Written on Monday, October 15, 2012 by David L. Goetsch
I cannot even remember anymore how often I have been called a “radical” by some liberal who read one of my books, responded to one of my columns, or listened to one of my speeches, but by now the number is way into triple digits. It is odd being called a radical. I was a teenager during the 1960s. Consequently, whenever I hear the term radical I think of long-haired hippies smoking pot and protesting the Viet Nam War. But there has been a change in America. Since the 1960s, our country has evolved into a nation where people who still believe in America’s founding principles are considered oddballs. In other words, today’s radicals are not hippies, black panthers, Marxists, socialists, gays, or druggies. They are conservatives.
I never thought I would see the day when it would be considered radical—as in extreme—to hold the values of our Founders and to believe in American exceptionalism. However, if holding these views makes one a radical in today’s America, then I am not just a radical but a proud, card-carrying radical. Consequently, with a view to turning a lemon into lemonade, my colleague—Archie Jones—and I have written a new book titled Rules for Conservatives Radicals, which is now available at www.patriotdepot.com. It’s a tongue-in-cheek title.
In one of his more stirring orations prior to America’s Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry was asked if taking a stand for independence from Britain did not constitute treason. He famously responded, “If this be treason, make the most of it.” It is not yet considered treason to be a conservative in America, but apparently it is considered radical. Consequently, Archie Jones and I decided to take Patrick Henry’s advice and make the most of it. Our new book contains specific strategies conservatives can use to advance such “radical” ideas as limited government, low taxation, free-market economics, individual liberty, personal responsibility, military strength, constitutional sovereignty, and traditional America values. Our hope is that by advocating these conservative principles and setting forth specific strategies for achieving them we might make a contribution—though admittedly small—to saving America from its downhill slide into economic ruin, moral decay, perhaps, eventually, foreign conquest.
Alexis de Tocqueville warned about the despotism of big government, or what is now often referred to as “nanny government.” In an article for the Heritage Foundation, Matthew Spalding summarized where so-called progressives are taking America: “Where we are tending is a government that does more, spends more, and regulates more…Our politics is covered by an intricate web of policies and procedures, rules and regulations, driven by growing streams of money from Washington to every state and locality, thousands of private and nonprofit organizations, and millions of individuals. As a result, growing numbers are dependent on government benefits and entitlements. The American people are becoming more subjects of the state than self-governing citizens.”
What Spalding accurately describes is far from what the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and, later, the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Founders were willing to risk their lives, property, and “sacred honor” to create a country that would provide its citizens economic opportunity, religious freedom, and individual liberty. The Founders knew that to establish such a country would require a structure that limited government, required only minimal taxation, demanded personal responsibility, benefitted from a free-market economy, and enjoyed constitutional sovereignty. They soon learned that bringing their vision for such a country to fruition and maintaining that vision would also require military preparedness and a strong national defense. Archie Jones and I hope our new book will help conservatives reclaim the vision of the Founders. Liberals have their “rules” from Saul Alinsky. Now we conservatives have a rulebook of our own. However, our is much different than Alinsky’s collection of immoral tactics that teach liberals how to smile while committing unethical acts. Our book provides positive, ethical rules and strategies for restoring what the followers of Saul Alinsky have sought to destroy.