(Editor’s note: We’ve had this blog post prepared and waiting for Neal Rauhauser’s return to public view. What Neal says on his Twitter profile today is true regarding one thing; Brooks Bayne did receive an email this week from Neal. We are sparing a lot of “personalities” who have been attacking us (because they were clearly manipulated by Neal) for sake of unity going into the election. To The Trenches’ team, Neal is as predictable as the day is long. We’ve been pressuring Neal repeatedly in the face of other factions’ push-back against us, because they said that we were a distraction to the narrative. That’s obviously not the case. We know the score. We know the players. And we know the traitors. Right now we’re focusing on fighting the left and we’ll deal with the charlatans and leftist infiltrators on “our side” after the election. That’s a promise.)
Over the last few weeks a controversy erupted among conservatives. Most have seen it in the form of vague tweets – backbiting exchanges among conservatives implying a brewing “civil war” in Social Media. I have had readers contact me asking for explanations, road maps, or simply to end it.
Throughout this I have posted “Principles not Personalities.” So let me now explain what I mean in the context of the task before all who love a Free America.
PEOPLE ARE WEAK
We know what the Founders knew – individuals are inherently weak. The Founders designed and implemented a form of government that simply acknowledged and planned for that fact. They configured our governing institutions as a system of checks and balances that pitted those seeking power and access to the Treasury against each other. They believed in diffuse power where most laws affecting the conduct of your affairs were the domain of your state and local governments with The People retaining rights. Under such a system, weak individuals who succumb to the corruption of power and influence would still be unable to tyrannize The People.
Sadly, those institutions have been damaged over the years to the point that our Federal system of government is barely recognizable as any form of Federalism. Perhaps what has harmed us most is the unprecedented prosperity that generations of Free Americans produced. Americans transformed all of human history – not because some caring, charismatic leader commanded them to but because they were free to go where ambition and ability would allow them. Tapping into the wealth of The People – nominally in pursuit of objectives around security, compassion and economic stability – generations of leaders have eroded the ability of The People to control their government. With each iteration we have seen the government ask for new powers to address new needs. With each generation we have witnessed a loss of liberty and a governing class that becomes larger, wealthier and more secure. Now that insatiable need for growth extends to imposing taxes on your free will so as to discourage your rightful choices. Coupled with unprecedented police powers – leveraging the communications and information technology that a Free People created – not only do you no longer control government but it basically controls you.
As Conservatives we know this – sadly we have lived in witness of economic and civil liberties being yielded to the supposed needs and ambitions of the state. They market it as ‘progress.’ They market it as ‘fairness.’ They market it as ‘justice.’ Yet none of those things require your loss of liberty to secure – the few institutions needed to implement, preserve and protect those for The People were secured on the day the Constitution was ratified.
Frustratingly, we’ve voted for people who said they’d shrink government. They go to Washington ready to fight and are quickly overwhelmed by staff and party leadership who are expert at “house training” politicians. They soon realize that about 7 people make all the big decisions in Washington and that they are just bit players until they can work their way into one of those 7 seats. So they play us for time as they jockey for influence and we somehow accept it.
How did this happen? We allowed it. We did not coldly hold elected officials to account. We The People were weak. We allowed them to pander to our fears. We allowed them to pander to our loyalties. We allowed them to take advantage of our good nature.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
Most Americans accept the notion as axiomatic that Freedom of the Press is itself another curb on government excess and corruption. We have also seen that check on government power get corrupted. As Conservatives we have repeatedly witnessed the malpractice of journalism in our lifetimes. We have seen the double standards and “hide the ball” where pertinent information that damages the left is hidden from view while information that harms the right is rushed to prime time before being authenticated.
We have relied on New Media to fill that gap. We have come to expect there will be stories on-line that will never make a network newscast. We are conditioned to read news accounts furnished by Main Stream news organizations with a jaundiced eye.
But what of our New Media? Who is watching them? Are there double standards there? Are people pulling punches for favored individuals while landing blows on unfavored ones? What are the standards? Are principles articulated? Are they followed?
Most importantly – should we ever allow the same transgressions of the Main Stream Media into “our side” of New Media for the sake of harmony? Should we exempt anyone from the same self-scrutiny that we can only wish the Main Stream Media would adopt?
Those last two questions are where the rub between The Trenches and others exists. It is what these vague tweets going back and forth are about.
The issue at hand: Is it wrong to confront people on “our side” for abusing trust? Apparently it is. It is the sort of wrong that seems to warrant some sort of exclusion and exile from “The Conservative Cause.”
We could not see things more differently. The failure to address the moral compromises that create distortions, sabotage stories, delay action ‘until a better time’ and mute voices is precisely the mechanism that has handed our liberties to an insatiable governing class.
Now are there people “in our trench” beyond scrutiny? Absolutely not. Can Brooks Bayne be an ass? Absolutely. Does that make him wrong? No. Nor does that make him right.
PRINCIPLES NOT PERSONALITIES
Again – this comes down to principles not personalities. We at The Trenches are all free agents. Yes – we coordinate. We help each other on research and we help each other get the word out. And yes – Brooks is the founder and standard bearer. But people are free to come and go as they please and express disagreement both internally and externally. All of that happened this week and we are told that should embarrass us.
Thing is – Brooks has a big personality – that’s why we love him. He demonstrates that free speech has to be exercised to be preserved. When you limit your right of free speech to only saying non-offensive things then you have exchanged that right for a privilege – a privilege extended to you by the most easily offended and their ever wavering standards. Fuck that.
If the way to avoid all scrutiny in New Media is to counter any criticism, however conveyed, however minor, as “an attack on Conservatism” (or worse – an attack on a dead man who cannot weigh in on the subject) then New Media is no more fit to counter your growing government than the Main Stream Media. It simply becomes yet another institution, however small, with people jockeying for recognition and limelight as your time, liberties and opportunity are squandered. When those people then to go as far as to counter-attack so as to exclude actual Conservatives from “Conservatism” then you are not only dis-served, you are dismissed.
The insistence that we all must obey some vague standard of unity and overlook serious malpractice because an election looms only underscores the risk we run of winning an election while losing yet more Liberties. The same voices that misdirect your attention now will do so after the election (should it be won) as it heaps praise on the new leader and overlooks his transgressions in the process of his “house training.”
The Trenches knows precisely who we are at war with – the post-modern, neo-Marxist Left. But we also know who can be relied upon as comrades in that fight.
If we have learned anything in the last few weeks it is that some folks of influence are more allied with each other than with the larger fight. That assertion may cause many to scream “foul” but the facts speak plainly. Perhaps many simply allow friendships, or the desire for new friendships, to overwhelm their better judgment. Nonetheless, complaints about “fighting fellow conservatives” and “employing playground tactics” have become self parody if one looks at the indulgent tweets and blog posts of the last 48 hours.
In this process we have pulled many punches and spared personalities. You will notice that, in this post, we have avoided stating names here except those of our members. Yet we have been accused repeatedly of trying to drag down / destroy / impugn and otherwise attack “fellow conservatives.” While we don’t agree with those statements (or even that these are all “conservatives” being scrutinized) we recognize a simple fact: It isn’t that people don’t have the stomach for the fight – it’s that they don’t have time for it right now.
So we will take this up at a later time – probably after the election. Should we have a new president and intrepid reporters compete to discover what his favorite color is or whose pictures will adorn the Oval Office we will then press the issue further. If you have to rely on New Media for a straight story then New Media will have to develop some measure of self-scrutiny. That will be a time when more people can follow the details. In the meantime we will continue to gather the facts and and contact those involved to give us their side of things. As for those who have publicly embraced those involved without knowing any details – well now there is time to correct that.
Should these allegations prove false we stand by principles and high standards – we will post full and unequivocal retractions. We owe you and all others that commitment to the highest standards. We will not hold others in New Media to standards that we don’t follow.
IS THIS AN OFFER OF TRUCE? NO – IT IS A CALL TO ARMS.
We won’t relent. Nor should anyone. The price of complacency is too high.
When one looks at the stifling debt that the next generation of Americans must confront – a debt doubled in one term of Obama’s Administration – you see how we as Conservatives have failed our sons and daughters.
- We failed them when we allowed our Congress to borrow $4 out of every $10 that the Federal Government has recently spent;
- We failed them when we allowed our President to sign away more of our rights and adopt “kill lists” with Americans on them;
- We failed them when we allowed our Senate to refuse for several years to adopt a budget;
- We failed them when we allowed Justices to be appointed to the Supreme Court who see The People as cattle to be taxed and tended by their betters in government;
- We failed when we allowed state governments to yield more and more of their lawmaking discretion to the Federal Government in exchange for access to Federal Funds.
In sum, when we failed to confront those who abused our trust and allowed them to corrupt our institutions and whittle away our liberties we failed generations of Americans who came before us and generations yet to come. We will fail them no more, regardless of what party or person occupies any seat of power in any of our institutions spanning government to media.
Nor will we fail you. We know those seeking to lead battle – those who want to be at the front of the charge – are apt to be run over by the mass of warriors behind them should they try to slow the pace, slacken the fight or indulge the limelight. Should we fail you we expect to be run over.