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Fighting Fire With Fire

People who support The Zman with a few bucks a month via Subscribestar get access to extra columns and also an extra podcast on Sunday, a shorter 30 minute deal that usually looks at a few topics in quick succession. 

I listened to his podcast this morning while walking and while the whole thing was full of great stuff, one thing he said really stuck out:

The radicals always win and the reason they always win is that you can’t defeat radicalism with moderation.
It brings to mind the famous Barry Goldwater quote:
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

That is the sort of political prose sorely lacking today, mostly because modern politicians are too dumb to think of something like that and almost every voter is too dumb to understand the implication of that statement, or even grasp what it means.
That statement pretty well sums up the political scene as well the culture wars my entire life. The Left just pushes and pushed the most extreme stuff and what passes for the Right responds with temperance and moderation. Then they lose and the Left pushes some new extreme radicalism and the Right responds with temperance and moderation. Rinse, repeat. 
It brings to mind also an older post, Fighting In A Cage Using The Queensberry Rules
When you are in a fight for survival, all that matters is survival. If someone is threatening me or my family I am not going to challenge them to a “walk 10 paces turn and fire” style duel. To protect my family I will fight as dirty as I need to fight in order for them to survive. I’ll shoot an intruder in the back if I have to. I won’t feel much better standing at the graveside of my child by consoling myself with the knowledge that at least I played by the rules.
My whole life and even before I was born, conservatives have been measured in their response, willing to retreat again and again so they don’t seem like mean people. The Left sees every compromise as weakness to be exploited. They don’t care if they look radical, all they care about is winning. 
Little wonder American conservatism has failed to conserve anything.


  1. Anonymous

    yup, that does sum it up rather well. playing by the rules neve works in real life.
    learned that lesson the hard way living in a mixed area of the city as a kid. that and never let them get behind you and if knocked down, you better get up fast. people as a rule do not learn this until they get their teeth kicked out. the problem as I see in down in dc is you have to fight everyone as most if not all of the fucks down there are on the take. I often wonder why someone would spend millions for a job that pay 174 grand a year ? this country has gone downhill fast in the past
    50 to 70 years. or as dear old dad used to say, "shit always floats to the top "

  2. Mike Austin

    "Little wonder American conservatism has failed to conserve anything."

    You are quite wrong. "American conservatism" conserved liberalism.

    In war there is one goal: Victory. There is one rule: Win. There is one method of waging it: Total. In war there are no medals for 2nd place.

    Remember Conan when he was asked, "What is best in life?" He answered, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!"

    America used to fight her wars like the Romans. Now she fights her wars like the French.

  3. Mike Austin

    The professional "conservatives have been inching toward just such a thing for years. But wait! There's more!

    Some years ago "National Review" ran an essay by one Charles C.W. Cooke attempting to normalize pedophilia, and "slamming conservatives' objections to it."

    Of course, that essay has been sent down the memory hole by that absurd magazine. But here is its main points:

    So what's next from "Conservative Incorporated? An essay on the joys of necrophilia?

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