Friday, March 09, 2007

Sanity Reigns in the Captain's Quarters

The Captain and his signatories has earned my undying respect for this act of genuine political courage. They will be mercilessly attacked as traitors to the Bushite cause. But then "Bushite" != "Conservative."
Captain's Quarters : An Open Letter To The ACU And CPAC Sponsors

Note: This letter will appear simultaneously on a number of conservative blogs this morning. It has been scheduled in advance for that purpose. My personal remarks will appear below.

Conservatism treats humans as they are, as moral creatures possessing rational minds and capable of discerning right from wrong. There comes a time when we must speak out in the defense of the conservative movement, and make a stand for political civility. This is one of those times.

Ann Coulter used to serve the movement well. She was telegenic, intelligent, and witty. She was also fearless: saying provocative things to inspire deeper thought and cutting through the haze of competing information has its uses. But Coulter's fearlessness has become an addiction to shock value. She draws attention to herself, rather than placing the spotlight on conservative ideas.

Um. Well, the Current administration - and Coulter's handlers - ain't all that fond of Conservative ideas; balanced budgets, strong and effective defense or even the most fundamental concept of prudence.

The legendary conservative thinker Richard Weaver wrote a book entitled Ideas Have Consequences. Rush Limbaugh has said again and again that "words mean things." Both phrases apply to Coulter's awful remarks.

Coulter's vicious word choice tells the world she care little about the feelings of a large group that often feels marginalized and despised. Her word choice forces conservatives to waste time defending themselves against charges of homophobia rather than advancing conservative ideas.

I'm all for advancing conservative ideas and ideals; I share a great many of them. Indeed, a resurgence of responsible, factual, informative and - not to put too fine a point on it, sane - conservative commentary is sadly very rare. Of late, it seems to be a struggle to apply lipstick to the latest act of piggery.

I learned to think, in part, sitting (alas, only metaphorically) beneath the nostrils of William F. Buckley. If one comes to a divergent, supportable opinion in Buckley's presence, one has worked for it.

Demonizing liberalism in order to ignore all arguments because they ARE liberal or made by critics who therefore are "liberals by definition" is evidence of a mental and moral flaccidity that would give Barry Goldwater an apoplectic fit.

One of the points of CPAC is the opportunity it gives college students to meet other young conservatives and learn from our leaders. Unlike on their campuses—where they often feel alone—at CPAC they know they are part of a vibrant political movement. What example is set when one highlight of the conference is finding out what shocking phrase will emerge from Ann Coulter's mouth? How can we teach young conservatives to fight for their principles with civility and respect when Ann Coulter is allowed to address the conference? Coulter's invective is a sign of weak thinking and unprincipled politicking. [Emphasis Mine]
WILD applause, Sir! WILD applause!

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