Friday, August 5, 2011

Two Schools Of Thought

NRO on Friday (8/5) featured a surprising column praising two female celebrities of conservative opinion, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. The surprise is that it was written by Conrad Black, a member of the Analytical School of conservative thinkers. For Analysts, a group that includes George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Ramesh Ponnuru, rational argument is paramount. Derisive put-downs are secondary, though in the hands of the sharp-witted Will, Krauthammer, Black and others, very effective.

Coulter and Ingraham belong to the Incendiary School. This group includes the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Incendiary-ists also utilize persuasive logic, (Coulter is particularly good at this, as Black points out), though merely as a vehicle for ad hominem attacks. They live to insult and enrage.

Rarely does either group have much to do with the other. Indeed, National Review, generally an Analytical publication, banished Coulter from its pages when, shortly after 9/11, she recommended converting all Muslims to Christianity.

Black understands that Coulter's outrageousness is carefully calculated to disturb all the right people.

The mindless reflexiveness with which the soft Left responds to Coulter, especially, is premeditated by her and is a vastly entertaining send-up of the boring, high-minded liberals that she can turn on like a spigot at will, to her own amusement and profit.

Black, in summarizing Coulter's and Ingraham's philosophy, provides a concise manifesto of American conservatism.

Most conservative commentators attack high taxes, meddlesome government, deficit spending, and foreign adventurism, and leave it at that. They are essentially Coolidgeists: laissez-faire, individualistic, agnostic isolationists. Ingraham and Coulter share most of that ambition to roll back the state and the depredations of taxes, but they are not unrealistic about the great world largely full of countries and people that do not wish America well. And they know that the backbone of this civilization is composed of the Judeo-Christian ethos and belief, the spirit of enterprise, the notion of service to the nation, the pursuit of literacy in all things, a carefully directed martial capability and spirit, and the rule of law (which they do not confuse with the racketeering of gonzo prosecutors, and the national addiction to frivolous and vexatious litigation).

Coulter's characterization of FDR as a socialist draws criticism from Black who is a rare conservative admirer of the New Deal and its author. Otherwise, he is unabashedly enthusiastic about her and Ingraham.

There is nothing like them in other countries, nor much like them in this one...They are outstanding bearers of that timeless message that has reprehensibly few public champions, certainly not including the incumbent president.

Speaking of FDR, here's a quote by Henry Morgenthau, his Secretary of the Treasury.

"We are spending more money than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot."

At least one current Democrat agrees. This from former Clinton and Obama economic team member, Larry Summers.

"...if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.”

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