The Big Three automakers are in Washington this week, hats in hand, looking for a handout. Washington has already bailed out some of our largest banks. But they are not the only ones suffering in this economy, which was ruined by the Democrat Congress and regulations that were implemented by the Clinton Administration that set the meltdown in motion. No one has been hit harder by this financial turmoil than conservatives. Although conservatives generally support self-reliance when it comes to others, the situation is so dire that the only thing that will save our conservative institutions at this point is a quick infusion of government aid.
In the 2008 election a number of conservatives with families to feed who thought their jobs would be safe for years to come got laid off by callous voters. And on January 20, more hard-working conservatives will find themselves on the unemployment line. Barack “Scrooge” Obama has already signaled that he will be pink slipping a huge number of government workers when he takes office, which will flood the economy with unemployed job seekers. Although Presidents have traditionally allowed ambassadors to stay on during transitions from one administration to another, for example, Obama has ruined Christmas for all of our currently serving ambassadors by informing them that they must vacate their offices as soon as he is sworn in. President Bush has made some effort to save people’s jobs by making it impossible for Obama to fire some political appointees through "burrowing," that is, changing their jobs into civil service jobs. But he may not be able to save everyone’s job. Only Robert Gates seems to be absolutely safe from the carnage.
But it is not only government workers who find themselves in economic dire straits. Conservatives throughout the country are losing their jobs as conservative institutions try to save themselves through belt-tightening. The staff of The National Review returned from its luxury cruise in the Caribbean to discover that it is surprisingly not actually making a profit and is now on its knees pleading for money, unfortunately, without much success. “It takes a lot of bucks to run NRO. Of course, each and every dollar we have is stretched to the max — we don’t have the luxury of, well, having luxuries. Cabs? Ha! Subway fare? Think again! How do I get to the press conference then? By foot! That’s how we operate. Calluses, fallen arches, and vibrant conservatism are the consequences” writes Jack Fowler, before losing what’s left of his dignity and concluding, “Come on, I’m begging.”
Recent cost-cutting initiatives to purge conservatives from the masthead of The National Review who failed to toe the editorial line, such as David Frum, Kathleen Parker and the son of the magazine’s founder, Christopher Buckley, have apparently not been enough to stave off financial disaster. To stay alive, The National Review may have to narrow its definition of acceptable conservative thought even further and encourage more of its writers to quit. If readers do not pony up soon, John Derbyshire could be the next apostate to get the boot. Mr. Derbyshire has apparently read the writing on the wall and has started a blog for “secular conservatives” (which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one), though I’m afraid I must disabuse him of the notion, which he probably heard from a mischievous liberal, that blogs are a great way to make money. Mr. Derbyshire is already struggling to pay his health insurance premiums, so losing his job at The National Review would be especially devastating for the man who is, let’s face it, not getting any younger and hasn’t looked well lately.
But even if The National Review makes its political philosophy indistinguishable from James Dobson’s, that may not be enough to save it. Dobson’s Focus on the Family has also fallen on economic hard times. Because group spent $539,000 passing Proposition 8, which ended gay marriage in California, it doesn’t have enough money left over to pay its employees’ salaries so it has been forced to lay off 20% of its staff, which is just the latest in a series of layoffs. I’m sure that the workers being laid off are grateful that their families have been saved from the scourge of gay marriage, which should provide some solace when they lose their homes or their children have to skip a few meals. And economic calamity should make their families even closer and stronger, helping them to fend off future threats from homosexuals. Meanwhile, a leaner more focused Focus on the Family will concentrate its efforts on fighting other dangerous enemies of America, such as ex-National Review writer Kathleen Parker, and retailers who don't say "Merry Christmas."
This economic downturn is especially hard on conservatives because many of them have never held real jobs. Forcing them to develop skills other than deploring the liberal media and warning how gay marriage and Islam will destroy our country from cushy perches at conservative think tanks may be asking too much. There are only so many positions for out-of-work neocons at conservative think tanks and their funds are drying up. Conservative authors are discovering that they may actually have to sell their books as fewer of them will be bought up by their own publishers, like Regnery. Some conservative institutions may even have to resort to outsourcing jobs overseas, to places like India where conservative pundits are cheaper. It’s one thing to send all of our manufacturing, call center and newspaper editorial jobs to India, but conservative punditry is a skill whose nuances would be lost if it were outsourced. Imagine what it will do to our political discourse if every pundit on Fox News and every token conservative on MSNBC sounded like Dinesh D’Souza and Ramesh Ponnuru. It’s too horrible to think about.
And if you think things are bad for conservative pundits, conservative bloggers are hurting worst of all. Kim du Toit, whose essay “The Pussification the Western Male” may be the greatest piece of writing the blogosphere has ever produced, was forced to stop blogging after his stingy, freeloading readers were unable to come up with enough money to pay for his shooting range memberships and food and drink for his family’s European vacation. What a sad commentary it is that after all he has done for his readers these many years, they could not come up with enough cash to keep him living in the style to which he has become accustomed. Unfortunately, Mr. du Toit is unable to work because years of lobster dinners have given him a severe case of gout, though at least he’s not a pussy like black people who just “want to be looked after when they’re sick, for free.”
Mr. du Toit may be the first of many conservatives who get “fed up with supporting the unproductive” and decide to “go John Galt,” denying us their wisdom and expertise to punish us for not appreciating them enough. If Confederate Yankee does not get enough donations to purchase new guns, which are going to be necessary when Obama takes office, he may be next. Luckily, this modest blogger makes enough to survive – barely – with the income I get from Google ads and Mrs. Swift’s three jobs, but, of course, any bit helps if you have a little to spare this Christmas season (see the Paypal button on my blog or on the sidebar of this one). Unfortunately, my son Spiro and my daughter Schlafly may have to forgo college and join the military anyway, which would be a terrible waste of their skills, though if it comes to that, we’ll probably put the cat to sleep first.
I know there are probably some uncompassionate and vengeful liberals who would prefer to see conservatives left to the vagaries of the free market, and even some conservatives who are too proud to accept government charity and would prefer to stick to their principles. But as President Bush showed us, in a crisis you are sometimes forced to abandon your principles temporarily to survive. Being a conservative, like the Constitution, is not a suicide pact. To fight the terrorists President Bush was forced to bring back the era of big government, on a temporary basis, just as President Reagan was forced to spend profligately to end the Cold War. Conservatives must face reality the way Bush and Reagan did and realize that the only way to preserve our ideals may be to sacrifice them for a time and reluctantly accept government checks. Once we have gotten back on our feet again, then we can go back to doing what we do best: condemning lazy welfare queens and berating the poor for not raising themselves by their own bootstraps.
Crossposted at Jon Swift