Monday, November 01, 2004

Time out for the unruly

When parents tell a kid not to do something, and make him promise not to do it, there have to be consequences when he turns around and does it. Those consequences must not be avoidable -- if he can wheedle his way out of punishment this time, there will be a next time. And when that mode of interaction between parent and child continues over a long period of time, the result is not a transition to civilized adulthood for the child, but a lifelong nightmare for the parents -- a "where did we go wrong?" retirement package in which the word "bailout" -- or perhaps even "bail" -- is likely to figure prominently.

I'm not a child psychologist. I don't even play one on TV. But the above is not a controversial claim. It's common sense. And it's something that one might reasonably expect proponents of "family values" to understand, even when it is applied to a social process which occurs on a larger scale than individual child-rearing ... like, say, presidential elections.

Why, then, are establishment conservatives pulling their collective hair out at the prospect that their errant children -- President George W. Bush and the Republican Party -- might face consequences tomorrow at the polls for four years of gross misrule which, by any account, encompass complete betrayal of the core conservative principles of limited government and respect for the Constitution?

The instant occasion which raises this question in my mind is David Kupelian's Open Letter to Libertarian, Constitution Party Voters on the popular WorldNetDaily web site. Kupelian is upset that libertarians and conservatives are abandoning the GOP presidential ticket to vote for "third party" candidates like Libertarian Michael Badnarik.

Kupelian's thesis, separated out from some fairly specious mischaracterizations of Bush v. Kerry ("okay, honey, so we caught him celebrating a Black Mass -- but that doesn't mean he's the lesser of two evils, it means that he's doing homework in comparative catechisms"), is that we have to tolerate misbehavior on the part of Republican presidents because ... well, just because. If we don't vote for the Crip, the Blood might win, and our kid's street gang is better than their kid's street gang.

Sorry, Mr. Kupelian. Your excuses wouldn't make the cut in any second grade playground controversy, let alone in the crucial, current adult discussion about this country's future. It's time for establishment conservatives to start taking responsibility for the party they parent and for the politicians they patronize instead of expecting libertarians and responsible conservatives to stand by as little Georgie writes on the wall with permanent marker, flushes mommy's diamond earrings down the toilet and bloodies the kid next door's nose.

Because establishment conservatives have failed to take their political spawn in hand, libertarians and responsible conservatives are now in clear support of the playground monitor's decision to send those children home to mommy. Stop whining Mr. Kupelian, and start setting a better example instead of expecting the rest of us to coddle your little monsters.

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