How to Win Our (Un)Civil War

By | 2018-01-12T17:10:56+00:00 January 12th, 2018|
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Ken Masugi, whom I have known and respected since we met while studying under the late Harry Jaffa during President Reagan’s first term, thinks my recent articles betray a lack of understanding of the current crisis. In “The Rescue of Flight 93,” Masugi contends America is at an existential moment, what Jaffa would have called “a crisis of the regime,” wherein its very existence as a genuinely liberal democracy is under assault. The only principled and spirited response, he says, is to fight. He supports Donald Trump primarily because Trump is a fighter and opposes, or at least seems to oppose, those who seek to destroy American values. He fears that my recent writings for American Greatness do not convey a similar understanding of what is at stake.

I think Masugi misunderstands my argument. I did not take issue with his assessment of the moment we are in. Recognizing the seriousness of that moment, however, should also entail a serious examination of the nature of existential conflicts and crafting a serious plan for victory. My pieces were meant to draw attention to both issues.

Existential conflicts always involve a choice between uncompromisable alternatives. To use the Civil War conflict as an example, slavery was either wrong, and thus inconsistent with an American regime founded upon the idea that all men are created equal, or it was right, and hence the idea of human equality was not an essential feature of America. The smartest warriors in this battle, Lincoln and Calhoun, understood this and argued in those terms.

This argument could be settled only by the elimination of the other within the context of democratic argumentation. Calhoun’s ablest descendant, Stephen Douglas, sought to do this by making democratic choice—”popular sovereignty”—the lodestar of the regime. By making choice a higher principle than equality, Douglas thought he could gain sufficient public support in the North to place abolitionist sentiment on the course of ultimate extinction, thereby preserving the Union and maintaining slavery. Lincoln sought to deny this, contending that democratic choice could only be right if understood against the backdrop of human equality, a belief which meant that slavery must be considered to be immoral.

Lincoln sought to avoid war, in part, by tolerating and even sometimes speaking to what is now considered to be race prejudice, seeming to agree that there was something intolerable, for example, in miscegenation—particularly when his audience was of the sort that was vocal about such racial prejudice. He also sought to assuage the South by reminding them that the Constitution prevented a democratic majority from abolishing slavery where it existed without a constitutional amendment. Given the fact that amendments require ratification by three-fourths of the states, that effectively meant that it could only be abolished with the South’s own consent. But once the expansion of slavery was halted by a popular majority, it would be clear that slavery had been placed on the course of ultimate extinction and hence increasingly ambitious politicians from the South would cease to make slavery agitation a part of their political platforms

I believe that supporters of the Flight 93, “we are at war” narrative have failed to grasp the logical consequences of that stance. War means war, and victory in war means one’s opponents can no longer contest the field of battle. To win in a democratic sense, as Lincoln and Douglas sought to do, one must define one’s argument in such a way so that the victory one achieves is both total and lasting. That in turn means creating a coalition broader than those who already agree with all, or even most, of your own principles. Lincoln and Douglas both sought to do that. I do not see advocates of the Flight 93 position always arguing in ways that demonstrate they are cognizant of that fact.

Both Lincoln and Douglas strove to attract the votes of men who did not see the existential nature of the conflict and sought, instead, to avoid it. Similarly, there are many Americans who do not see our politics as a fight between good and evil. Their votes will determine which side, progressives or conservatives, wins the conflict. If we are in a Flight 93 moment, if we do need to fight to preserve American ideals, then it behooves conservatives to try to attract those people’s votes rather than to denigrate them as “squishes” or as other sorts of undesirables whose company we deign to keep. That requires more than shouting our own principles more loudly and more clearly. It means speaking in such a way that can appeal to these voters and invite them to be a part of our coalition.

That does not mean abandoning principle. It does mean understanding how to talk with and attract people who do not necessarily share your core premises. That in turn requires some degree of toleration, some degree of kindness, some degree of inclusion. Is your neighbor who thinks abortion ought to be legal in the first trimester but not thereafter, your enemy or a potential ally? Is your co-worker who thinks everyone should have decent health coverage but doesn’t think the government should run the health care system a squish or a potential convert? These are the questions I want us to ask and answer, as I think these are the questions that answering can help determine victory or defeat.

The alternative is more frightening. A political minority (and ours is a minority) can win an existential battle, but only by recourse to legal means to suppress one’s opponents’ basic rights. That is the specter I sought to raise in my essay The Flight 93 Decade. If you do not want to win by creating a new democratic supermajority, then political victory will require eliminating one’s opponents’ ability to politically organize. That in turn means the proscription of certain types of speech, the removal of certain political disputes from the political process, and, when challenged, the arrest of people who defy these edicts. This is what happens in cities and in nations who cannot resolve existential disputes peacefully. One cannot avoid this conclusion if one is serious about waging a war over existential questions.

The Civil War’s aftermath shows us how this transpires. The South’s decision to secede and Lincoln’s decision to go to war to maintain the Union meant America’s existential question would be settled on the battlefield, with bullets and not with ballots. The South’s defeat was followed by Reconstruction, which prevented white Southern majorities from re-entering the Union with full political rights until they had sworn fealty to the new political order. The three Reconstruction Era amendments permanently removed the question of slavery from political debate. The North won the existential conflict by forcibly destroying the ability of its foes to contest the field of democratic battle.

I do not think that Masugi or most advocates of the Flight 93 viewpoint want to do this and most understand that the battles, if they are to be won, will be won through through democratic politics. This will require the skill of a Lincoln not just to mobilize the 30 percent of Americans who do see conservative and American values under assault, but to add to them another 25 to 30 percent who may not see this conflict clearly but can see their values more clearly upheld by a conservative supermajority than by a progressive one.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt remade America by doing exactly this. He cunningly crafted a public New Deal that told conservative Democrats and once-Republican working-class voters that he was simply restoring the republic they always had supported. They believed him and gave him sweeping landslides in the 1932 and 1936 elections. After those elections, every ambitious politician knew that to relitigate the question of federal power was to court political annihilation. To this day even the most conservative politicians, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, will deny they seek to undermine the core regulatory and spending programs that the New Deal and its aftermath ushered into existence. That’s how you win an existential conflict through democratic means: even opponents who in their hearts might seek to overturn your order cannot say so openly.

I am an American and a conservative. I believe that all men, meaning all human beings, are created equal. I believe that this means all people ought to be able to live lives of their own choice, subject to the requirements that they do so of their own effort so far as possible and so long as they do not deny the rights of others so empowered and so limited to do likewise. I believe that the freedoms of the first amendment—the freedom to speak what you believe, to print what you believe, to worship God according to the dictates of your conscience, to organize politically to advance your views, and the right to petition your elected representatives to enact laws based on such views—are fundamental to a regime dedicated to freedom and human equality. I stand ready to fight to preserve that regime and those ideals for so long as I live. Everything I write should be understood against these fundamental beliefs.

Aristotle begins his classic work the Nicomachean Ethics by noting that every act aims at some good, and that the aim of strategy is victory. I hope by my writings to help Americans and conservatives to craft a strategy that not only aims at victory but achieves it. And I view Ken Masugi as I hope he views me, an ally in that battle.

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By | 2018-01-12T17:10:56+00:00 January 12th, 2018|

About the Author:

Henry Olsen
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank in Washington D.C. He is also an editor at UnHerd.com where he writes about populism and politics around the world. He is the co-author, with Dante Scala, of The Four Faces of the Republican Party (Palgrave, 2015) and is the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism (HarperCollins, 2017).

61 Comments

  1. Stick January 12, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Henry, the War of Denied Secession had little to do with slavery. It had everything to do with the Upper Midwest’s new wealth and the territorial demands that the mouth of the Mississippi not be controlled by a foreign nation. Basically, Lincoln, like Obama, was in over his head on day one. Had he had been wise he would have avoided war. He was not wise.

    • John from America January 12, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      This comment is exhibit One on why the war could not be avoided.

    • Marshall Gill January 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      The Union spent more on the war than buying the liberty of every slave held in the South and those still held in the North. Of course, you don’t have federal supremacy that way and 600,000 people don’t die but imbeciles will still cheer Lincoln as a hero.

      Many people are ignorant of the fact that three Northern states had slavery throughout the war. Hearing those that do know about it and try and still contort the war into “Freedom for the slaves or death” just makes one realize the success of the “educational” establishment to indoctrinate rather than educate.

      • Lucius_Severus_Pertinax January 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        There is a caveat to your remarks- In Kentucky and, especially, Maryland and Delaware, Slavery was already dying in practice, while still technically legal. Delaware, for example, according to the Census of 1860, had some 1900 free blacks , but only around 120 slaves; nearly all of them in domestic service. The situation in Maryland was comparable.

        My point is, in those States, the “Peculiar Institution” had become more peculiar than most (White) people in those States were comfortable supporting.

        The case of Kentucky was mixed- Pro-Slavery elements of the White population were mainly concentrated in areas of intense tobacco cultivation. Kentucky vainly attempted to remain Neutral the first year of the war.

        The War was, however, NEVER about White Supremacy; neither side of the conflict (aside from a scattering of the most radical Abolitionists) had any issue about THAT.

        • Marshall Gill January 14, 2018 at 5:35 am

          Fair enough. The reason that the three States need mention is because it is evidence that the Civil War was about more than just slavery. Their existence is proof that the Union didn’t go to war to “free the slaves” as is apparently claimed in most history classrooms today.

          I believe that the current attempt to frame the war as one side fighting for Liberty and the other side fighting for slavery is an attempt to smear States rights. They have basically put forth the idea that if our country allowed Alabama to opt out of Social Security, for instance, the Very. Next. Step. would be human slavery.

          • creative_dude January 14, 2018 at 9:45 pm

            South Carolina had a statement about states rights and why they were leaving the union. The document mentioned slavery over ninety times and addressed ‘other’ states rights issues less than ten. You will have to excuse me for believing that South Carolina started a war at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 to keep slaves as slaves.

          • Marshall Gill January 15, 2018 at 5:31 am

            So you admit that there were reasons other than slavery and then insist that “SC started a war to keep slaves”. It is almost as if you don’t even understand the meaning of your own words. Probably because you don’t.

          • creative_dude January 15, 2018 at 6:41 am

            Sorry for your lack of reading comprehension. I repeat for those with limited understanding. Slavery as the reason for war over 90 times in one document, others states issues for starting war less than 10 Slavery over 10 to 1 in their own words. Dude, they said they were going to war for slavery.

          • rbs76 January 15, 2018 at 2:28 am

            The war was about slavery. However, the North conflated into a broader notion that no nation conceived with a bill of rights, and limited powers distributed carefully over limited different levels of government could endure if any of these limited sovereign entities could merely exit everytime they had sharp disagreement. The Union must endure until a second constiutional convention or it would shatter and endure not at all.

            The South thought it could have most of its cake and eat it too. The Richmond government thought one break would do the trick and soon found many of its substates pushing for secession from the secession over taxation, currency, and conscription. Some wanting their own alliance with foreign powers that the Confederacy was reasonably wary of, some wanting to combine Napolean III and Mexico. The Southerners conflated all property to be only 5th amendment property, if any court anywhere had treated it as so, it could never be otherwise. Not just slavery, but today water could not be property in some states and a natural common resource in others.

            On these tenets, slavery was cast for bitter disagreement. But, one thing is clear, if it had been any item besides slavery cast onto these tenets, no war would have occurred, a compromise would have been found that avoided war. So slavery caused the war and, at the end of the day, it was an inability to compromise that did so. The war may have been necessary – only death and subjugation might “compromise” the uncompromisable.

            Today’s issues are nowhere near as dire. Constitutional and bill of rights freedoms of the citizenry have been hammered by things like grammatical illogical inrerpretations of the “general welfare” clause. But, it need not be fought on that basis. Trump is proving on the ground that blue model sending of decisions on valuable economic assts to very superficial and specially interested federal employees has yielded a massive damage and destruction to those assets when they are needed most. In a time when technology can turn special personally self-financed hard insights into social value dozens of time the economic input, Obama had proven that the government can take economic entities and harm them so so much they will never provide to the son what they provided to the father. The constitution need not battle its own fights, the essence of modern reality backs these principles a thousand times over. FDR takeover can be untangled as it just so obviously does not work in our world.

    • Lucius_Severus_Pertinax January 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      The War had everything to do with Slavery, and through Slavery, Money. The “Fire-Eaters” in the South were fully aware that if Slavery could not expand, Slavery must die; and with it the fortunes of the South’s economic and political Elite.

  2. Joel Mathis January 12, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I do not agree with everything Henry Olsen says. But I am encouraged by the fact that his writing appears at AmGreatness. I hope saying so does not undermine his efforts.

  3. Jeffrey Cook-Coyle January 12, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Mr. Olsen,

    Please keep reaching out. You are not a clanging gong! Only love (and God’s grace) will hold our country together.Be strong and courageous!

    • Brittany January 13, 2018 at 2:55 am

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  4. Frank Natoli January 12, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Is your neighbor who thinks abortion ought to be legal in the first trimester but not thereafter, your enemy or a potential ally?
    Fascinating question. But why is it never asked in reverse? That someone who understands life is life regardless of utterly arbitrary milestones is a potential ally and not enemy?
    The answer is: only conservatives must compromise their principles, neither liberals nor none-of-the-above need question their own beliefs.

    • Marshall Gill January 14, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Of course he chooses abortion. You silly people thinking that a human life is a human life just need to compromise! Those who claim that what is obviously and scientifically a “living human individual” is just a “clump of cells” mean well!! They really care about their ability to have sex without consequences. Who doesn’t want to compromise principles with people who don’t take personal responsibility for their own actions?!!

      And as you correctly note, no communist “principles” which are to be compromised are mentioned.

  5. Doctor Bass Monkey January 12, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    There are two paradigms that are inherently incompatible striving for dominance within America. Diametrically opposed ideologies have no ground to compromise on. It will not be resolved democratically. Either one will come to dominate the levers of government and crush its opposition or it will be resolved militarily. The question is will it be too late before enough people recognize this to do anything about it.

  6. Patrick Kelley January 12, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Can the south’s issue of slavery and the north’s issue of freedom be compared to the left’s desire for open border immigration and the more conservative need for border security in a wall, for the left’s/Islam’s desire of totalitarian rule and the more conservative/American desire for freedom, love of God, so integral to our Constitution?

    • Phil2Viking January 15, 2018 at 7:45 am

      70% of illegal immigrants come to the US legally and over-extend their tourist or student visa (40% if illegal immigrants fly into the US on an airplane).

      Spending billions and billions of our tax dollars for a wall is not going to stop that. Much smarter to spend 1/1000th if that on more Border Patril Agents and drones than an idiotic wall through mountainous terrain.

  7. ADM64 January 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    “After those elections, every ambitious politician knew that to relitigate the question of federal power was to court political annihilation. To this day even the most conservative politicians, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, will deny they seek to undermine the core regulatory and spending programs that the New Deal and its aftermath ushered into existence. That’s how you win an existential conflict through democratic means: even opponents who in their hearts might seek to overturn your order cannot say so openly.”

    Well, we’re not going to restore a proper constitutional order without saying so openly at some point. The New Deal was a skillful progressive attack on every fundamental principle on which the country was founded. The crisis of our political system comes, like that regarding slavery before 1861, from the complete incompatibility between the principles of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence on the one hand and those of a progressive, social democratic, mixed economy welfare-entitlement state on the other. They are irreconcilable. So, while I am all for trying to persuade people of this, we will not do so if we think we can somehow keep the New Deal-Lite. The principles of the New Deal, if consistently held as fundamental, must ultimately rollback and trump those of the country.

    What always gets me on this subject, and with due respect to Mr. Olsen, is that the Left DID change the country by actually attacking its principles – or at least challenging them even as it claimed to be for them – and did so successfully, but those of us on the Right are expected to do so by stealth and apology or by not challenging them at all. Hasn’t worked out too well.

    • Lucius_Severus_Pertinax January 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      The main problem with modern Lib/Progism is its inability to produce people capable of governing themselves.

  8. JHX January 12, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    OP types a lot but doesn’t really say much of substance. Looking back through his past writings, it is difficult to read “The Flight 93 Decade” and come away thinking anything but the author may harbor NeverTrump leanings. Is at least as terrified of the republican base as he is of the left, perhaps more so. And that he views contemporary republican politics with contempt, even going so far as to suggest a third party may be necessary

    I have seen noting to justify the claims of a lasting cultural and political win for republicans on the scale of FDR’s new deal. I strongly suspect if the author became less verbose and stated his ideas plainly, they would be as wanting as the failed republican policies which created this mess in the first place.

    A proper federalism would end this squabble, but the left has cast it off as completely as they have thrown away objective reality itself. There is no compromise with such people. The contemporary left aren’t “liberal” in any way, they’re totalitarians. The road forward is exactly what Trump has done (or tried to do) to date: Remove establishment self dealing from republican politics and recapture swaths of the moderate left that desire a functional political party that views every policy through a lens of what is best for the greatest number of Americans in the working and middle classes.

  9. Party of Lincoln January 13, 2018 at 5:33 am

    Mr. Olsen has offered sober commentary that Trump supporters should carefully consider regarding the nature of consent in a republic founded on a constitutional guarantee of the protection of unalienable rights.

    When President Trump suggests the power of the federal government be used to threatens to challenge the license of a broadcast network on the basis of his discomfort with their coverage of him or that he describes disapproving coverage of him as “fake news”, this is a real “Flight 93” threat to our democratic republic. Of course everyone who reads this blog knows that Trump’s threats to shut down critical media outlets are empty threats but these are threats that must be faced down with contempt here, not silence.

    The 2016 presidential election was never a “Flight 93 Election” — a choice between the “certain death” of the republic (if Hillary won) or at least a chance of its survival (if Trump won). And it’s certainly not the case that, as Trump’s critics would have us believe, that it’s Trump’s presidency that now represents a mortal threat to the republic.

    Imagine the outrage among conservatives, appropriate outrage, had Hillary gone about the business of the serving as potus in the manner that Trump has. As Trump has been, she would largely have been the servant of Wall Street, but it is inconceivable that had she threatened to deny a broadcast license renewal to Fox News because of Sean Hannity’s nightly critical commentary that American Greatness would have been silent. Who here would have stood by Hillary’s side had she argued that there were “many sides” in the white supremacy debate? It’s hard to imagine that, other than blogs like Daily Stormer, that pro-Trump blogs like American Greatness would have come to her rescue, as American Greatness has done with Trump.

    Genuine conservatives should disavow the apocalyptic vision of “The Flight 93 Election” and now accept the reality that we have a president who is personally flawed (but who isn’t flawed?) and who has abandoned virtually the entirety of his campaign populism and embraced a conventional corporate Wall Street policy agenda. This is a president with whom Democrats can reach bipartisan agreements on issues such as immigration and the rebuilding of our nation’s infrastructure. Whether such bipartisan agreements will be reached remains to be seen and whether such agreements would be desirable is another question altogether), but any hope for a radical reordering of the republic, or a deconstruction of the administrative state has long been extinguished. What hope there is left is an agenda that Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan would have been proud of, although all three would not have approved of Trump’s rhetorical flourishes.

    • rbs76 January 15, 2018 at 3:03 am


      When President Trump suggests the power of the federal government be used to threatens to challenge the license of a broadcast network on the basis of his discomfort with their coverage of him or that he describes disapproving coverage of him as “fake news”, this is a real “Flight 93″ threat to our democratic republic. Of course everyone who reads this blog knows that Trump’s threats to shut down critical media outlets are empty threats but these are 4threats that must be faced down with contempt here, not silence.”

      Any evidence the Communications Act was setup up to esconse propanda operations with permanent rights to broadcast statements that are demonstrably factually false? Trump my be a bit of a lose cannon, but the TV broadcast frequencies clearly do not spread verifiable hard data but endless conjectures and hotly held opinions. Maybe every single one of these frequencies shoud be opened to be leased by highest bidder every 3 years.

  10. jaimelmanzano January 13, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    My own thoughts cluttered following your essay. Put simply, they relate to the definition ofliberalism and democracy. For example, the definition of liberalism is loose, like the lips of a moose. To my way of thinking it rests on individual, independent thinking, and minimal government. Democracy is even looser. Government by a majority of voters is simplistic, and unsatisfactory. To work, I think it requires a lot more requirements -freedoms, tolerance, and the discipline to accept the results, who votes, when, etc., complicating and confusing, the practice. Testing its efficacy in small units – family/neighborhood, town/state/etc. – helps avoid big errors, and finding out what works. The more ‘common law’ the better.

  11. Steve January 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    In hindsight at least, the end of slavery was inevitable, with or without the Civil War. What that war did was prevent the crack up of the United States. Moral truths aside, in a number of years, demographics will convert Texas and Florida into Democrat majorities. Conservatives will lose control of all aspects of the federal government. Trump’s presidency will most likely only slow down this unstoppable trend. There is no talking a trend out of its destiny, as this article might be suggesting.

    With the Democrats back in power, this nation will resume its devolution into a banana republic. The 20 trillion dollar debt will balloon into 100 trillion because of mismanagement, and then the dollar will collapse.

    Would anyone be willing to pay that off when the Chinese decide that they want their money’s worth? With the dollar now worthless, they will demand our land as payment. What will the states do then? Why refuse to pay and secede of course!

    Folks, the Big Crack Up is coming. It can’t be stopped. Just move yourself and your family to the best spot possible.

    • Marshall Gill January 14, 2018 at 5:37 am

      When the Chinese want their money’s worth we will say “oh yeah? What are you gonna do about it?” When you owe the bank $1M the bank owns you. When you own the bank $10T, you own the bank.

      • Steve January 14, 2018 at 9:19 am

        When the federal government owes that money, it’s a little different than Trump finding his way out from a reckless casino venture.

        The states will realize that the fed has become a noose around their collective necks. When the dollar becomes worthless, they will have to break up, perhaps into 5 or 6 separate nations.

        The more conservative ones will severely restrict inbound migration, because of a fear that those may destroy the character of their new republic in much the same way illegal immigration helped destroy USA.

        At that time, you would already want to be in that conservative new republic instead of trying to get in from say, a poverty stricken and bankrupt California.

    • rbs76 January 15, 2018 at 2:52 am

      Cultural identities of peoples outlast political identities. It is up for grabs, but the Hispanic-American citizenry community has a good chance of going the way of the Irish-Amweican and Italian-American communities, very dependable moderate conservatives today. The chicago machine howls, but most of the Irish americans who escaped to the suburbs vote republican. At one point, the entire conservative host of the SCOTUS was catholic. Hispanics remain mostly catholic and orient their economic world to the family, not the individual and not the political host or “ideals”.

      pj o’rourke once asked why most of traders on the NYSE weremicks and wops. Answer, they were cheap and started as runner’s when the WASPS retired they were very protective of the turf they knew better than anyone. He asked about the Hispanics, was told they would be the next generation.

      Hispanics will grab theirs and they will not be handing it over to people outside their family. Will make the WASPS look like Mother Theresa. Guess what, in the battle they will discover the constitution.

  12. ek ErilaR January 14, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Of course, winning the election was just the beginning of the counter-revolution and certainly the war will be fought at the polls and not on battlefields for the simple reason that neither side has armed forces at their command.

    For these reasons, we should look to the circumstances of the Second English Civil War (1648-9) for guidance and analogies.

    Having defeated the high church Anglicans and Charles I in the first civil war, the second war was between the victorious Presbyterian and Independent Parliamentarians. The issues were should there be an established church and, if so, who would control the church. Further issues involved the nature of the government that would replace the Stuart monarchy.

    In general, the Presbyterians were the party of the haut bourgeoises and the Independents were the party of the petty bourgeoises. The Presbyterians routinely denounced the Independents as heretics and rabble and the Independents routinely denounced the Presbyterians as oligarchs and tyrants even worse than old Catholic and Anglican nobility and Archbishop Laud. Hobbes and Locke and, indeed, all modern whigs are the descendants of the Presbyterian faction. The Independents were the first modern populist constitutional democratic republicans.

    The Independents won the Second Civil war because Cromwell had been busy packing the New Model Army with Independents since 1645 and the Presbyterians, who controlled Parliament, had no army and were forced rely on Scots Engagers, whom Cromwell and the NMA crushed at Preston.

    Sadly, the 17th C. Independent’s reach exceeded their grasp, they could not form a stable government and the Presbyterian faction, called first Grandees and then Whigs struck a deal with Charles II and have controlled the English/British government ever since.

    By happy circumstance it turned out that the English American colonies were chiefly settled by Independents and, after a period of Babylonian captivity by the Presbyterians the ended between 1690-1700, Independent constitutional democratic republicanism re-emerged in the 1770s.

  13. werwere January 14, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    If you really believed all human beings are equal you would support a Constitutional amendment to change to a proportional representation system so that every person’s vote actually counts and actually counts the same as everyone else’s.

    The reason you do not do this is because you do not actually believe that all human beings are created equal. You think the votes of people clustered in cities or ethnic/racial minorities should count for less in representational terms in the federal/state government, as they do right now.

    Thus what you really believe in is actually tyranny of the minority / dictatorship by those who have the most property to use to force their will upon others. Not Democracy and certainly not equality.

  14. Phil2Viking January 14, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    Henry,

    As a progressive, I agree with what you say. Liberals have to compromise as well and many of us understand that.

    But you are no longer a typical member of the Republican Party.

    To be a part of today’s Republican Party, you must:
    1. Say and believe that President Obama was born in Kenya
    2. Say and believe that President Obama is a Muslim
    3. Be completely ok with not knowing the details of Pres. trump’s tax returns despite him being accused of money laundering with Deutsche Bank and Russian oligarchs
    4. Say and believe it is ok for a 30 year old man to chase 14 year girls at a shopping mall and stalk them at their high school
    5. Have no problem with a President who says that an immigrant’s country of origin is more important that the skills and qualifications they bring to the USA.
    6. Be ok with a religious test for immigration, a clear violation of our 1st Amendment
    7. Have no problem with a President who acts like a crazed teenager with regard to war and the preemptive use of nuclear weapons.
    8. Be ok with a President that blatantly attacks the freedom of our the press, our freedom of speech, our judges, our members of Congress, our law enforcement officers, families of soldiers killed in battle, prisoners of war and any other American citizen he feels like attacking.

    Today’s Republicans are not good people, do believe in truth and do not believe in equality. Today’s Republicans believe in a totalitarian executive that has no responsibility to answer to the Congress, to judges or to journalists.

    • rbs76 January 15, 2018 at 2:35 am

      Utter nonsense. Misstating 9 opinion and the conflating single one held by a few and painting it everyone else.

      Just idiotic nonsense.

      • Name January 15, 2018 at 6:01 am

        every one of his points bears serious consideration. thats not nonsense. nonsense are the contradictory statements out of trump and,his followers.

    • Name January 15, 2018 at 5:58 am

      10.accepting an ends justifys the means to install your ideology.

  15. Trapper John January 15, 2018 at 1:26 am

    It isn’t just the left or progressives you’re struggling against. Many Americans, moderate conservative like myself view Trump as a threat to the founding principles of the nation. You mention how you value freedom to speak, freedom to print, freedom of religion, freedom to rally. I value those too, and I’m willing to fight for them as well. Thing is I view Trump the single greatest threat to those values. How can Trump support truly conservative ideals and yet attack those freedoms so frequently? How can he be trusted by the public when he lies so constantly? We have a nation that is functioning in two different realities right now. Function on their own sets of facts. Until we all accept the same basic facts, until we can all trust that our president puts the values our nation was founded on and what’s best for the country ahead of his own personal interests then we can’t reconcile this current division.

    • rbs76 January 20, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      If you read the press from 1790 to 1860 and read the political speeches of that time, you would keep allthis present day bombbast in perspectivr. Andrew Jackson makes Trump look a piker, but, ole’ Andy added things like threats to kill the equivalent of Chuck Schumer to the mix. Jackson carried a bullet from a political disagreement he had with Thomas Hart Benson till the day he died.

      The issue with Trump and facts is that Trump will not distract himself having staff get the details about how opponent “facts” were narrowly chosen to put forward out of hundreds of conflicting facts, how the truth was twisted and tortured beyond recognition. I fault him for this, it is a base staff job to out such distorted “facts”. But the predecessors of a previous era did not have such resources at all, and a true quality political debated occurred in a wildly thriving democracy.

  16. Warren Dew January 15, 2018 at 1:35 am

    Henry Olsen: if you want to attract the votes of the pragmatic middle, start by touting accomplishments that help them. Trump’s Republican tax cut not only cut income taxes for a large majority of taxpayers; the corporate tax cut is also resulting in substantial improvements to compensation of everyday Americans. Heavier enforcement of immigration laws has boosted pay in the Texas construction industry by 30% in some areas. Removal of 35% of federal regulations has improved the health of an economy on life support. Instead of arguing with those on your own side, start reaching out to that pragmatic middle by pointing out how conservative ideas are helping them.

    • Dave781 January 15, 2018 at 5:37 am

      Removal of 35% of Federal regulations? Where did that number come from?

      And it wasn’t Trump’s tax cut, the tax cut came from Congress. Trump just took the credit.

    • Phil2Viking January 15, 2018 at 7:51 am

      Warren. I’m a progressive and I agree with you. If we currently had a Kasich or anybody else in the White House with actual economic and other results, the Republican Party would be sitting pretty.

      But the problem is Americans can’t see the good things going on because we have an immoral lunatic in the White House. If he talked more about the jobs he’s creating than attacking CNN or calling members of Congress childish names or making racist comments, things would be a lot different.

      • Warren Dew January 15, 2018 at 8:19 am

        The problem is, with a Kasich we wouldn’t have the good economic and other results. The only other candidate we’d have as good results with would be Cruz, who also got progressives’ – and RINOs’ – dander up.

        We’d have had good results with Romney, but he was rejected in 2012 and elected not to run in 2016.

        • Phil2Viking January 15, 2018 at 1:42 pm

          That does not make sense.

          If Kasich were President and cut the business regulations and signed the tax bill, how would that not create the exact same economic results?

          • Warren Dew January 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm

            Kasich would not have cut business regulations, and would likely have been satisfied with a much more timid tax bill. In addition, Kasich does not have the credibility with CEOs to push then into coughing up some of the corporate tax cut to employees in the form of raises, bonuses, and other employee compensation. Finally, Kasich would not have pushed enforcement of immigration law, so wage increases that occurred earlier in the year would not have happened.

            Basically, Kasich would not have had any significant good news to talk about.

      • Peonie January 15, 2018 at 11:22 am

        When CNN starts reporting fairly, perhaps our president will let up. I’m not holding my breath.
        Also, Kasich is a sock puppet for the establishment elite.

        • Accurite January 15, 2018 at 11:51 am

          Well said, but our progressive friend cannot see the obvious

        • Phil2Viking January 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm

          And a President that just signed into law the largest tax break in history to corporate America ($2.3 trillion) is not a sock puppet for the establishment and Wall Street elite?

          And as a reminder, 38% of our stock market is not even held by American citizens, but rather investors overseas? How is that even “America First?”

          • Warren Dew January 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm

            62% > 38%.

            More importantly, countries compete for multinationals, the taxes on their profits, and the economic benefits of their presence. Countries in Europe and elsewhere have been dropping their corporate tax rate for decades, and over the past couple of years, we’ve been starting to see movements of these companies overseas. That would have become a flood if we hadn’t cut the corporate tax rate.

            Now that our corporate tax rate is at about the global average, we shouldn’t have to worry for a while.

            If you’re interested, there’s a good article on the subject here:

            http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/368749-america-was-challenged-on-taxes-and-trump-answered-the-call

          • Peonie January 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm

            Thank you.

        • Phil2Viking January 15, 2018 at 3:08 pm

          Who gets to decide when a journalists is “fairly”?

          When a Democrat is office then they can attack Fox & Friends and Sean Hannity ad nauseum Mas when a Republican is in office they can attack CNN and The NY Times?

          How is that American?

          A politician should do their best job and let public opinion fall where it may. We do need such weak thin-skin leaders.

          • Peonie January 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm

            Absolute nonsense…
            Your head is too far in the weeds to judge fairness at all.

          • Phil2Viking January 15, 2018 at 3:32 pm

            You are entitled to your opinion.

            So am I.

            That’s America.

        • Fester N Boyle January 15, 2018 at 5:36 pm

          If Kasich knew which party he represents and belongs to he’d be President today. He would have beaten both Sanders and Clinton in the primary, and then Trump in the general.

          Compromise with any Democratic politician has been a one-way street for a long time now. No compromise, full reversal of decades of progressivism is needed. The GOP needs to be forced into becoming an opposition party, not a silent partner of the Dems. Primary out all the incumbents, do not let up. And monkey wrench Democratic primaries where possible too. That’s what they do.

          • Peonie January 15, 2018 at 5:44 pm

            100%.

  17. Jamawani January 15, 2018 at 4:59 am

    Although I believe that Ruy Teixeira’s demographic determinism is somewhat premature, the reality of a massive demographic shift in the near future is a certainty. The current iteration of racist, sexist, classist, and militarist Republicanism and the muted responses by so-called moderate Republicans to the most egregious acts by Trump and his supporters point to the ultimate demise of the Republican Party. With extreme GOP gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, and court packing of the past decade, there is no other possible strategy for progressive Democrats but to seek the complete destruction of the Republican Party. Trump has simply assured that the GOP is heading for the trash bin of history.

  18. Historybuff January 15, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Henry… you state you are a Conservative… yet you omit the most fundamental tenet of truly being a Conservative – that is, an adherence to Ethics, Integrity… and Principle.

    Henry, you will not build Conservatism on the backs of ‘flag carriers’ that are draft-dodgers, wife-beaters, adulterers, liars, and cheaters who are amoral.

    Think about it, Henry.
    HB

  19. Wayne Lusvardi January 15, 2018 at 6:11 am

    The Civil War of 1865 between the North (Republicans) versus the South (Democrats) has to be continually be re-fought. The Southern war statues may be coming down but demographics portend the South will win out.

  20. Chris Walsh January 15, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Methinks Mr. Olsen was channeling his inner Bill Kristol while cooking this tepid, tasteless and largely pointless bowl of oatmeal.

    • Fester N Boyle January 15, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Seems like some sort of swamp creature’s screed.

  21. Bedarb January 17, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Your “related post” banners prevent anyone from wanting to post to your wannabe-Breitbart edit-journo.

  22. BiDiOne January 19, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Why do you let Henry Olsen write for this website? He is pushing Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda.

  23. Tomas Pajaros January 20, 2018 at 10:41 am

    we have the media to thank for Trump. They coordinated his heavy coverage with the DNC, to prevent any mainstream Republican candidate from gaining traction. Then amazingly, the Clinton/Obama corruption of our government was apparent enough to cost her the election. Too bad, so sad.
    .
    This colors our current situation as well – the media and DNC coordinated Durbin’s sabotage of the budget-talks, and simply will not allow anyone off the Democratic reservation. Any thoughts of Republicans finding common ground with “moderate” Democrats, is a pipe dream. They simply must govern as best they can and make their case to the people. Let the rabid, divisive, name-calling, snarky Democrats die on the vine, as they have been for many elections now. Republicans need to govern responsibly, and the rest will take care of itself.

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