Don’t Let Faux Intellectuals Tell you What to Think
- 28 July 2006 by Author 0 Comments
Don’t Let Faux Intellectuals Tell you What to Think
By Richard Larsen
Published Idaho State Journal – July 28, 2006
Labels abound in this disparate political climate. Regrettably, some labels easily morph into little more than name calling like 1st graders casting about aspersions in the playground. Sometimes a more fundamental and civilized review of labels is warranted, especially when faux intellectuals well beyond their realm of intellectual competence attempt to do so with nothing more than a drive-by methodology. I’m not sure how a faux intellectual can begin to explicate what a conservative is. Especially when the level of naivete or abject ignorance rises to such a level as we saw in an editorial last Sunday.
Apart from the incoherent rants against conservatives in general, two quasi-coherent themes emerged. The first was in regard to the war on terror. In context with today’s political climate, a fundamental tenet of conservatism is acceptance of the reality of extrinsic threats to western civilization and America in particular. Rather than perceiving our government as the ultimate enemy (or perhaps more specifically, this administration), we recognize that there are Islamic extremists who want to kill infidels (us) and hurt our country. Of necessity, this justifies to some degree an expansion of executive powers in the ongoing effort to prevent additional attacks on citizens and destruction of U.S. infrastructure.
Conservatives, for the most part, don’t perceive the Patriot Act as the enemy, we view those trying to circumvent the Patriot Act as the enemies. The Preamble to the Constitution states that the reason for forming a “more perfect union,” includes providing for the “common defense,” and to “promote the general welfare” of that union. We therefore see the primary function of the government to protect its citizens and our interests.
As controversial as the Patriot Act has been to a few ill-informed citizens, including a few in our midst, every tenet has been upheld as constitutional. And despite all the vilification, not even the ACLU can point to a single abuse of civil liberties under the Act. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner in March stated that “…zero…[is the] number of substantiated USA Patriot Act civil liberties violations. Extensive congressional oversight found no violations… Intense public scrutiny has yet to find a single civil liberty abuse. Despite many challenges, no federal court has declared unconstitutional any of the Patriot Act provisions Congress is renewing.”
Are you less free today because of the Patriot Act? Only if you’re engaging in activities that are questionable and trigger the “sneak and peak” provisions of the Act which allows for review of your phone records without notifying you. I have no fewer liberties and freedoms now than I did six years ago, unless I start calling or receiving calls from known terrorists, moving large chunks of money to terrorist sympathy groups, or making purchases of large quantities of bomb-making materials. I guess we have an ISU professor who wants to do these things, because his rights are being impeded. Let’s hope he doesn’t have tenure!
Do these provisions make the Patriot Act the “next best thing to a huckleberry smoothie?” No, but it sure beats the heck out of sitting around on our duffs and waiting until we get hit again! The cry after the 9/11 commission hearings was “connect the dots.” How can you possibly connect the dots unless our intelligence and law enforcement communities can gather the dots and then talk with each other about them? That’s what the Patriot Act facilitates.
The only other lucid complaint against conservatives from Sunday’s piece is that we wish to “impose our wills on society.” The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment is intended for all religions. For 200 years, we’ve been able to enjoy unparalleled religious liberty in this country.
For the most part, such freedom has been extended to all except for some ugly exceptions like the mid 19th century when Mormons were “exterminated” from Missouri and Illinois. But now, it seems that anything that carries a hint of being Christian is being forced from our society. Crosses, prayers, “one nation under God,” “In God We Trust,” are all under assault by individuals and groups who think that the free exercise clause only applies to non-Christians or atheists. So tell me, really, who’s doing the imposing here? It surely doesn’t seem to be the Christians, or the conservatives!
The ultimate in hypocrisy was when the author of Sunday’s piece called for “tolerance” and “robust public discourse.” For an example of his idea of tolerance and public discourse, check out his personal invectives and infantile calumny on the ISU Blog of the Journal Website. Click on July 22 on the calendar and select the piece “Faux conservatives spread fear with healthy dollops of ignorance, hysteria.” Very revealing!
Next time a faux academic tries to tell you what you believe, or what’s wrong with this country, ask for some evidence to support his position. Anyone can spew vituperations and allegations. But without evidence, it’s valueless. Especially if they claim they’re just “calling a spade a spade,” get their definition of what a spade is, because it just might be the antithesis of tolerance, civil public discourse, and civic virtues that they claim to embrace.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.