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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year, A New Calibration

There is a theory in psychology known as the Gestalt Theory that posits that the mind is self organizing, seeks patterns, and that the whole is different than the sum of its parts. The image above is an example of Gestalt, where moving from A to D the mind sees a triangle, an S, a mace (or a sphere with cones/horns), and finally a snake or sea monster. In fact, these are visual perceptions of items that are not really present in the image you see. The mind is self-organizing, and craves patterns and consistency. We view with awe the uniformity of marching bands or Marines in a parade. We seek to find order in chaos.

In my professional world, a fact of life in management is a concept we use called a clean point. A clean point is the realization and agreement that things have become out of control; perhaps a process was not the right process or staffing inadequate to meet demands which has resulted in poor performance. A clean point is where we stop doing what wasn’t working and move forward with a new process or procedure or perspective.

Because of the two things above, I believe we see the stroke of midnight on a new year to be a clean point. We realize that something about our lives or about ourselves is not where we would like it to be. Listen to the resolutions given by friends and family. Among them I am sure you will hear multiple promises to lose weight, spend more family time, drink less, take better care of the yard, and the list is infinite. We use New Year’s Day to calibrate where we are, and look where we would like to be 365 days later. We seek to find order in chaotic lives; we seek patterns that can be relied upon. We know that our lives are more than the sum of the parts, otherwise there would be no triangle to be found.

I think America needs a clean point. I think that we have allowed ourselves to be distracted by the continuation of processes and trying to improve those processes that we simply refuse to acknowledge that sometimes it is best to do nothing at all. Sometimes it is necessary to make massive change to processes. I believe firmly that the election of 2008 and the Obama administration is the perfect opportunity for a clean point in this nation.

I shall say upfront that I do not agree with the liberal agenda for many items that are on the horizon. I can also say that a man who engaged the Clinton steamroller and the Republican machine in places like Virginian, North Carolina, and Mississippi, and stepped onto the podium to accept the Presidency, and did so without barely breaking a sweat, is made up of something as yet unproven. The President-elect has made courageous and important decisions regarding his cabinet. I am not sure of another time that an incoming President has asked senior cabinet members from another party to remain on the cabinet. I see left wing ideas, but I also see a centrist movement and a few right wing ideas looming as well.

We believe that the GOP has become weak, and has allowed conservatism to take a back seat to the other priorities of the party. We seek to change that. We seek to reinforce the nation’s desire for responsible and effective government. We seek to re-establish the Constitutional aims of our founders, but speaking out to our nation and our representatives that we must have a clean point in America. This clean point must be to define what we want from our nation, demand changes to the waste and corruption of politics, and move forward with the aims of success and prosperity for our nation and her citizens.

Change your new year’s resolutions. Make a resolution to be involved, active, persistent, and loud in the demands for conservative principles for our country. Don’t worry, there is much lifting to do and the weight will fall off. We have the perfect opportunity to take conservatism to new heights and new definitions. As the new year begins, there will be many opportunities for you to help us define conservatism. Roll up your sleeves, the four year ride begins soon.....


TAO said...

Yes, the mind is self organizing thus we seem to select "data" from reality that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

We seem to only observe data that fits and reinforces our preconceived notions.

Our government will not change until such time that we change.

Our people, our companies, our state and local government all look to the federal government for help when the situation is bad.

We cheer the "success" of conservatism when taxes are lowered but lowering taxes just increases government debt and does nothing to decrease the size of government nor decrease the influence of the federal government in our lives.

Realistically the federal debt ensures the continuation of big government.

With the prescription drug program and no child left behind I cannot find any true belief in conservatism among republicans. With the bailout my perspections have been proven true.

While the democrats may practice liberalism for the benefit of people the republicans practice liberalism for the benefit of special interests. Their concept of government is the same it is just the beneficaries of their concepts that change.

The biggest issue for me is the fact that most of what government does today is for immediate benefit of someone. Thus it is an expense rather than an investment. Our government needs to get out of the business of immediate gratification and focus more on investing in the future.

Our infrastructure is a mess and needs upgrading and for Obama to propose expenditures in this area I have no problem with the concept.

For Bush to claim that our financial system is too big to fail or that the loss of the US automakers is too big of a hit for our economy....well, I have a problem with that because if you say that some institutions are too big to fail and that all of us must share in their failure then you are not all that far from claiming that all of us must share in their success.

When these financial institutions took these funds then they also agreed to an obiligation of using the funds as intended. They can argue all they want but there is a tacit agreement in place.

Now they are arguing otherwise...and if that is what they want to do then they should return the funds.

But politics is no longer about concepts or ideals it is rather about personal benefit.

As long as we continue to look to the government whether for our own personal benefit or as a "whipping boy" for all that is wrong in our country then nothing will change.

When executives still demand their outrageous pay in light of the reality of their performance then something is serious wrong with the social fabric of this country.

It is as if we see ourselves as victims of our own actions....

Anonymous said...

I have been pleasantly surprised as to how Obama is beginning his presidency. While I still believe he does not have enough experience, we can see he is choosing cabinet members to help fill the void of his inexperience. Seeing the centrist leadership thus far, I pray he can get and keep the left (and the right) moving toward a common goal which unltimately causes our nation to thrive once again.

Some of us, like those with different levels of OCD tend to take the need for patterns to a whole new level. LOL.

Great post, thanks for the reading! Happy New Year!

Brooke said...

Happy New Year to everyone here!

I think each new year is a clean point. Here's hoping that this one doesn't go straight to hell under the incoming administration.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

Christopher Hamilton
The Right Opinion, for the Right Wing

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Forget "conservatism," please. It has been Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

"[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It .is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com
Recovering Republican


Gayle said...

John Lofton makes a good point. Far to many Americans have turned their back on God and we see the results of that every day.

Happy New Year, Robert! I only made one New Year's resolution and it truly should be one that's easy to keep. I resolve to be fairer to Obama than the Liberals have been to President Bush. That shouldn't take much effort at all! :)

JARNCO5 said...

Voice Of Conservative America

Robert said...

I agree that the conservative movement has allowed itself to be displaced and allowed its “sturdy principle” to be weakened. As an organization here, and in conservative strongholds and demographics across the nation, we are wanting a resurgence in those principles.

However, I am forced to take exception with a viewpoint that deems itself the voice of God as in “…because to God both are..” I am of Christian conviction and I know many things that God speaks against. I would not dare to imply that I know God’s viewpoint on things of mere politics. Would our nation be stronger with greater faith? I do not think there is any question among reasoned people. Should we ascribe to God a conservative political mindset? I think not.

“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” My personal belief is that God would have us govern the nation, and act as individuals, in a Christian manner.

Anonymous said...

Some great comments here and I find myself saying things that I thought I would never would have. At this moment in time, Obama will be our president in a couple weeks. As much as I dislike many of his policies I will support him as POTUS. Saying that I will fight with everything I have against those policies I disagree with.

I agree with Robert that this is a great "clean point." We as conservatives have to find common ground and fight to bring back conservatism to the GOP. That is the only way that we will be successful in 2012. We saw the horrible results of having a NON- CONSERVATIVE in the White House and also as our GOP candidate in John McCain. That is where our problem lies, and that is what we need to fix.

Gayle....I like your resolution, and I don't see that as a problem either! LOL

JARNCO5....I have stopped by your website and I think it mirrors ours! Thank you for stopping by and next time, give us a little input into what you are thinking! :-)

TAO said...

My grandfather was plant manager of the largest employer in a small town in Illinois during the depression and I remember hearing the stories of what he did for people during the depression. He got the company and employees to agree to reducing hours so that more people could keep their jobs.

He also cut his salary into thirds of which one third went to weekly expenses, one third went to savings, and the other third he used to help neighbors who were not as well off as he was.

No one marched on Washington, no one waited for Washington. Individuals did for themselves and for each other.

That is what being conservative is all about. Its about solving your own problems and those within your community.

For a 21st century spin on it call it "empowering the individual" because right now all of us expect the government to run and control everything.

Rather than looking to Washington we need to look inside ourselves and amongst ourselves and deal with problems at a level that involves us.

Like my grandfather, I think God is great...its just organized religion makes him less attractive and less effective. The word of God is something you live by its not something you live for.

If the word of God is not inherent in everything that you do then no amount of organized religion will solve that problem.

We need to bring together the words, "rugged" "individualism" and "respect" again.