Book Review: He’s Not Yet Dead

After The Hangover

R. Emmet Tyrell Jr. is a storyteller. And boy does he have stories to tell.

He spent many of his formative years, philosophically, engaging with the great minds of the early conservative movement in America. And his remembrances of personal interactions with the likes of William Buckley and Henry Kissinger are rambling and yet deep.

That is the only thing wrong with Tyrell’s book, After The Hangover, and yet it is not such a wrong that I could not enjoy the experience of the trip.

After The Hangover is Tyrell’s prescription for conservative resurgences post W. He begins with reassurances that the conservative movement is not yet dead, despite what talking heads and the MSM love to say. His argument? They’ve been saying that a long time and conservatives keep coming back. In fact, in response to those claims of a conservatives having faced and failed their Waterloo in the election of President Obama, Tyrell pushes back and shows that it may be the Liberals who ought to be looking to their life support systems.

Tyrell is bitter that Liberals have taken, and been allowed to retain, the name Liberal, as the crops of Liberals going back to the 1970’s are not liberal at all in the true sense, but are a conglomeration of ideology- and issue-driven socialists. The environmentalists use green to argue for socialism, tax-and-spend Democrats use decrepit command economy theories, liberation theology African Americans find their history and their futures in Marxist ideas of heaven on earth.

And yet, he argues that it is the conservative, not the liberal, who is the happier person.

Conservatism is a temperament to delight in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This includes those parts of the pursuit that men such as John Locke discussed, the acquisition and exchange of property. Modern conservatism is a temperment, Tyrell claims, not an ideology or an anxiety. It is a love of liberty, not a misdemeanor.

The Liberal, on the other hand, holds this vast exception, among others. Temperamentally, the Liberal believes they are entitled to attain happiness, not just pursue it. And in their inability to attain that which they’ll go all wrong pursuing, they end up bitter and angry.

The reason Liberalism is still such a force is the Kultersmog. The collective smoke and debris of misinformation, inflated opinion, and the supporting armies of science and culture that work together to marginalize conservatives and obfuscate their ideas and words. If you can control the transmission of ideas and words you can control a populace. The counter to that, of course, is the internet. There is no way to control the transmission of ideas so completely as the old mainstream media did and wish they still did today.

Tyrell claims the structures of strong conservative though coupled with the increased grass-roots involvement and the uncontrolled nature of communication and media today spell the continued success of the conservative movement, and indeed it’s continued dominance and shaping of the discourse of America.

Fear Not: Manufacturing Dependence

The government of New York City decided it had the right and the responsibility to control the nutritional content of prepared foods sold in that city.

Michelle Obama has chosen to tackle childhood obesity (laudable, though seemingly less lofty than Nancy Reagan’s war on drugs), and joining her are voice shrilling for diet soda on school campuses and low sodium and low sugar meals in school cafeterias.

While the economy is slowing coming back in some ways it isn’t creating any more jobs right now, and with steep tax increases looming, there is little chance of it coming back with any great strength.

People are told by more and more “experts” that they aren’t capable of understanding or grasping the complexities of financial systems or education systems, loan programs or even the job market.

And the great caped crusader stands by ready (and very willing) to do it all for you.

Just sit back and relax, we’ll digest all this horribly complex stuff and feed it to you in small, easily digestible bites. Don’t worry about a thing.

How far must one go before those doing the feeding stop trying to pretend they want your input and just feed you what they decide is best for you, or them?

The problem I see with America right now is that all to many people appear willing to let that happen. Too many have accepted that they aren’t smart enough. Too many have given up trying. Too many are failing and think that is just the way it will be.

There is a fatalism feeding into a general apathy which will quickly create a society not far removed from the mentally and physically sedentary lifestyle portrayed aboard the space ships in Wall-E. Except it won’t be clean and sparkling. It’ll be dank and dirty and filthy and decrepit because there won’t be money for the cleaning lady. She’ll be just a stupid and poor as the rest of us.

President Obama said in a speech stumping for his latest power grab, the financial regulation legislation, that his goal is that the government provide clear and concise information for people making financial decisions.

My response: It’s not your job, it’s not your responsibility, and frankly, it’s none of your business.

There are plenty of sources of information, and it isn’t that hard to determine the veracity of information. And the government will get jealous when they find nobody trusts them to provide information, and so they’ll enforce an effective monopoly on their providing of financial information in the same way they legislated a monopoly for the United States Postal Service.

I don’t think much of what President Obama has championed since his election will last. There is too much energy arrayed against it. However, it is a law of the universe that energy decays and all things tend towards disorder. People are no different, if given an opportunity to bear less responsibility while still appearing to receive the same benefit, many people will shirk their responsibility. And after innumerable such trade-offs, they are left with neither benefit nor responsibility. Babies being fed by and at the will of their masters.

Fear is another powerful force we have to contend with. Fear reinforces inability and drains strength. Fear breeds dependency as few other forces can. If we fear what the salt and sugar in our diets will do to us, we can be controlled by those who claim to have the nutritional answer. If we fear the complexity of a financial situation, we are vulnerable to those who would counsel without conscience.

It seems to me that Christians, of all people, are least likely to be controlled by a grasping government. Due to God’s mantra¬† “Fear not!” and the recognition that the only thing we have to fear is that which can destroy souls, there is really very little a Christian ought to fear. And a fearless person is one is not prone to leveraging, or fear-mongering, or bullying, or any other tactic employed by unscrupulous power-seekers to enslave others and empower themselves.

Perhaps this is why historic bullies have sought to separate Christians from their fundamental beliefs, to destroy them bodily, or to expunge them from their turf. Fearlessness is strength.


For you bloggers who are fully employed at jobs that require full attention all day: how do you budget time for writing?

Since starting at my latest position, I’ve been unable to peruse the internet in the way I was at previous employments that was so conducive to my blogging. I don’t want to give up the blog completely, though I’ve seriously considered that option. It’s just too much a part of my long-term goals. At the same time, posting every other week isn’t the way to encourage readership.

So how do you do it?