert said...

Joe, go to his site and take a look. Don't read too much or you may spoil some of the surprises, but it is worth some time to peruse his pieces.

I will slow down a little next time....

TAO said...


Welcome aboard, I lived in Nashville while getting my Masters degree from Vanderbilt. While I have lived in the south for the last 20 years I am originally from Wisconsin and my military service is limited to being a "lifer" military brat.

Welcome aboard; I believe economics is something conservatives need to get a grasp of because I believe it was the reason we lost the last election but I also do not buy the argument that free wheeling capitalism is our savior because of mans greed...which due to the loss of wealth and prosperity that we have experienced in the last few months has been proven.

Gayle said...

I hate grits too, Jennifer! :)

Wonderful post, Craig. I believe the bailouts the Government is happily handing out right and left will prove your point that "the do gooder schemes of the uninformed do more harm to those they purport to help than had they been left alone." I worked for the government long enough to know that the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing, and the more it interferes the less smoothly things run. I worked for civil service and I have seen unbelievable waste! I've seen perfectly good chairs, couches, dressers and beds buried in the ground because an Army base was being closed down. That was when Ft. Irwin closed down back in the 70's. That furniture came out of Officer's Quarters and was beautiful. It would have made many people very happy to own any of it, but they buried it. That's just one example. They could have done some real good with that stuff, but they normally choose to stick their noses in where they're not wanted and throw a wrench in the works!

I should have turned this comment into a post, LOL! Oh well, on to the painting project. Keep up the good work. :)

Sam Huntington said...

Craig, a sincere and enthusiastic welcome to our conservative convictions; I haven't been this excited since the day I sat on a wasp ... so settle in with us and let's start defining conservativism!


PS. The only reason I was invited to join the blog is because I have certain film negatives on Robert and threatened to publish them if not invited.