Chapter 22, on "Perspective & Focus"-- perhaps the least read--may be the most important Chapter in the Conservative Debate Handbook to promote an understanding of what underpins debate on the most hotly contested issues. Wars, both Civil & International, have been fought over what really boils down to viewing the same commonly recognized facts from different perspectives, focusing on the same phenomena from different directions. Understanding this reality, is a key to changing the course of human history. From the Conservative American perspective in 2014, it is the key to rechanneling future prospects into the historic course that actually produced the institutions that we would preserve.
The most obvious demonstration of the point, is to consider fundamental differences between those who have a long term perspective on the human condition--those who would conserve traditional values--and those whose focus is on short term, or immediate, gratification of present aspirations--even at the expense of future generations. The latter may be called "Liberals," although they are not liberal, in any classic sense; or "Progressives," although that term is largely meaningless, as one may progress in any direction of the philosophic compass, with limitless possibilities for both good & evil, as an eventual goal. While the short-sighted may pose as "enlightened" & "tolerant," they are clearly neither. A perspective, clearly driven by immediate wish lists, can fathom little beyond near-term interaction with present players, in pursuit of "change."
The very survival--as, indeed, the prosperity & well-being of any species--inevitably involves a long-term perspective; even though in the case of most species, the pursuit may be instinctive or pre-conditioned. This is obvious as to all except those few species that actually have "free will"--such as the races of Mankind. Yet, even with Man, there is often an instinctive recognition of incentives, which--if not impeded by mischievous players--should lead to deference to the long term interests of a race or community, rather than short term pursuits. These incentives include the normal sexual mating instinct for family formation--quite distinct from the immediate lust for physical gratification,--weather cycles, and deference to what are jocularly referred to as "pecking orders," as well as the clear benefits of provident & frugal behavior. Those "mischievous" players, however, employ techniques as old as the early Chapters of Genesis--where Eve is led astray from the enjoyment of manifold Blessings, to focus obsessively on the one thing she is denied--to obscure such recognition; a formula, repeatedly applied by those with perverse agenda, to those who may be susceptible, down through the ages.
This has been the formula for modern egalitarian themed agitations; agitations that have discouraged prosperous & rational American families from defending cultural verities that had once made them the envy of the world; agitations, now leading to abject acceptance of the imposition of a Socialistic Welfare State that taxes achievement & discourages both enterprise & most other positive conduct. For make no mistake, subsidizing failure in the name of "Equality" does precisely that. It must never be confused with genuine charity that addresses real need, not the guilt complexes of some, or the poor choices of others. Moreover, the same focus, which has turned America away from what worked for family betterment, generation by generation, here, to acquiescence in the application of a corrupting, immediate gratification, philosophy for the less successful among us; is largely the same cultural perspective as has led to the acceptance of an American role in trying to alter the multi-generational cultural achievements of other peoples. In each manifestation, it is an arrogant & self-destructive effort to remake humanity.
In our essay on "Surrender By Subterfuge", we discuss how Norman Cousins, the leading American promoter of World Government in the 1950s & 1960s, sought to steer American education into a path where the focus would be only on the similarities between distinct peoples, never on what made each nation unique. Of course, his understated theory was that if you eliminated awareness of the things that people were willing to fight for--the traditional spiritual, cultural & material achievements of their forebears--the different nations would be more willing to accept a "World Government"--the totalitarian Humanist daydream of a new monolithic "World Order." But there was no discussion of obvious ramifications.
In both Debate Handbook Chapters #18, "An American Foreign Policy," & #25, "Democracy In The Third World," we discuss some of the disastrous results of the "One World" Humanist fantasy. The subject matter demonstrates the application of the same short-term, corrupting, immediate gratification, philosophy to Mankind in general. What in each instance is being undermined, if not destroyed outright, are the long-term, multi-generational, achievements of diverse peoples--cultures that reflected the very souls of those peoples;--peoples who deserved respect for what made them unique, but were served up only the ultimate in intolerance for any variations in national purpose, that did not conform to Humanist & Egalitarian fantasy.
We do not suggest that what those who would level conditions in America, or those who seek to end ethnic freedom to be unique abroad, necessarily see their efforts as directed only to the short-term. What they would forge onto Mankind, is intended to be permanent. But they are largely "clueless" or, if actually aware, indifferent, as to how many generations went into achieving the ethnic or family heritage, they would so cavalierly destroy. The price for the immediate changes, they seek, is a confiscation of the fruits of other peoples' labor & aspirations, over many generations. And, in failing to recognize what have always provided incentives for most positive human strivings--spiritual, cultural & material;--they would create a world in which we are not likely to soon replicate what will be lost.
Perspective & focus also largely determine the degree of passion, with which involved individuals, view those with whom they disagree on particular issues. Those, to whom the question in foreign policy is whether to recognize a particular attempt at ethnic separation from within the borders of a former Colonial Administration, as a way to restore a national or tribal right of self-determination, will have a very different emotional reaction to the suppression of such effort than will those who see the very concept of the traditional nation as a threat to world "peace!" Adherents to the Cousins' approach may not see the injustice involved in suppressing the Black Christian Ibo pursuit of self-determination, by the varied ethnic Islamic majority in Nigeria; nor will such anti-nationalists, have much sympathy for those Afrikaners in South Africa, who sought to restore the original independence to the very, very different nations within the borders of modern South Africa. The "Cousinists," if we may be indulged in using the term, were quite happy to see the aspirations of both the Ibo & the White South Africans suppressed, without ever focusing on the real issues.
Ultimate varieties of short term focus are all around us today. Consider those in a veritable bubble consciousness, walking down our streets, frenetically "texting" or jabbering into hand-held devices, increasingly less aware of their actual immediate surroundings. Consider the sudden rush to embrace the oxymoron of "same sex marriage," by people whose vision is so short-sighted that they appear no longer aware that marriage has always been about sanctifying & securing the functional family as a multi-generational reproductive unit--the essential vehicle of multi-generational social purpose. And in this latter phenomenon, consider a madness, so narrowly focused, that it would demonize & use Federal power to restrict anyone who would dare to point out the very absurdity, from even a short-term perspective, of that oxymoron.
Contrast all of this with the wisdom & long-term vision of the Founding Fathers; with Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, which forbade any misuse of the taxing power to level achievement; with the Washington/Jefferson foreign policy, discussed in the afore-mentioned Chapter 18, which warned against foreign entanglements, but offered respect & friendship to all nations, who showed reciprocal respect for our interests; with those wise statesmen, who left the determination of moral issues, wholly to the diverse States & local communities! It was their long-term view of virtues that actually worked for human betterment, which guided our paths from 1789 until 1913. In losing that perspective over the past century, we have increasingly embraced the most egregious folly.
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