Sunday, May 17, 2015

"But...At What Cost?" Final Chapter

There’s not much in politics that doesn’t matter to me. I admit it; I’m obsessed with trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong for mankind and our country. I like to debate issues and usually demand a rationale for any belief anyone might have… and I sometimes get snippy. I apologize for that, but I am very passionate about my point of view and truly want explanations for opposing views. I want to understand the reasons for conflicts of belief and I get rather annoyed when folks can’t or won’t explain their reasoning. That’s when I get frustrated and angry and might shoot from the hip – which I always regret.

I fear I will lose friends and maybe family members over things I’ve said in this book. For that reason, putting my honest opinions on paper is the riskiest project I’ve ever attempted. I have so much to lose and so very little to gain. I know I won’t change minds (not enough minds, anyway), yet I am compelled to defend my positions in hopes of dispelling some of the false perceptions, I believe, are created and maintained by the political class and the “elite” media.

I feel that we are being indoctrinated into a belief system that will eventually destroy the most important things America stands for… equality of opportunity, personal freedom, and a strong expectation for moral, ethical behavior from every citizen.

I hate what is happening to our culture. I fear my grandchildren will accept the new, untraditional “wisdom” as wise. I want them, and everyone, to consider the natural consequences of following Progressive policies. Below (in no particular order) I summarize some of my concerns for the future of American society.

The freedom I enjoyed as a kid was instrumental to my growing up and figuring things out for myself. Everyone learns much better by “doing” than by being told what to do. Having that freedom as a kid taught me (and all of us back then) how to fend for ourselves, compromise and develop leadership skills. Now, adults are expected to jump in and solve all children’s disagreements, and explain, explain, and explain. Please give kids a chance to figure things out for themselves. Let them be exposed to different points of view and deal with life’s realities on their own, as much as possible. We need thinkers and doers, not the flock of sheep our current culture is creating.

In response to a program on National Public Radio, a good friend, Jean, and I had a great conversation about on-campus rape. We were told by a victim that rape is on the rise on most college campuses. It seems she, the victim, was raped by a friend she trusted while both were in a drunken stupor (no date-rape drug involved). I said, “You know, I don’t feel as sorry for her as I probably should. The guy was really bad to do it, but they were both so drunk, I think she was somewhat responsible for her own fate.” Jean agreed and added a few points of her own – girls dressing so provocatively these days, for example.

I get it; we’re old and operating under the old rule set, but shouldn’t everyone expect more date-rape under the new rules of sexual freedom? And isn’t this kind of “rape” very different from a stranger-rape in a back alley at knifepoint? Neither Jean nor I excuse the behavior of the college man, but damn, if so many college women weren’t so free with their favors and didn’t drink to excess, this wouldn’t happen as frequently.

Since civilization began and cave men dropped their clubs, women have borne the primary responsibility for sexual activity… because of our natures. As much as we would like men to be just as responsible, many aren’t – especially when alcohol is involved. No, it’s not fair; life isn’t fair, but supposing that acting promiscuously and being drunk doesn’t “ask for it” is naïve … and makes the women almost, I repeat, almost as much to blame. Irresponsible behaviors DO have consequences.

Women have been trained to believe by the feminists and the laws made subsequent to feminist influence that saying “no” is enough. Well, maybe it should be enough, but it’s not. Women can’t continually give mixed signals and then expect drunk men to recognize when “no means no,” particularly when both are too drunk to articulate their own names. Having such ridiculous expectations is silly and dangerous. Common sense has left the campus, so “rapes” have increased. DUH! By the way, no one on NPR expressed our point of view, at all.

If I hadn’t been at my smiling grandmother’s side while she was washing Uncle Donald’s feces-covered sheets, I might still be a Democrat. Having a hard-working, ordinary family who overcame some pretty extraordinary circumstances without whining taught me a lot about whom to admire. Every time I compare my mother and grandmother to Sandra Fluke, the recent whiner-in-chief for feminists, I feel like slapping Ms. Fluke (and her ilk) across the face. How dare she think of herself as a victim of “a war against women” because her contraceptives aren’t free? It’s laughable.

America’s past is replete with heroes, real heroes who overcame hardships that are nearly incomprehensible to young Americans. Yet, today’s Dems all seem to promote “victimhood” as a way of life. No, Ms. Fluke, in the real world, seeing oneself as a victim is usually the precursor to failure – not success.

That’s exactly what Sandra, Al, and Jesse and all people who promote the victim-mentality have done to our culture… convinced way too many people they’re helpless and need government interventions to survive. If that were true, I’d join your cause, but it simply isn’t true. It’s political hyperbole.

People fare much better when they think their goals are attainable despite real (or imagined) road blocks. They need optimism, not excuses… or at least a balanced, reasonable view of their chances to succeed. They need examples of everyday heroes like their great-grandmothers, not political benefactors to solve their problems.

I think black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass said it best in his speech “What the Black Man Wants” in 1865:

“Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, ‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall. I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall.

And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go. If you see him going to the ballot box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone – your interference is doing him a positive injury.”
In other words – Douglass’s point was: just get out of our way. It took a while, but as a nation, we did. And black Americans made greater strides, in a shorter amount of time, than any other racial group in history. (See Race and Economics by Walter E Williams.) All we did prior to the sixties was to get out of the way (and not everyone did get out of the way), and that is when the greatest strides were made. The employment rates for blacks in the thirties were higher then, than they are now. How can that be explained? Quite easily, I think. If you leave people alone, most will do what they have to do to feed the kids. Most people are responsible despite any hardships they have to bear… and most black people (before the welfare state) strove to overcome all the hardships of poverty and discrimination that came their way. If you want heroes, look no further than blacks born and raised between 1865 and 1965. They may have been well-intentioned, but “positive” interventions can hurt as much as negative ones do.

Many sociologists have offered explanations for the decline in black success rates with most citing discrimination as a major factor, but none withstand scrutiny when the high black success rates of yesteryear are compared to the lower black success rates now. What Frederick Douglass said in 1865 is as true now as it was then. Just get out of the way and let the chips fall where they may. He understood human nature. He recognized that “positive” interventions (i.e., affirmative action) can damage as much as negative ones (i.e., discrimination).

It wasn’t until the government tried to manipulate positive outcomes that the decline of the ghetto culture began in earnest. Were there other contributors? Certainly, but, to my mind, none affected the moral decline of ghetto dwellers more than the excuses and entitlements they were offered.

Nearly every Progressive “make nice” policy promoted by the Left has had devastating effects on the freedoms of the majority. I’m an atheist, so I’m a minority, but I’m not the least bit offended by a Christmas tree in the public square. I don’t need a pro-atheist sign posted next to the manger. And Jews don’t need a menorah – at least not any Jewish folks I know. This is, by far, the silliest Leftist contrivance I’ve ever heard and makes atheists look petty and ridiculous. That any court would accept such a frivolous lawsuit shows the depths to which our Liberal judges have fallen. I’m going to go out on a limb here: any person who is offended by a Christmas tree and/or equates its presence to the establishment of a government-sponsored religion needs a brain transplant. I just can’t think of a more petty complaint, yet many kids on our nation’s campuses are “buying in” to the whole phony issue. A holiday tree? Come on! I worry for these kids… and everyone else who falls for the hype. Any argument on this issue is so utterly shallow, sophomoric, and unnecessary, it’s embarrassing.

The funny thing is that most people in this country are extremely tolerant and accepting of other points of view and either agree with each other or agree to disagree on most issues. Only when one view or the other becomes a political talking point do we get irrational. Without the rhetoric, people tend to get along with each other. I don’t know one atheist (except the ones on TV who spout this nonsense) who gives a damn how many Christmas trees line the streets of our cities. In fact, most of us celebrate Christmas and have our own trees. The Christmas tree crisis is pure politics intended to divide and conquer.
Politics is a very dirty, divisive business. There are few good guys engaged in it. Some started out okay, but power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. That’s why we are so lucky our founders recognized that fact and tried to protect future generations from the powerful.

Every time we allow a bureaucrat or a judge to decide what building materials we can use, what color we can paint our houses, how tall our grass can be, how much electricity should be available, what fish to protect, where we can build and where we can drill, which science is valid, or whom we must like and whom we must fight – we lose a freedom! It is essential to eliminate the collusion between politicians and special interest groups AND essential that voters recognize that the collusion exists primarily to maintain political power. They are not looking out for us or our country; they are looking out for themselves by appealing to the ignorant masses. That’s how Progressives think of us, you know – as people to be manipulated and controlled. Look at their history; it’s what they do.

“What shall we do with the Negroes?” “Nothing” was and is the correct answer. They must do it for themselves – just as they and we have always done until the Progressives started their meddling.

Thank you Frederick Douglass, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, Ben Carson and all black Conservative thinkers whom have experienced the debilitating effects of Progressive policies and continue to warn against them. Thank you Fox News Channel and The Blaze, for airing Conservative voices; and thank you Rush, Greg Gutfeld, Dr. Krauthammer, and too many more to mention for being those voices of reason.

You all give me hope for my grandchildren’s future in America.


We have finished serializing here Judith Axtell's BUT...AT WHAT COST: A Skeptic's Memoir. This story of her ascent from an emotive liberalism to a rational conservatism is published by Outskirts Press, and available from OP and from other on-line booksellers like and

I am proud to have coached Judy and edited her book.

See also my web site,


  1. Just what was needed while I struggle to change from Liberal to Conservative after decades of deceiving myself. eb

  2. Glad to learn that. Reason is trumping emotion. Welcome aboard!