Injecting the Neoconservative Bloodstream with a Fatal Dose of Reality
The Silverback Review of Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon
“This book is about common sense and hope. While it addresses social and political issues, it is first and foremost a book about the practical issues we all deal with on a daily basis. It is a book about the dramatic changes taking place in our society and the signs of a visible shift of thinking away from our nation’s biblical and constitutional foundations. Above all it is a call for Americans to return to the personal values and beliefs that have sustained our great nation throughout its history....”
So begins David Alan Black’s new book Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon. The title of the book gives the impression that this entire work is an attack on the person of Rush Limbaugh, but its contents reveal otherwise, as Rush is mentioned on only two occasions in the text, both of which are in the same paragraph in the first chapter. Black states his purpose on page 13: “I wrote this book because I’m convinced that Rush Limbaugh and his brand of conservatism is the enemy of any citizen who sincerely believes in individual liberty and limited constitutional government. I mention Rush only because he is the leading spokesman of the ‘Republican Party right or wrong’ mentality that pervades conservative talk radio.”
This work is “not so much a book, as a way of thinking,” which, fittingly enough, is the title of chapter one. And the “way of thinking” that Black outlines is one of looking back in order to look forward. By this I mean that Black champions a return to the biblical and constitutional government that our founders intended for our great nation. He throws down the gauntlet to neoconservatives and challenges them to embrace the roots of traditional conservatism, which he calls “paleoconservatism.” He calls on true conservatives to “secede from [the] ‘compassionate conservatism’” movement and to align themselves with an ideology that welcomes the lawful traditions of our constitutional roots.
Black states, “Paleocons...argue that it is impossible to have a republic as originally envisioned by our Founders and also have an empire at the same time...they do not believe you can export democracy at gunpoint. They have this radical notion that the U.S. can hold the torch of liberty high without getting involved in military skirmishes around the globe...they feel that the only hope for a rebirth of freedom in America is to get the federal government completely out of every area where it has made such a mess....”
The way to remedy the current mess that America’s federal government has imposed on its citizens, says Black, is to “throw off the shackles of the socialist welfare state” by rejecting the Janus-like government run by the Republicans and Democrats, and embracing qualified third party candidates as a viable and uncompromising alternative. Black claims that the American people “want to replace America’s arrogant ruling class with citizen legislators. In support of their views, they tend to quote Americans like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Stonewall Jackson.”
“Throwing off the shackles” of the entrenched government in Washington will be no easy feat – a fact which Black openly admits. He calls for momentous and revolutionary change within the federal government. So much needs to be changed and so much work needs to be done in this area that Black states, “The paleocon movement has a whiff of revolution about it. Paleocons believe that politicians of both parties have sold out the American people...[Paleocons] argue that only by a return to states rights and responsible local government can America be restored to her former greatness.”
Throughout this expertly-written work, Black hammers his point home “that the government which governs best governs least” and he consistently calls on all liberty-oriented citizens “to join the American patriot movement” by refuting the monopoly/stranglehold that Republicans and Democrats have on our federal system.
Having met Dr. Black at the 2004 Constitution Party National Convention in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and having read many of his columns at his website, I know him to be an ardent supporter of the Constitution Party and Michael A. Peroutka, the party’s 2004 candidate for President of the United States. The first step for citizens who are concerned about losing their liberties (and hard earned tax dollars) one-by-one to the illegitimate behemoth in Washington is to support the Constitution Party and their candidate, Mr. Peroutka.
Black urges passive Christians to “get down and dirty in the culture wars” in order to preserve America’s biblical roots. He pleads with Christians to get involved in changing our culture and states, “Scripture...forbids [Christians] to be indifferent to matters of human government.” He quotes J. I. Packer who stated, “The more profoundly one is concerned about heaven, the more deeply one cares about God’s will being done on earth.”
Black boldly confronts the dearth of traditional conservatism in today’s Republican Party in a chapter titled “When the Horse Dies, Dismount: The Demise of Conservatism in the Republican Party.” He injects a critical dose of reality into the bloated myth that the Republican Party is the stronghold of conservatism. “Today’s Americans are bound by the shackles of government interference as never before, and our taskmasters are not just Democrats but Republicans. Socialism and her handmaidens, imperialism and secularism, are being promoted by the Republican Party just as much as they were ever flaunted by the Democrats. Gone forever are the days of the clear-eyed, free-market conservatism of Ronald Reagan, who actually sought to limit government, to lower taxes, to promote biblical values, and to create a climate of self-reliance and self-restraint.... Today the differences between America’s two major parties are purely cosmetic. As the 2000 Constitution Party presidential candidate Howard Phillips put it, the choice voters face is between two evils, adding that the Republican Party ‘is the greater of the two evils, because it flies a false flag.’ Phillips is right.”
Black digs deep and takes the reader on a tour of American history, showing us when and where we began to lose our original form of constitutional government in a chapter called “Confederate Flags, American History, and Yankee Myths: How Lincoln’s War Changed America Forever.” Many readers who were educated in America’s public school system will be completely floored by the accurate and historically correct (although not politically-correct) content of this chapter, which shatters many long-held paradigms that Americans cling to today.
Of course, there will still be the intellectually stubborn among us who refuse to face down their own paradigms, even if they are proven to be clearly wrong. According to author Paul M. Whisenand, “Paradigms reverse the old adage, ‘I believe it when I see it’ to ‘I’ll see it when I believe it’...If held too strongly, one can develop the terminal illness of certainty - paradigm paralysis.”
Crying out like a voice in the media wilderness, Black exhorts people to step back from the canvas for a minute to gaze upon the portrait of America that is actually being painted in front of them by the two major parties. Instead of becoming mixed up in the arguments of the day over this government program or that government program, Black states that we need “to come to terms with the fact that the power of the federal government is out of control...The Founders argued that unless the federal government was bound by the chains of the Constitution, it would inevitably develop into a monstrous Leviathan through uncontrolled growth. Tragically, that is exactly what has happened in our nation.”
The other night I was watching Bill O’Reilly’s television program and he was interviewing Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco. Now, many in America see O’Reilly as being a champion for “conservative” viewpoints. During the interview, O’Reilly began to ask Brown about the (unconstitutional) “No Child Left Behind” Act that was passed by our “conservative” president George W. Bush. Brown, a Democrat, began to argue that the program was ineffective and wasn’t making a difference in our schools. O’Reilly ended up agreeing with Brown that the program should be restructured in such a way as to facilitate a quicker flow of federal money to local schools. I felt like screaming at the TV set, “Where is Dave Black?!? Where is the true conservative arguing for limited government? Why is this argument only over how fast the money gets from the federal government to our public schools and not over whether this program should even be in existence?”
What was promoted on O’Reilly’s show (which is the highest-rated cable show on television) in this interview is socialism, plain and simple. Socialism has been widely accepted and embraced as a legitimate form of government in our society to the point where voters even expect politicians to act like socialists. What the American people have shoved down their throats today by our government through a willing media is pure Marxist drivel with some red meat thrown in here and there to appease this constituency or that constituency to give the appearance of freedom and “choice” in government and of our elected representatives.
Black insists that there is a remnant, however, that wishes and prays for a return to legitimate and lawful government. He states, “Nevertheless, I haven’t given up on the viability of third party candidacies. My sense is that millions of Americans deeply believe it is time to forge a new coalition.”
A “new coalition,” indeed, is needed to enact any type of effective change in our tyrannical and unlawful federal system. This book provides a “blueprint” for just such a change, and is like a breath of fresh air in what has become a redundant and stagnant media echo chamber. It is, as Mr. Black puts it in the first paragraph of the book, a “statement of purpose.” Well, I heard you loud and clear sir. I agree that the time to act is now. Sign me up for the revolution.
July 26, 2004