It is better to have and not need, than need and not have.

I was wondering what to title my first writing for the Worcester Tea Party.  It is a phrase I first heard decades ago, early in my law-enforcement career.  It refers to carrying a firearm to defends one’s life.  I have heeded that advice for virtually my entire adult life, both professionally (because I have to) and personally (because I choose to).

 

I am a somewhat rare Tea Party member, also being a government employee.   I have worked as a police officer and a corrections officer for well over thirty years.  I was a certified armorer and firearms instructor.  And I believe that more law abiding citizens should heed the aforementioned advice.

 

I am not writing this for the professional or the person who already carries.  I am not going to tell you that this or that gun or caliber is best. Or even that you should carry.  I will tell you to be as discreet as possible about your choice.  I am writing this to provoke some thought among our good citizenry.

 

I know many people who have carry permits but have never actually carried a firearm for protection. They never think that today is the day they might need it.  I am willing to bet that most law abiding murder victims thought the same.  They didn’t go to where they were murdered thinking, I bet I will get killed here.”

 

I am not suggesting that simply carrying a firearm will guarantee your survival.  It will not!  It takes a lot mote than that.  Hopefully the future will allow us to delve more deeply into the hows and whys.

 

For now, I will list some pros and cons. First, some cons…

 

Depending on your disposable income, firearms and an adequate supply of ammunition for training can be relatively expensive; carrying them (especially concealed) can be uncomfortable and limits your choice of wardrobe; and there is the potential for great civil and criminal penalties in the unlikely event you fire it and kill or injure someone.

 

Now, some pros…

 

Carrying a firearm may save your life; it may save the life of a loved one; it may save the life of a perfect stranger.

 

There are many more cons, but none are as important as the pros!

 

Until next time, stay vigilant.

 

Dean of 2A Studies

Be Civilized Grudges are for Neanderthals

It is with great hesitancy that I wade into the quagmire of this month’s events in Charlottesville and Boston.  Uncontrolled and irrational emotions on both sides seem to have wiped out any chance of civilized conversation about Charlottesville, President Trump, Antifa, White Supremacy, Confederate statues, and other issues that have gripped the news and social media.

In the past week’s, I’ve heard too many conservatives defend White Supremacists and Nazis with the logical fallacy that “Antifa is worse.”   If you truly believe that Nazis are evil, then your argument should never end with “but….”.  There is no “but” when condemning evil.  White Supremacists and Nazis are evil, hate-filled, and un-American. Period.

To see White Supremacists, Nazis, and Antifa activists clashing in our streets is a natural progression in the breakdown of civility in many parts of society.  We label our opponents with nasty names, regardless of their true nature.  In the rhetoric of the Left, all conservatives are “Fascists” (though hardly any understand the term).   Failing that, they have a whole dictionary full of slurs (“Teabaggers”, “Deplorables”, “Misogynists”, “Racists”).   Extremists on the right label liberals as “Socialists”, “Communists”, “Libtards”, or “Snowflakes”.   Our national debate has turned into a playground argument between 3rd graders.

In the end, all of these slurs, left and right, fail to move our national conversation forward.  They diminish the civility required for us to find solutions for our country’s ills.  The insults dehumanize our fellow Americans.   The conservatives that I know are not Nazis or White Supremacists.   The liberals that I know are not Socialists or Communists and they are definitely not wearing the black masks of Antifa.

One of Russell Kirk’s Ten Conservative Principles is that there exists an enduring moral order.

“This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an old fangled moral order.”

 

I would include civility as an important foundation of this moral order.   When we degrade ourselves by resorting to the foul language, insults,  and behavior of those who do not respect this order, then we have lost.  By holding ourselves to a higher standard, we advance civility and moral order.

This doesn’t mean that we are disarming ourselves.  No, in fact, it means that we are better armed than our opponents.   It means that we can win not only debates, but hearts and minds, with logic and reason and passion against those who defend failed economic and social theories.

This is the true nature of a conservative: to believe in and to abide by the enduring moral order, an order that includes civility, good manners, and respect.

 

In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party

How beauteous mankind is!

 

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
— William Shakespeare, The Tempest

I’ve just finished reading Brave New World (when I say “reading’, I really mean listening to on Audible).  Written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley, Brave New World was one of the first dystopian novels, a genre that has gain much popularity in the 21st century, and for good reason.

Originally meant to be a parody of utopian novels by H.G. Wells, the novel took on a life of its own and received much praise when it was published.  It frequently makes lists of the top 100 most important books of the 20th century.

Utopian novels were popular in the early 20th century, the age when Progressivism, Communism, and Socialism were gaining acceptance.  These were the movements that would perfect society and individuals.  People saw mankind’s rapid advance toward perfection and imagined the fantastic society that would be come.  Huxley’s novel follows the trendy movements to their natural conclusion-to a drug addled, hedonistic society that had lost its soul.

Ironically, Huxley was inspired to create his dystopia after a visit to the United States.  He was not impressed by the sexual promiscuity and inward-looking nature of Americans.  Brave New World is set in London, but when its characters come to New Mexico on holiday, it is to see the savages.

Dystopian novels are meant to shock and to warn us.  After more than 80 years, Brave New World is just as relevant, if not more so.  We still suffer from the meddlers and tinkerers who continue to try to tweak society towards what they view as Utopia, where everyone is equal, happy, and wants for nothing.  Today’s college campuses would fit right in with Huxley’s Brave New World, where heretical diversity of thought is banished to far off places.  Our politicians focus on ways to make everyone equal.  I imagine that they would prefer if everyone were average, educated at a liberal arts college, and drank only Fair Trade coffee out of reusable cups.  Blandness is the Progressive’s Utopia.

Try as they might though, people don’t seem to be following their plan.  They continue to find ways to express their individuality.  The old behemoths of industry and commerce are destroyed by innovative upstarts working in their parent’s basements.  They don’t vote the way that they are expected to by the elite and the media.  They won’t believe the latest scaremongering expert telling them to change their ways or die!

“How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t.”  Keep living your beauteous lives in ways that give little regard to the opinions of meddling experts.  If we are to move toward a Utopia, it won’t be because of a government program or an inspiring leader or an academic theory of society.  It will be because you moved us closer. Individuals and families living in community, working hard, enjoying life.  That gives me reason to exclaim “O wonder!”

​In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party

All this is what it means to be an American.

Independence Day offers us reason to celebrate and to reflect what it means to be free.  Looking to the revolutionary times of the late 18th century, we see a society where, for the first time in human history, the “common man” came to seize power from his aristocratic oppressors.  Today though, we should be looking beyond the “common man”.  We should all be uncommon.

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Don’t Always Believe What You Think

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

Winston S. Churchill

A few years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that said something that stuck in my mind firmer than the sticker was attached to the bumper.  It said ‘Don’t Always Believe What You Think’.  Philosophers call this concept “Intellectual Humility”.   This type of humility acknowledges the limitations of our knowledge.  It calls on us to challenge our own beliefs and, in doing so, places the surviving beliefs on firmer ground.

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Has our government always worked this way?

“American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education.”

This month, we are witnessing one of the most important rituals of American democracy:  the confirmation hearing of a United States Supreme Court nominee.  This process has evolved over the past few decades, particularly since the failed nomination of Judge Bork.  The contentiousness has reached embarrassing levels.  Like most modern political practices, we continue to battle over nominees much as our forefathers did, but we do it in a way that shows little regard for the character and qualifications of the nominee.

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Draining The Swamp

Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “Drain the swamp” has successfully placed him in the Oval Office.  But what exactly is the swamp, and how does one go about draining it?

The commonly accepted definition of the “swamp”, and the one Trump alludes to, is the career, political elite of Washington, D.C., who are in essence tenured legislators.  This career, political class is seen as an entrenched, corrupt, blackguard of the status quo, a semi-permanent legislative body that stands between the people, their rights, and a just government.  I contend that these entrenched politicians are not in fact, THE swamp”; rather they merely reflect the dominant ideas of our culture.  I would argue that these career politicians are merely a surface layer, and the real depth of the swamp lies somewhere else.

The Democrats and Republicans are virtually united in their moral base, that is, the pinnacle of virtue for both parties is altruism, the morality which preaches the sacrifice of the individual self for “others”.  They sometimes differ on which individuals should be sacrificed, and quibble over the level of sacrifice, but they both fundamentally believe in the moral duty of being “thy brother’s keeper”.

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