Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conservative -- the new cool

By: Matt Barber

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. – C.S. Lewis

Comedian Jim Wiegand -- aka "Jim Wiggins, the last hippie in America" -- is a throwback to a bygone era. The hilarious 70-year-old wisecracker is known for, among other things, a quite liberal worldview. He's also known for raising Joe Wiegand, his rebellious, good-for-nothing son. Apart from sharing both a sharp sense of humor and mutual love and admiration, father and son see eye to eye on little else.

Joe, a good friend of mine, isn't a rebellious good-for-nothing in the conventional sense. He's a 40-something Illinois-based GOP strategist, a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator without equal and a buttoned-up evangelical Christian.

The elder Mr. Wiegand can't figure out where he went wrong. He jokes that when Joe was a youngster, he once discovered magazines hidden under the boy's mattress. He was shocked to find his son looking at such smut: National Review.

Hippies once were the counterculture. Liberals were the nonconformist rebels, boldly wearing unwashed anarchy on tattered sleeve. They loudly and proudly raged against the establishment machine.

Today, they are the establishment machine.

All of our ruling-class institutions -- academia, courts, government, media and entertainment industries -- are teeming with closed-minded, hard-left ideologues who seek to "fundamentally transform America."

Consider that, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, self-identified liberals outweigh their conservative counterparts in the mainstream media by a 5-1 margin.

Likewise, a 1999 North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) of students, faculty and administrators in colleges and universities throughout the United States determined that five times as many college faculty members vote Democratic as Republican. In fact, 72 percent described themselves as "to the left of center," while a mere 15 percent identified themselves as "right of center."

One can only imagine that in the ensuing decade, the ideological disparity has increased. Ask any kid in the halls of academia, and he'll tell you, with few exceptions, that professor so-and-so is a liberal so-and-so.

Still, liberals -- or "progressives," as they prefer to be called -- persist in laboring under an embarrassing misconception: They honestly believe they remain the nonconformists. It's precious.

In fact, today's liberals are nothing of the sort. They compliantly conform -- like little windup, patchouli-daubed lemmings -- to a carnival-prize caricature of what they imagine nonconformity to look like. You know, the usual stuff: neo-Marxism, environmentalist activism, sexual relativism, big-government nanny statism, an actions-without-consequences rendering of reproductive rights, and other such populist nonsense. Simply put, today's progressive nonconformist conforms.

Indeed, the "Stepford Wives" have become the "Stepford Lesbians." The prudish, judgmental church lady has swapped spots with the easy -- yet somehow self-righteous -- birth-bashing feminist.

So what is a young person -- brimming over with that instinctive, defiant impulse to rebel against "the man" -- to do?

Well, in this up-is-down, spend-money-to-save-money world, conservatives have become the contemporary nonconformists. Today's rebellious youth are telling the progressive establishment to put its moral-relativist, redistributionist party-line pig swill in its well-used chamber pipe and smoke it.

Kids: Really want to get under your obnoxiously "tolerant," Volvo-driving, MSNBC-watching folks' skin? Try this: Go to church, abstain from premarital sex, join the Young America's Foundation, attend a Tea Party rally, enroll at Liberty University, listen to Rush Limbaugh and vote Republican.

You'll have them writhing in their Birkenstocks.

I've often said that President Obama could either be the best thing to happen to America or the worst. The best insofar as this man's policies are so radical, so extreme that, in keeping with Newton's third law of motion, the "opposite reaction" might well trigger Republican rule in perpetuity.

First, the bad news: So far, Mr. Obama is the worst. Now, the good news: I believe he has awakened a sleeping giant in the millennial generation (ages 18 to 29). Today's counterculture is rejecting the tired progressive policies pushed by this president and his secular-socialist sycophants.

For instance, a 2010 Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll determined that nearly 60 percent of millennials believe abortion is "morally wrong," a nearly 10-point increase over the more progressive baby-boomer generation. The tide is turning.

Similarly, a recent survey from Harvard University's Institute of Politics found that millennials are worried sick about their futures. Yet President Hopey Changey and Democrats in Congress continue to play back-alley dice with their lives via incomprehensible deficit spending and a national debt that swells annually by the trillions.

Do you think these kids won't rebel as the clouds quickly darken?

Winston Churchill once observed, "If you're not a liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative at 40, you have no brain." Liberalism is emotion-based and rooted in soaring, knee-jerk notions of "social justice." Conservatism is logic-based and rooted in reality.

Today's rebellious youth have the heart part down. I'm glad to see they're developing some brains.

Matt Barber (jmattbarber@comcast.net) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law, and author of the book "The Right Hook – From the Ring to the Culture War." He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Pulling the plug on ObamaCare

By: Matt Barber

ObamaCare is like turnip greens: bitter and hard to swallow, but Mommy made you choke them down anyway. The difference is that turnip greens are constitutional (though perhaps they shouldn't be). They're also likely to extend your life rather than cut it short.

As demonstrated by the 2010 Election Day massacre, the government takeover of healthcare -- the euphemistically tagged "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" -- infuriated voters as Democrats cooked it up and force-fed it to America for Christmas Eve dinner.

Despite being assured by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, that we needed to "pass the bill so [we] can find out what's in it," a recent Rasmussen poll reveals that a majority of Americans -- having since found out what's in it -- continue to favor its repeal.

Indeed, by granting more than 1,000 ObamaCare waivers (read: payoffs) to a host of unions and corporations, the Obama administration has tacitly admitted this socialized medical monstrosity is neither "affordable," nor does it "protect patients."

Still, while Republican rooks maneuver to checkmate King Obama via legislative repeal, others have gone the judicial route. On Tuesday, in fact, Mathew D. Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, will be the first to challenge the constitutionality of ObamaCare at the federal court of appeals level. He will argue the case of Liberty University v. Geithner before the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.

The Liberty Counsel officially represents both Liberty University and two private individuals in the lawsuit. Unofficially, it represents the majority of Americans.

Later that day, the Court of Appeals will also hear the case of Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius, filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II. The cases will be argued seriatim (in succession) by each counsel, respectively.

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate ambitiously maintains -- against considerable evidence to the contrary -- that Democrats' particular brand of healthcare reform is so important, so unique that the U.S. government is justified -- for the first time in history -- in forcing every American citizen to purchase his own untenable, unsustainable and demonstratively defective product under penalty of law. ObamaCare categorically lays the groundwork for universal healthcare. They didn't just sell us a lemon, they squeezed it in our eyes and said, "pay up or else."

This is a case of first impression. That is to say, no Supreme Court case has ever allowed the federal government to force people into the stream of commerce. Neither has the high court ever permitted the federal government to compel its citizens to buy a government-defined product. If government has the authority to force unwilling citizens to purchase health insurance, then there is simply no limit to the power this mushrooming centralized mammoth can wield.

On Tuesday, Virginia will challenge the individual mandate, while the Liberty Counsel will go after both the individual and employer mandates. As with Virginia's case, the Liberty Counsel argues that Congress lacks authority under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Taxing and Spending Clause to implement this unparalleled power-grab.

The Liberty Counsel also raises other constitutional objections, including issues relative to the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, and the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Mr. Staver commented on the case in advance of Tuesday's historic oral arguments: "It is the hope of many Americans that this lawsuit is a fast track to the ultimate demise of this overreaching health insurance law. This law represents an astonishing extension of the federal government into the personal and business decisions of Americans. If ObamaCare should be upheld by the courts, then there are no limits on what Congress can do. I think it is clear that Congress far exceeded its authority under the Constitution."

Indeed, when one's stated goal is to "fundamentally transform America," the U.S. Constitution, as intended by our nation's founding visionaries, becomes a significant encumbrance rather than an instrument of freedom.

It's little wonder that exceeding constitutional authority has become the defining hallmark of this, the most radical presidential administration in American history.

Matt Barber (jmattbarber@comcast.net) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law, and author of the book "The Right Hook – From the Ring to the Culture War." He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action.