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Palin’s Choice: an Afterword

In light of the comments and responses to my WND piece on Sarah Palin’s resignation, I think some further observations and reflections are in order.

First it’s important to remind everyone that I have never accepted the notion that Palin somehow represents adherence to the moral principles of republican, constitutional government. In a WND article right after McCain selected her as his running mate (Gov. Sarah Palin: Unequally yoked), I gave the reasons why. Later, when Charles Gibson asked her about Roe v. Wade she declared “I think that states should be able to decide that issue.” In reaction, I wrote another article (Sarah Palin: Already compromised?) in which I observed that “Palin is being touted as an unequivocally pro-life politician…Her words suggest that, on the contrary, she regards the issue of respect for innocent life as a matter of personal opinion rather than public principle….” I went on to point out that “making a pro-life icon of someone who takes this falsified “states’ rights” position and who, at the same time, relegates her pro-life views to the status of “personal opinion”, places the pro-life movement firmly on the path of self-destruction.” I cautioned that “If the issue of respect for innocent human life is simply a matter of “personal opinion,” what justifies government interference (at any level) in the personal decision of the woman carrying the child, or the parents who provided the genetic material from which its life derives?…Where no overriding public interest can be ascertained, the state cannot impose its moral opinions upon individuals without infringing the freedom of conscientious decision essential for the free exercise of religion (which is also counted among our unalienable rights.)”

In these past writings, as in the latest one, I have tried to reason clearly and carefully about the issues of public principle and policy raised by Sarah Palin’s words and actions. Unfortunately, both Palin’s fans and the leftist media hacks who act as her detractors have focused on her personal life. The fans want people to accept her loving commitment to her Down syndrome child as conclusive evidence that she is a pro-life champion. Her detractors snipe about her temperament, or make reprehensible so-called jokes about her family members, trying with ridicule and character assassination to manipulate public opinion against her. Meanwhile, her fans respond as if these rabid attacks conclusively prove that she is the conservative champion of principled morality they so desperately want her to be.

Unfortunately, as I argued in the articles cited above, ugly media attacks don’t’ alter the facts that show, logically and conclusively, that she is not such a champion.

Now I find readers like David, who left a comment on this site, declaring his view that my latest piece “is what I would expect from the mudslinging left.” This reaction exposes the insidious nature of this whole contrived situation. Once we accept “personal” matters (of action or opinion) as the basis for our support or rejection of political leaders, anyone who opposes them can be accused of mudslinging and slander, even when their opposition is based on careful reasoning about public policy and constitutional principle.

Like so much else going on in our public discussion these days, this makes fear rather than truth the standard of our public discourse. In my case it would be fear of being unfairly attacked as an un-Christian replicant of the left-wing character assassins. This reminds me of what liberal blacks have tried for years to do on account of my rejection of their leftist cant on welfare issues. In both cases my response must be the same, precisely because of Christ’s example. I will try to follow what careful and conscientious reasoning from right principle leads me to believe is true. I will leave in God’s hands the integrity of my identity. In the end, he knows the right name for me and will recognize me for what I am.

I could of course simply say nothing as others promote Palin as a representative of the constituency of moral principle. Unfortunately, when she proves inadequate to the task, human vanity will lead many to doubt the viability of the moral cause, rather than their own lack of discernment about the flaws in her public policy stances on the key moral issues. Such doubters will sow confusion and demoralization in the ranks of moral conservatives. This may in fact be the result intended by some of those who helped promote Palin to national prominence, though they tacitly despise the moral constituency she is supposed to represent. By speaking out, will people like me help to mitigate this bad result? Will our warnings prevent well intentioned people from relying too much upon a false hope? If so, it’s worth the risk of being unpopular with Palin fans who insist that reasonable criticism of her public policy views and actions is no different than the partisan media’s malevolent personal attacks.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • fox artist November 30, 2009, 10:50 pm

    I am not very familiar with USA politics but it seems to be that regarding the prolife issue, one has to make compromises to be victorious. And that is what Sarah Palin has been trying to do. She as others express her personal prolife stance but did not dare risk defeat by openly advocating a public policy, prolife positon. As Dr, Keyes has exemplified, Authentic prolife politician, in this neo-pagan culture can only run as witnesses to the truth but cannot be victorious. Those days have passed. However, the remnant must continue to voice the truth about human life, not be victorious but touch the hearts of those who may be yet open to life in all its stages and expressions.

  • chiu_chunling July 19, 2009, 10:25 pm

    We should stop. And, I hope that your side feels better soon. Laughter is the best medicine, but an OD can still be bad.

  • pbunyon July 18, 2009, 7:11 pm

    chiu chunking……heh…..is that the mountain west version of our turkey toss? You guys need to stop. My side is hurting….

  • chiu_chunling July 18, 2009, 5:51 pm

    I'm actually pretty light, with sufficient body integrity that a healthy male should be able to throw me efficiently. So perhaps eight to twelve feet for a really good effort, which is much farther than you should trust me. Or even throw me, in most circumstances.

  • Terry Morris July 18, 2009, 6:43 am

    Chiu, I don't trust you any farther than I can throw you (which probably isn't very far), if it makes you feel any better about it. But that applies to most everyone I can have no knowledge of beyond what I learn about them in internet conversations.

  • chiu_chunling July 18, 2009, 3:22 am

    It isn't bait, but if anyone takes it they're welcome. I should hope that any to whom it would truly serve as a lure already know what could be explained about the meaning. It saddens me a bit to think that soon enough you will not require any explanation either. If I still have regrets, then some of them are surely for that.

    But as you say, it probably doesn't matter. What matters is what you do to prepare for what is coming. Raising the warning that it is coming is not unimportant to being prepared, humans cannot live alone, after all. If you can find and connect to others who are willing to fight the battle which is upon you, then it is well to do so.

  • pbunyon July 17, 2009, 10:47 pm

    Uh….even in my tiredness I can't believe I misspelled the word 'bait'. oops…sorry

  • pbunyon July 17, 2009, 10:34 pm


    What a get from the latter portion of you last post is just a longer version of what I have been saying in previous posts. I have all but dumped any identity with any real or perceived sector of American politics.

    I immediately saw the divisions between Palin and the Republicans. Moreover I have seen it with myself and the Republicans and any other large group. I always come back to a purer sense of individualism.

    One of these days someone is going to take the bate you dangle with all these allusions concerning your personal circumstances and intentions.

    Ahh…..it doesn't matter.

  • chiu_chunling July 17, 2009, 5:34 pm

    Ah…practical advice. Well, for starters, beware of trusting me. There are limits on what I can explain, but suffice it to say that I am not exactly on America's side. I appreciate and value much about America and patriotic Americans, and it genuinely grieved me to learn of your fate. I can and do wish you well, but of necessity that is all I can do for you.

    My purpose in this conversation has ever been to satisfy my hunger for knowledge, persuasion is not really my goal. Ideas are like grain, I sow and reap, and winnow what truth I can find from the harvest. My motives remain entirely selfish.

    The most relevant advice I can give about discussing Sarah Palin is to concentrate on what you'd like her (and her following) to do in the future. What could she do which would meet with your approval? If you don't have an answer to that question, then think it through carefully.

    For myself, I'm more interested in what Dr. Keyes does than what Palin does. She is, in the end, simply another celebrity, albeit one who taps an underserved yet potent market. She'll gather money, and make statements, and perhaps write books, and look for conservatives willing to accept her support. A strong plan, a bold move, but not terribly difficult to comprehend.

    The reaction to her choosing this course was far more interesting, and has revealed much to my understanding. I do not love feeling confused, but one does learn to anticipate the opportunity for new information. I am appreciative of what you've helped me understand about the divide between "gut" and "brain" conservatives. The dynamic is different from how it operates in your opposition.

    It also points to why Americans need to move beyond 'conservatism' in the battle to preserve themselves. It is not just that the ideals you desire can no longer be conserved because they aren't in place anymore. Nor even that it is the fundamental nature of conservatism to only passively resist change, and thus inexorably give ground in the face of any powerful movement. Those would be enough, but the leadership issue is an absolute deathblow to your hopes.

    I suggest 'independence' as the new rallying cry. It served well enough before. And the movement on the ground has trended that way for some time already. More important to my own concerns…I have a selfish motive, but perhaps I will not explain it.

  • pbunyon July 17, 2009, 3:20 pm


    My gesture is not intended to blur the relationships between any factions here or "over there". I simply want to suggest that we, the most active commentators who support Dr. Keyes (overall), on this blog should let the cards (which we are not the dealer of) fall where they may. Then we as individuals can act accordingly in our own walk with The Creator. We are here for very similar or congruent philosophical reasons. We find many and more important reasons to agree and to move forward.

    That was my intention though, seriously as it were, in gest.

    When it comes to liberalism and conservatism I am not sure if you are prepared to draw the line of distinction however wide it is. Left to what you and the others have stated about liberalism and conservatism I am not sure I fit anywhere in either.

    Somehow I feel like I am evermore an individual who should only seek MY (and those God has entrusted me with) freedom through whatever means possible. Hopefully the means are by my god, Yahweh (whose name I feel unworthy to use). Don't try to read too much into this either because everyday everywhere I go, including at the hospital where my wife is under high risk care for the time being, I run into people just like myself. Funny how having such an individualistic philosophy places you among the many.

    I think we are together on that for sure!


  • Terry Morris July 17, 2009, 5:48 am


    Stop being so cryptic and offer us some practical suggestions for bridging the gap here while retaining our principled stand on conservative values. For example, it was suggested by a poster at VFR that we start out such conversations talking about the good qualities we see in Sarah Palin, and why we identify with her in those respects. My response to the suggestion was very positive. I even admitted I've been wrong (something not very easy for me to do sometimes) in pursuing a different course. Besides, following Mr. Coleman's suggestion wouldn't be hard for me at all since I do identify with Sarah Palin in many ways, and since I do understand why others identify with her on many of the same bases that I do.

    I suppose, in any event, that the best education comes not through instruction in theories of "winning the hearts and minds", but by going through the school of hard knocks. Not always the best method, and probably not necessary, but it leaves the most lasting impression, I should think.

  • chiu_chunling July 17, 2009, 3:24 am

    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

    Kinda a crappy poem, in my own aesthetic judgment, but it has some interesting lines. Anyway, I'm thinking that the alliance wasn't all that strong, based on the evidence. The conservative thinkers don't really respect the ornery folk, and the ornery folk are too independent to put up with that. I'd hoped that the thinkers would figure things out, but I guess it'll have to wait. It's not like figuring it out now will make a big difference, after all.

    Time enough for the ornery folk to remind you why they are not to be taken for granted. Since it can't be avoided anymore.

  • Terry Morris July 17, 2009, 1:16 am

    Y'all hug each other and let's get back to fighting the enemy.

    Well, see, my biggest enemy (or America's biggest enemy), I believe, is liberalism because it destroys everything it touches. The blatant, radical forms of liberalism don't interest me that much because it doesn't take any effort to identify them in the first place. And secondly, because it's so easily identified radical liberalism isn't as dangerous as the more subtle forms of same in my view. It's that pesky, destructive cankerworm that I'm looking to root out, not that I'm saying I'm very good at it, but anyway…

    I actually thought the conversation had been, all-in-all, very civil between posters (I've personally been in similar consversations where a lot more ire is let loose between posters for less than what's been said here.). Sure, there are some strong disagreements, but am I mistaken to assume that nobody in the conversation has made any additional enemies in spite of their particular view of Sarah Palin and her "conservatism?" If additional enemies have been made over what has mostly been rather innocuous criticisms of governor Palin, then what does that say about the strength of the alliance to begin with?

  • pbunyon July 16, 2009, 10:57 pm

    I guess now would be a good time to ask any and all who dare. Would the real conservative please stand up? The rest of us need target practice. In other words fitting the bill would mean their crucificxion. Who among politicians will carry that burden? Some of them, including the two main characters in these discussions, have been crucified in the media.

    Having not had my family beaten up so makes Sarah's decision hard for me to judge. If I had the experience she had, would I seem silly to step down if only to protect just one of my innocent children from the beast whom knows no bounds? Would any of you have a second thought or would you lets the beast have their way?

    As for me, my creed has and will forever place my family ahead of my country. If I allow them to be destroyed then who will ever have a chance to set upright the remnant of this great nation? I live for many other days and will die only for one.

    The greatest successes know when to hold them and when to fold them because they know they will have another chance. Many will say that Donald Trump is a great success though he sure has a lot of failures under his belt. Again I am reminded of Dr. Keyes. He successfully stands for principles but has yet to take a high office. hummmmmm…..I still think the world of him.

    Y'all hug each other and let's get back to fighting the enemy.

  • gilbertabrett July 15, 2009, 10:23 pm

    I'd still vote for her before anyone else that comes to mind. That is just the truth. She could not do any worse than the men and so called men we have put into office here lately. Then again…

    I think at least I could rely on her being a REAL American AND an actual CITIZEN of this country not scared to show her birth certificate…

  • chiu_chunling July 15, 2009, 4:43 pm

    I'm hardly a cynic about every prominent politician. In fact, you'll recall that I take a nuanced position on Romney (the current Republican Party front-runner), in that I regard him as being dangerously unsophisticated rather than guilty of any nefarious motives.

    That being said, the entire point I'm trying to make is that Palin is no longer a politician in any of the common senses of that word. Palin no longer has any choice about being a public figure, but in my view she has made a very smart and altruistic choice to try and use her notoriety to help America.

    Now, a smarter choice would have been for her to resign with a complete denunciation of the Republican party, and go on to a lucrative career basically selling the (completely true) "Republicans betrayed me" narrative to all those people who feel betrayed by Republicans right now. I don't think anyone can argue that there wouldn't be mega-bucks in that path. Heck, she might even extract dollars from me if that's what she were selling (indirectly, of course).

    In the end, given the way she's being treated, that may be the way this turns out anyway. But for now she's at least trying to help conservatives win. I don't think that her motives have to be purely altruistic, I doubt you work for free either (I myself prefer non-monetary compensations, but the principle is the same). One way or another, she's poised to make out like a bandit…but she's willing to try and parley her windfall (a term here used more appropriately than is usual) into benefit for America.

    She's trying to direct the betrayal and hurt a lot of grass-roots conservatives are legitimately feeling into a positive force for political change. Yes, she's going to be paid for doing that, but don't forget that she could get paid a lot more for nurturing a sense of injury and aggrievement against politicians generally. And if conservative politicians unite with RINOs and liberals in deriding her, she'll end up being forced down that road.

    She doesn't need anyone's help selling herself as a victim if that's what she wants. But right now she's trying to stay positive. It would be to your benefit to make that possible.

    See how useful cynicism is? It's my cynical disposition which allows me to predict what she'd be doing if she were really just out for self-aggrandizement and money. Leaving aside the fact that it also is a well-established path to cash in on notoriety.

    I do have to retract one thing I implied before, we already have contingencies in place which effectively isolate my sphere of action from what she's doing, so she is not actually getting in my way. Those elements are not my responsibility, so I wasn't thinking about them earlier. So, feel free to submit to despair over the knowledge that SarahPAC is not even going to moderately inconvenience me. But make no mistake, it's a sincere (if ultimately futile) effort to help conservatives get the support Republicans have squandered.

  • Terry Morris July 15, 2009, 1:06 am

    I want to be President more than she does.

    I don't get it, Chiu. You're a cynic when it comes to every other prominent politician, but when it comes to Sarah Palin you're not.

    I don't think you can know what her ambitions are any more than I can. Only she and God knows that. I hope she has no ambitions to become president, and I hope that she won't take the bait of the deceivers again. I hope that for her and her family's sake as much as anyone else's.

    If I were a betting man, I'd say she probably needs money and that that's likely the driving force behind her resignation. I sure don't think her reasons for quitting are purely altruistic.

  • chiu_chunling July 15, 2009, 12:23 am

    Why does everyone assume that Palin can't possibly be telling the truth when she says that she thinks she can serve without seeking office? Particularly as she resigned her current office for no other reason than that she believes she'll be more effective as a private citizen.

    You might think her mistaken (though in that case I don't see the point in paying any attention to her one way or the other now that she's left office), but why assume that she cannot believe her own words?

    I can afford to offend people because I don't need their help. You simply do not have that luxury (and I admit, it is an indulgence at times), not if you wish to have any hope of winning elections. It is fine to blow off people who will never vote for you anyway…but can you really afford to deliberately offend people who are eager to vote for you but have proven themselves willing to stay home?

    I may have phrased it badly when I said "what benefit". Some people might be assuming that disparaging Palin can't hurt them with 'conservatives'. That assumption is so willfully blind I do not even know where to begin to address it.

    I speak as one who agreed with the substance of most of what Dr. Keyes said about Palin…but I'm not blind to the implications of how it was said. I would have said the same essential things in praise of Palin's decision to leave office and take up the fight as a private citizen. Actually, I think by now I have brought up most of those substantive points in praising Palin's new strategy.

    So the only difference left is the disparagement.

    I can speak at length about Palin's lack of political acumen and leadership qualifications without saying anything bad about her or even disagreeing with her own publicly released statements. Will some people be offended by my doing so? Sure. But far fewer than will be offended by the manner in which all to many have chosen to present some of those same, undisputed points.

    Why bother to argue against that which nobody is in danger of seriously believing? All that has been accomplished is to create a backlash of Palin supporters insisting that she "can too" be President. What sane person, on careful consideration of the relevant evidence, could believe that she even wants to be President? On what evidence? I want to be President more than she does.

    Mostly just because it would be funny.

  • gilbertabrett July 14, 2009, 10:59 pm

    Yes, I agree, there is a lot more. I do not lay the blame on poor old Eve – she was fooled. I have been fooled plenty in my life too. I am just glad GOD knew EXACTLY what was gonna happen and laid out a ROCK solid plan for us all.

    I do see both sides of Governor Palin's predicament, as far as the average citizen could be concerned. I admit, I was kinda angry and felt like she had given up. I also realize that she has a husband, family and a baby to be a part of – an important part. And to not be able to do anything because your state is got too many loony tunes running around obviously very bored and in need of a J O B… but then again I know she is smart enough to know what she got herself into. But then again, maybe she likes keeping people on their toes?


    I just know I would rather have her as a vice president than Mr. Biden. And it would have been good on the job training for her too. There is no way she could do any worse than any of the other so called highly intelligent and Harvard educated people we have put into office in this country.

    Oh well… we will soon see what her plans really are. Until then, we can continue to discuss our thoughts, but I do not see any hope for the Republican Party. I have been happy to part company with them BUT they STILL keep sending me surveys, etc.

    What a waste of good money…

  • Terry Morris July 14, 2009, 7:39 pm

    Gilbertabrett wrote:

    Adam did not even HESITATE to eat the apple – Eve did not push it into his mouth with a knife against his throat…

    Interesting you should mention the story of the fall of man, Gilbert. In light of my statements above concerning mine and my wife's belief in complimentarianism, let me say this and let everyone take it as he/she wishes:

    Eve was alone in the garden wandering around when Satan tempted her with the forbidden fruit. It isn't just coincidence that Satan tempted her (as opposed to her husband) while she was alone, outside of her husband's presence. Once the deed was done, well, she became a temptress in her own right because her eyes had been opened; her innocence was gone. Satan could not have gotten to Adam, except through Eve, and he knew it. We really need to pay particularly close attention to what such stories are trying to convey to us.

    And I'll leave it at that. But there is more. A lot more.

  • Terry Morris July 14, 2009, 7:22 pm


    I guess I just can't see what can possibly be gained by being so easily insulted.

    I'm kind of partial to Senator Coburn because I think he's about the closest thing to a genuine conservative currently serving in the U.S. Congress. He also happens to be from Oklahoma, just a few miles down the road from me. But if someone comes along and questions his conservatism based on the fact that he endorsed Senator McCain (or whatever) in the late presidential race, I'm not going to be insulted by it. In fact, I'd agree with the person in question — "yes, that was a bonehead endorsement" — and that would be that. We could then move on and argue our respective points. But why get in a big tizzy over someone calling his conservatism into question?

  • chiu_chunling July 14, 2009, 4:04 pm

    I'm a believer in companionship. Or rather, I'd like a companion rather than a commensal. That's just me.

    As for Palin, I didn't ever advocate voting for her and I don't plan to start doing so just yet. There are reasons for that, but suffice to say I agree with those who don't find her well suited to government office.

    But a lot of people seem to be overlooking the fact that one of the people I'm agreeing with on that point is Sarah Palin.

    Keeping that in mind, can anyone explain to me the point of accusing her of dereliction or dishonor for choosing to serve out of office? The accusation itself rings hollow to me, but I don't really care about that. I'm wondering whether there is any reason for it even if it was unarguably true. Is there some benefit to be gained by insulting those who identify her as a genuine advocate of American values and principles?

    I'd really like to know.

  • gilbertabrett July 14, 2009, 2:07 pm

    I am thinking O'Drama is doing a lot of herding, huh???

    The Old Testament is full of the BEST examples of what happens when a nation turns to self instead of GOD. AND… it also gives a pattern for what happens when women come into power. Not because of the woman, but because of the weakness of man. Adam did not even HESITATE to eat the apple – Eve did not push it into his mouth with a knife against his throat…

    And I would still vote for Governor Palin before even thinking about voting for O'Drama. poor thing… did you see him freak when his teleprompter fell over and CRASHED – some thought an omen for the economy… At LEAST Governor Palin could give a speech without reading the entire thing. That tells me there is something to what she has in her heart.

    I think too many politicians can not speak from their heart because they do not HAVE one. They have to employ too many tactics, speech writers and use too many 'advisers' to get "their" point across. SAD!!!

    I see the point about O'Drama getting the conservatives to wake up and McCain (IF he would have won) putting them to sleep, but I could NEVER vote against my conscience. Even though I feel like I have done that anyway because the choices were so horribly opposed to what I believe our country stands (should stand) for.

  • Terry Morris July 14, 2009, 10:58 am

    I don't take particular offense to anyone that say's I'm not a conservative. It just so happens that the vast majority of people I interact with tend to think I'm an "ultra-conservative," or an "extremist-conservative." I don't mind wearing those labels either. People see things from their own perspectives which weren't developed in some kind of a vacuum. I have little to no control over that. The simple life of a Menonite isn't particularly appealing to me, though I don't begrudge them for choosing it.

    As for my relationship with my wife, we're both believers in complimentarianism. We both reject the idea of egalitarianism, perfect equality and non-discriminationism out of hand. Simply because that is not the way the world operates in the first place. And as has been said, "anything with two heads is a freak." On the other hand, I realize that modernity and the dominant ideology of liberalism has infected the minds of the vast majority of American citizens to this extent or the other, whether they're cognizant of it or not (and I'm including myself in that group; I've always included myself in that group.).

  • chiu_chunling July 14, 2009, 6:21 am

    Talking about women…my sister lives a lot like a traditional wife in a lot of ways. She bears and raises her children at home, she makes bread (tasty bread, too) from ground wheat, she relies on her husband to provide for the economic needs of the family, she has close bonds with her family and religious community…she's not particularly subservient or even subordinate to her husband, but that's probably a good thing. He relies on a lot of support from her, and some of that excludes the idea of subservience or subordination. She respects him as her husband and the father of her children, but I have to say that overall she gets to be a little more 'equal' in their relationship.

    So, can she be a conservative at heart? Well, this is just my own opinion, but she's pretty conservative. Admittedly, I'm about as far from conservative as one can get, but I still perceive this one sister as being a lot more conservative than any of my other sisters, not that most of them are particularly conservative.

    I'm just feeling my way on this issue of a "conservative lifestyle". Because, as my sister often admits, she has no idea how she'd have handled life a hundred years ago, let alone two hundred years ago. She likes her modern conveniences, as do the rest of us. What if we didn't have superglue for when kids got bits torn off? Life with no electricity…that's not just one thing, it's just about everything in the house. Cars, computers, plastics…she doesn't live anything like how her ancestors lived. And she doesn't much want to try.

    So…conservative? More so than me, naturally. More so than my other sisters. More than my parents or grandparents. But in absolute terms?

    Not even close.

    I suppose my point (if I have one at all), is that Palin may not be as conservative as my (all things considered) not very conservative sister. But that sister considers Palin more than sufficiently conservative…certainly far more conservative than anyone who derides her. That's just the way she views things. To her, it matters. And from what I've been able to gather, all those other Americans living relatively more traditional lifestyles don't have any problems identifying Palin's conservatism as pretty genuine.

    You can argue with those folks till you turn blue, or red, or white. They think she's plenty conservative for them. It's not because she's pretty, or ran as a Republican, or even because the media went stark raving insane with hatred of her. Those things probably didn't hurt, but they don't account for it. I think, when you get right down to it, it's because she clearly loves her country, and her family, and her God.

    For the vast bulk of those who describe themselves as conservatives, that pretty much covers it.

  • chiu_chunling July 14, 2009, 5:35 am

    I have mixed feelings about the proper role of females. Or rather, I have a theory about women which I believe with my head and another that I believe with…I supposed you'd call it a heart.

    But let's get away from the proper role of women and talk about the proper role of men instead. Men should live by herding animals. That's not how I want to live, it just happens to be a moral fact about the way the world is set up. There are a number of important aspects about herding animals. First, it teaches a lot of valuable moral lessons. Second, you can create a viable society in which all men herd animals. Third, it is a form of labor that lends itself to the contemplative life. We can consider these three broad categories as covering a lot of ground without too much overlap.

    Unfortunately (for men generally, though not any particular man, and not for myself), we don't have a situation in the world today where most men can plausibly live by herding animals, not even sheep. And a lot of the methods used in the modern societies to herd animals don't really have the same benefits of traditional animal herding. So men have to make do with whatever other kind of living they can find.

    I know this may sound silly, but it's really something to think about seriously. Whatever you think about the primeval pattern of making a living, we no longer have easy access to that lifestyle. And, to be frank, most of us don't really even seek it. I know I don't. I have the talent for it, I've tasted the goodness at the boundary between man and nature, I understand the pattern. But I still don't choose that life.

    But does that have anything to do with whether or not I'm a conservative? Well, as it happens I'm not, and that might have something to do with it. Alright then, what of Dr. Keyes, or anyone else posting here who does not practice traditional animal husbandry (I'd be pretty surprised if we have anyone who practices animal husbandry at all, let alone in traditional form, but there might be some).

    Can I call any man who doesn't live that way a real conservative? I don't care, since conservatism as such isn't of much interest to me. But others well may. That is, after all, how a man who really cares about tradition ought to seek to live.

    Now, I wouldn't mind having a traditional wife, just like I wouldn't really mind having a traditional lifestyle for myself. But I'm wary of saying that anyone who doesn't conform to tradition can't be a conservative. After all, even if I lived that way, I still wouldn't be one. So it seems fair to suppose that it's possible for someone to live a non-traditional lifestyle but still be conservative.

    That's just me.

  • Terry Morris July 14, 2009, 3:48 am

    Well, Sarah, you think Palin is a conservative. I don't. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    But something that I think needs to be pointed out is this — the day that we can no longer criticize the non-conservative actions of so-called "conservatives" based on the individual's popularity amongst some demographic group, is the day that conservatism receives its final death blow. Speaking of which, is it a conservative, or a liberal value to disallow criticism of a favored public figure?

    As to your criticism of my statements above, I'm a little confused. You're saying that I wouldn't die for my wife? I don't get it.

  • sarah July 14, 2009, 12:53 am

    I am really shocked by the Palin bashing commentary here. Maybe I am just too much of neophyte and see politics through the lenses of a child, which sees Palin as a great role model for conservative women; her courage, her strength, her zeal for conservative values speaks for themselves! She lives them, by the grace of God!

    You can measure a person's worth by their adversaries. God thinks highly of this gal. Charity does not seek it's own but rather the good of the other. I have never read a sentence where Palin dares to criticize those in her own party, that alone is a testimony of her faith, but those who dare to accuse someone else's servant will have to answer to the master. Beware, if it be God's will that this woman may fulfill a purpose that is divinely willed, who are we to judge? Disappointing to see politics as usual, where the same team elbows one another for the spotlight instead of submitting to the will of God and allowing him to work in each. I assure you there's plenty of room.

    Mr. Terry Morris, the way you talk about your wife being subservient sounds as if she is one of your pets. Perhaps you've forgotten that Christ meant, husbands love your wives as I have loved the church; which he sacrificed and gave up his life. It requires dying. In fact Christ emptied all…I see nothing but full of self in regards to your disdain at Palin. Who wants conservatism wrapped in that?

  • chiu_chunling July 13, 2009, 4:07 pm

    "Pit-bull in lipstick" is meant to metaphorically summarize her limitations as an intellectual and administrator. It also indicates that she doesn't have much aspirational ambition, she's focused on what's between her teeth rather than what lies down the road.

    I'm sorry that the folksy poetry of the allusion to the world's ugliest dog was not easier to understand. Pit-bulls, after all, are not noted for eloquence either. What Palin meant was that she didn't really know how she got where she was, she didn't have much to do with deciding to be there, but once there she was going to do what she could with what God gave her.

    I have to disagree with the idea that Palin is "special". The great thing about Palin is that she is common. The even greater thing is that she knows and accepts that about herself, and is still willing to enlist and serve in the hope that someone can be found to lead.

    I will agree with many statements about the sincerity of her conservative values, and I also must recognize the validity the states' rights view of abortion (recognizing that states' rights don't cover human trafficking). The destruction of the states' rights view is, after all, how we got to the current situation with regards to abortion. As a tool for rolling abortion back, it has proven merit.

    But in a more important sense her own conservatism doesn't matter. She isn't looking to be a policy maker. Her current effort is to find and promote qualified candidates who deserve the cultural conservative vote. As long as you accept the principle of representative electoral democracy, you are going to need these "impure" conservatives to vote for you.

    So why spit in their face? I really can't understand.

  • pbunyon July 13, 2009, 1:32 pm

    Dr Keyes,

    En light what I said about abortion being handled at the state level, let me be clear that this idea of charting some course politically as such should not be taken as advice for anyone. Let everyone do what is right as they are directed by God. Family and my own personal commitment to follow as I am led by The Word sides unequivocally with the right to life. As for politics and the rule of law it is a long hard war. If I had been in her position I would apply my personal convictions to the job. I cannot be too sure what God has in store for me, let alone you or Sarah Palin. Otherwise I feel that I would be speculating. There is a reason for it all.


  • pbunyon July 13, 2009, 1:18 pm

    Dr. Keyes,

    This may hit some folks sideways, but I can honestly say that give all the issues championed by TRUE "conservatives" I find myself somewhere to the right of it all. When Sarah Palin stated that abortion law should be handled at the state level I thought she was on target. I believe that she and I think much the same on the tactics of the issue. Personally I'd like to snuff out all unnatural abortion the world over. I feel she thinks this way too. Without direct intervention from God,or war, there is little chance that Roe V. Wade will be reversed all at once. However with diligence, cunning, and deliberate political steps this ship can begin to turn around even against the tide.

    As for Sarah Palin's reason for doing anything, I am not concerned. Whether she ever really gains new political power or not I still identify with her. I see this whole episode, that started when she was picked as McCain's running mate, as an eye opener on many fronts. One of the best is how a woman like her can make "men" feel completely threatened by her ability to do anything they hold dear as "manly" in this pop culture society. It's hilarious.

    As for Terry's comment eluding to a woman's role I agree except for one condition. When there are no men willing to get the cob out of their backside and do what is right I see no reason a woman, even with many prior commitments, can't step up to the plate. Shame on all those "men" who would put all those other personal commitments ahead of doing what is right, right now! It is the same problem in Christian society. It's just another tune I sing all the time. "Where have all the men gone?" This of course is not an invite for all would-be men to try proving it but instead more food for thought.


  • at the edge July 13, 2009, 11:33 am

    Nobody's perfect. You Mr Keyes included.
    Palin is a special and great person, and so are you.
    But I do sense your fear of her – most probably
    because you too want to be popular, and better
    than she. Here then, Mr Keyes, is but one of your
    imperfections. Try to maintain humility and leave
    good people alone. By trying to find their faults,
    you end up raising your height by stepping on
    someone else.

  • Terry Morris July 13, 2009, 10:07 am


    I think you're simply wrong in much of your assessment of Governor Palin. What you're saying about her contradicts what she's said about herself in several ways. I mean, she is the one that announced to the world her "pitbull in lipstick" status, which is supposed to mean … what exactly? I don't think she's had much trouble tooting her own horn. On the one hand I can see some good in that. It is, afterall, "a poor dog that won't wag his (or her) own tail." But if'n you're going to toot that horn, you'd better be able, and willing, to back it up.

    I'm not exactly looking for conservative purity personally, but I would like to see conservatism purified to some degree rather than this continual watering down that we're getting from every conceivable direction. I don't have any personal animosity towards Sarah Palin, nor her desire to see things set aright. I just know that she's not the "conservative" that she's touted to be. And there's nothing wrong with pointing that out to my mind. It's not a personal attack on Sarah Palin, it's an attack on this tendency of 'progressive conservatives' to engage themselves in the destruction of conservatism as a political force in America.

  • kenlowder July 13, 2009, 9:32 am

    Ms Palin is by no means a conservative. She is in fact a politician looking to advance. I think she is looking to replace mr. steele as head of the gop. Our gov, rick perry, is now touting that he has her support for his re-election bid. That is all the more reason to doubt her.


  • chiu_chunling July 13, 2009, 2:26 am

    I suppose I should establish something that I may not have actually mentioned.

    Palin understands, better than anyone else, her own limitations. She didn't enter politics beacuse she thought herself best qualified to lead. She was just trying to fight the endemic corruption in her state's government. Nobody stood up to be a candidate she could support, so she ended up doing a job she hated, which put enormous burdans on her personal and family life, because she wasn't willing to stand by and carp about the government without doing everything she could.

    She didn't campaign to become McCain's running mate. She just didn't want Obama to win without a fight. I'm sure she knew it would be hard, but she accepted. And when the going turned out to be much harder than she thought, she stayed in the fight and moved forward as best she could. Yes, accepting the role of stalking-goat for the RINOs wasn't exactly smart. She learned from it.

    She knows she was tricked and used. She understands that she isn't the best qualified to be Governor or Senator or President. So why beat her up over it? Like many other Americans, she's looking for someone to support. I can understand feeling that her support might be more damaging than beneficial (I do not share that estimate, but I'll admit it to be a judgment call). Then don't seek it.

    But what do you think to gain by attacking her? She resigned as governor because she felt she was no longer serving the office well by continuing. Should she slit her belly open to show how sorry she is for having the presumption to try to make a difference? Will that make her a worthy mother and wife in your view? They don't even do that in Japan anymore, by the way.

    I may seem intemperate. In reality, I'm simply, honestly puzzled. This woman recognizes that she isn't well suited to public office, but she still wants to do everything she can to serve her country as best she can. Exactly what is wrong with that? Yes, she has an enormous following, most of whom never heard of her before she was tapped as McCain's running mate (I had heard of her, and mostly good things, but I have never been a fan). She's doing her best to use that celebrity to help America.

    As an outside observer, I have to say that her best isn't bad. It isn't quite enough to worry me, but it's certainly enough to bear watching. Yes, attacking her and demoralizing her followers will remove certain obstacles from my path…but I'm pretty sure that's not what any of you are wanting. So what exactly are you trying to accomplish?

  • chiu_chunling July 13, 2009, 1:12 am

    Dr. Keyes also ran for president, and I personally endorsed him as the candidate most qualified for the American Presidency. Not because I believed there was even the remotest possibility of him being elected, but because of his ability to understand the role of government–both its powers and its proper limitations.

    But, as someone once said, "Government is not the solution". There is a place for independence minded Americans who don't have a desire to serve in office…and it isn't at the back of the bus. Certainly not under it.

    Just…think for a moment what you look like to the vast majority of American conservatives when you attack Palin for being more like them and less like yourself. When you fundamentally reinforce the leftist gibe that "conservatives are dumb" by deriding that conviction which proceeds from the gut rather than the head.

    I…find myself under certain constraints in expressing my opinions on this point. I am, after all, inviting you to do something which is rather inconvenient to my own mission. I accepted the role willingly, and fully intend to perform my duty without reservation of any kind. It is easier for me if those who would attempt to preserve the nation of America are caught up in pointless and idiotic in-fighting. But I suppose if I really wanted ease that badly I wouldn't have accepted this job anyway. I am not an enthusiast by nature. But I will do what I must.

    Palin is not Victory. Do not imagine that I promise political success to those who champion her (even if I can predict failure for those who deride her). But, in your hurry to display your own superior understanding, be wary of forgetting the first principle of all government.

    If you would lead, somebody must follow.

  • californiascreaming July 13, 2009, 12:19 am

    Thanks Dr. Keyes for clarifying your position. I am an independent conservative. The few on the right who have criticized Palin have gotten a fervent response by Palin supporters. She has her own "cult of personality" following like Obama. Judging her on her merits shows she falls short. I suppose those who support her so called conservative beliefs will rationalize her performance by contrasting her to Obama. However the measuring stick of a conservative must be on its own merits not in the emotional paradigm of the choice of Obama. In no means is Palin a bad person. I wonder if she has the passion of leading her followers and the moral courage to implement true conservative beliefs. Again thanks for your eloquent thoughtful response toward Palin.

  • Terry Morris July 13, 2009, 12:09 am

    Are we better off with O'Drama.

    My instincts tell me, and the answer to the question is supposed to be a simple and emphatic NO!, right? But there's actually a pretty good case to be made that we are better off with Hussein at the helm.

    Given the state of conservatism in this country, and of the republican party as a viable vehicle for conservatism — a state of utter chaos and shambles with no small thanks to president Bush — the Obama 'presidency', it is said, will ultimately serve to revitalize both. Whereas a McCain presidency would serve merely to lull conservatives into deeper sleep as he continued to chip away at genuine conservative policies.

    I think there's some element of truth to the hypothesis. But even if I thought it were an absolute and irrefutable fact, I could never have voted for Obama in any case (birth certificate issue aside for our purposes here). The Bible teaches me to select for my rulers "men that fear God, hating covetousness." Can that be said of either McCain or Obama?

  • gilbertabrett July 12, 2009, 11:27 pm

    Governor Palin may not be suitable to some to serve as a national leader, but we only had one other choice… HELLO!!!! Are we better off with O'Drama.

    People always look at me weird when I ask them what they think Al Gore would have done after 9/11. Think about it…

    We will NEVER have the perfect candidate (we only got THAT hope and change once, I hope) but in keeping the sometimes honest and always vigorous debate going in this country, we still have to choose the lesser of two evils. SAD, BUT true…

    I see a lot lacking in Governor Palin, but I would have her as president ANY day before our apologetic king…

    Dr. Keyes, if you are thinking of running for president in 2012, we should begin this now. After all, O'Drama ran for president for two years…

    Help us LORD!

  • Larry Walker Jr July 12, 2009, 11:10 pm

    I like Sarah Palin as a person and a politician. In fact, a Keyes/Palin ticket would be hard to beat. I really can't find one incumbent politician in America who is clearly pro-life in their policies and statements. It's more about what you do in your own life than what you say or promote that counts, at least with me.

  • Steve July 12, 2009, 10:32 pm

    I as well have heard the Dr speak last summer in convention and I was in awe listening to such a scholar. The outcome of that gathering was not what I expected, mainly I suspect because of the bickering of God fearing Conservatives over one point or another. The biggest point I took away was our right to self government comes from our Creator, The Creator God. I can not imagine that all of our founding fathers agreed on all points of religion or the practice of religion, but there seems to be little debate that they all agreed that our rights came from the creator, not the government. Dr Keyes, I listened to you pound that point home at least several times, why can we not stand on that point alone and go forward. We need to bring the creator back into the centrist of our government before it is lost forever. It is very disheartening to see and hear the two main individuals that I feel could rally the people to take our government back from the pits of hell, be so at odds with each other. I said this last summer and I will say it again, the forces of the devil are united against us, we need to unite and fight back as one voice.

    Stephen S Head

  • chiu_chunling July 12, 2009, 6:38 pm

    I suppose that, before commenting, I should reiterate and clarify something that may sometimes get obscured by the flow of more interesting discussions.

    I am…an outsider of sorts. In several ways, and not least when it comes to questions of human liberty, my point of view is different.

    That said, I urge those who would lead "conservatives" to consider the foundation of their struggle. Dr. Keyes stated:

    "Where no overriding public interest can be ascertained, the state cannot impose its moral opinions upon individuals without infringing the freedom of conscientious decision essential for the free exercise of religion."

    There is a very serious error demonstrated here. The state cannot possess "moral opinions" (or opinions of any kind whatsoever) unless it is identical with some person. There can be no possible distinction between "overriding public interest" and the overriding interests of members of the public.

    All principled morality is based on personal decisions. The issue of abortion is a good example. I do not follow most of the arguments against abortion because I do not accept the common premise of almost all such arguments. I do not, cannot, discover any justification for the belief that human life has any significant intrinsic value. The arguments which persuade me might seem more suited to the "pro-choice" position, but they lead me to adopt the stance that abortion should be restricted as far as is practical.

    But I do not therefor dismiss the unreflective impulse of most who could be called "pro-life" towards a belief that life has inherent worth. I do not share it, I don't really understand it. I may even find it raises logical complications I am not patient enough to try to resolve. But I do not dismiss it.

    Why then, should those of you who do share it?

    Palin is not a "principled" champion of the intrinsic value of human life. Nevertheless, she does champion it. She is not a "principled" champion of the right to keep and bear arms, but she does champion it. She is not a "principled" champion of American sovereignty, or government accountability (yeow), or the Constitution, or any number of other things that she nevertheless does champion.

    If you would lead, first know who you would lead. Understand why they desire your leadership. And respect them for it. The values they pursue impulsively are the very foundation of your principles. Invite them to understand your reasoning, but do not disparage them for first relying on what you would have them use for axioms. Unlike myself, they're actually on your side.

  • English July 12, 2009, 4:45 pm

    I completely respect Dr. Keyes' opinions. I am a nobody living in TX. I have no degree and cannot begin to argue with any intellectuals out there, including Dr. Keyes. That said, I still worship the only true God, go to work, pay my taxes and vote. I would like to continue to do just that. Under the current adminstration/congress (both sides) those values are under attack. I, personally, want someone to hold up the LIGHT in such a manner that others will drawn to the truth, not repelled. As I get older I understand this country does not like to have things shoved down their faces, whether it be government intervention or the truth. Ms. Palin may not be the true conservative that Dr. Keyes others thinks she needs to be in order to be PERFECT. But, I dare say, Dr. Keyes and the like cannot expect their absolute way of thinking to win many over. Again, I have heard Dr. Keyes in person and would jump at the oppurtunity to hear him again. I just can't get on board with bashing someone who COULD make a difference and help keep America serving her God, working and voting. Please don't bother to argue my point, last time I checked I still have the right to my viewpoint.

  • Terry Morris July 12, 2009, 3:44 pm

    You are disappointed that Dr. Keyes takes her to task for her lack of conservative values? Shame on you and everyone else that holds this perverted view of conservatism. She never was qualified for national public office, and that's the end of it. Period. But, again, if you should care to argue it with me, I'm all ears.

  • jadavison July 12, 2009, 3:25 pm

    I am disappointed to see Ambassador Keyes take Palin to task for what was really her only possible action.

  • Terry Morris July 12, 2009, 2:38 pm

    Dr. Keyes, I unabashedly, and unembarasingly agree with you. Principled conservatives have ever dismissed the supposed "conservatism" of Sarah Palin. Not only is she thoroughly disqualified from the presidency, she is also not? a conservative by any stretch. I should like to point to her acceptance of feminism as a governing principle of our society, but that is mere pretence. Her family life is but all in shambles.

    My wife is a 'political' force in her own right. But it doesn't mean I'm going to allow that to supersede her devotion to her family, period.

    Your readers may not like it, but she (my wife) is subservient to my expectations. But time enough will come when I'm a representative in the great state of Oklahoma. Which isn't now or five years hence.

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