The Charlie Brown Syndrome
In the famous Charles Schulz comic strip, Peanuts, Charlie Brown is enticed every year by Lucy to placekick a football that she volunteers to hold for him. Charlie runs down the field toward his beguiling friend, who is holding the football on the ground, and swings his leg in a huge arching kick. But at the last moment Lucy jerks the football away and Charlie flies through the air to land on his back with a loud thump and the scream of "Aaugh!" Every year, Lucy convinces Charlie to try another kick, promising not to pull the football away like she did last time. And every year, Charlie runs down the field and Lucy jerks the football away at the last moment with Charlie falling on his famous fanny.
Why does Charlie continue to fall for Lucy's con? Because Charlie is a good-natured chap, but gullible about human nature. This priceless scene, which played out every year from the 1950s to 2000 in newspapers all over the world, is metaphor for that exasperating trait of large amounts of humans to fall for the beguiling promises of their fellowmen who seek something from them. Much of history is made – from the daily mundane events of our personal lives to the grand, epochal affairs of nations – because of this naïve trust that so many humans have in the professed benevolence of persuasive fellow humans who wish to enlist their support for a cause, a vote, a job, a war, a venture, a romance, etc. The world is full of guile because it is full of fools. Thus life for us as individuals and societies keeps running off the road into messy ditches of disaster.
America is no stranger to the ditches along with the fools who persist in driving us there; and the world of politics is an excellent arena to demonstrate this fact. For over four decades now from 1968 to 2010, the Republican Party hierarchy has been playing the role of Lucy to Charlie Brown conservatives. Every election year GOP politicians promise to millions of traditional conservatives among the party that if they will donate their money, time and votes to elect them, they as Republicans will vigorously challenge the "horrid Democrats" who are obtusely driving America into ditches of disaster. But year after year, just like conniving Lucy, the Republicans we send to Washington go back on their promises and proceed to do as the Democrats do.
Where the Right Has Gone Wrong
Do conservatives show any signs of ever learning from this? Unfortunately, no. They continue to do what Charlie Brown always did. They buy into Lucy's con. They agree to cooperate with Republican beguilers giving them valuable money, time and votes. This is happening once again as we head for 2012. The Charlie Brown conservatives are insisting that we must cooperate with the Lucy Republicans of Washington. As if the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin are suddenly going to become Jeffersonians and start fighting for strictly limited government. That will happen when mules qualify to run in the Kentucky Derby.
As Patrick Buchanan tells us in his book, Where the Right Went Wrong, "Robert Taft Republicanism is dead ....There is no conservative party in Washington. There is a Democratic Party of tax-and-spend, and a Republican Party of guns and butter and tax cuts, too. Washington is all accelerator, the brakes are gone."
"Republicans believe they have found the Rosetta Stone of American politics, the key to the permanent retention of power: Cut taxes consistently, and don't let Democrats outspend you. As Dick Cheney told a stunned Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, 'Deficits don't matter.'"
"Lobbying groups, manned by conservative activists, have now been set up in Washington to steer clients to the right GOP congressman to get their pet projects funded by taxpayers.... Everybody gets his or her slice of pork, so long as everyone votes for everyone else's slice."
"What is the difference" asks Buchanan, "between the compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush and the Great Society liberalism of Lyndon Johnson?"
There is no difference whatsoever. Why is this horrendous profligacy taking place? Because the Democrats and Republicans have a monopoly over the ideas that feed the populace at election time. Statist-collectivist ideology dominates the electoral process and the TV Presidential Debates through the bogus two-party system. Both parties work for the relentless expansion of government to handle all problems. Both parties enshrine egalitarianism. Both utilize Keynesian economics. Both practice wealth redistribution. Both legislate Nanny State cradle-to-grave security. Both espouse open borders. Both tolerate the subordination of American sovereignty to the goal of one-world government. This has been going on for over 40 years ever since Richard Nixon dumped the Goldwater revolution into the Potomac and showed how to win power by becoming Democratic clones.
In other words, the Lucy Republicans have been jerking the football away from the Charlie Brown conservatives for over four decades. And still the gullible conservatives among the GOP buy into the disingenuousness of Republican promises every election year. When does reality set in? When do the Charlie Brown conservatives wake up and realize they are being played by the Gingrichs, Steeles, Roves and Romneys -- the political Lucys of Washington.
Rejecting the Snare and Delusion
There is a solution to this fools' game. It consists of facing reality and cutting the umbilical cord that draws freedom advocates into the Republican trap every election year. It will necessitate accepting that we no longer have a "two-party system." As Buchanan puts it, "Our vaunted two-party system is a snare and delusion. Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey."
What we, who believe in freedom and constitutional government, must do is face up to this reality instead of clinging so naively every election year to the empty promises of Republican Lucys. We must forge a new political party – a conservative party of our own! But not a party that preaches utopianism to the choir and garners 1% of the vote as the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party do every year.
We need a REAL third-party that can get 38% of the vote, which would win in a three man race. Contrary to conventional thinking this is now possible. For example, all recent polls show the Democrats and Republicans each getting 30% of the electorate. For the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1992, says USA Today, 40% of voters declare themselves to be Independent.
What is the source of this profound shift in sentiment? Big, arrogant government and 1) its egregious debt pyramiding, 2) its criminal expropriation of middle class wealth to subsidize Wall Street fat cats, 3) its refusal to check the alien invasion of illegal immigration from Mexico, and 4) the monstrous socialized health-care bill that it so haughtily insisted on ramming down our throats, and which will bring intolerable convolution and misery rather than ease and benefit to our lives.
Thus in today's political climate so outraged with Washington, if a conservative third-party was geared to end the above four tyrannical policies, it could easily draw 20% from the Independents, 15% from the GOP, and 5% from Blue Dog Democrats, which would be 40% of the vote. Even if the remaining Independent vote of 20% splits 12% in favor of Democrats and only 8% for Republicans, that still would leave the Democrats with only 37%, the Republicans with 23%, and our third-party with 40%. Voila! Victory for conservatives and libertarians. Victory for freedom and smaller government.
A New Political Paradigm
I have written a book that demonstrates how to do this, The Conservative Revolution: Why We Must Form a Third Political Party to Win It. It puts forth a cogent reform plan for our tax and monetary systems that will stop the runaway freight train of government growth and restore sanity to the land. It shatters the myth that we must, at all costs, eschew third-party efforts and "remain within the GOP." It shows how to unify millions of conservatives, libertarians and independents into one party – the Conservative American Party. Its revolutionary reform plan will dramatically challenge the Washington establishment and bring about a pervasive political realignment equivalent to the Republican displacement of the Whigs in the mid-19th century.
The ideological forces of the past 40 years have been steadily building toward such a paradigmatic challenge, and the world's present economic crisis is the catalyst that can bring it about. The rising disenchantment we see throughout the American heartland is conservative-libertarian disenchantment. We need to tap into it. The Republican Lucys will continue to do what they are programmed to do – default on their promises. But we as conservatives need to quit playing the role of gullible Charlie Browns. We need a political party of our own! We need to become heroic patriots again. This is the only approach and attitude that can bring salvation to America.
Posted by Of on 05/14/10 12:27 PM
I just read in "Die Zeit" that Thomas Jefferson is being taken out or downsized in Texan school books and that Jefferson Davis is being upgraded. In school books! Cave Hitler. Trying to fix these kinds of brainwashings can be almost impossible. I do not understand stuff like that, especially, is not Ron Paul Congressman of Texas?
Posted by Weeble on 05/12/10 10:48 PM
I do not agree that a 3rd party would do anything to solve the systemic problem of the Power Elite using government to control us.
Here in Canada, we tend to have a declining voter turn-out each time they ask us "who do we want to lie to us for the next few years". Last time I bothered to look, it was getting to the low 40 percent level.
As soon as you vote a leader, they then have permission to help you with implements of torture.
We are taking the apathetic route here. As soon as the voter turn-out gets to 5 percent or less, then where is the will of the people? Face it, Diebold has the elections locked up in the USA (no pun intended). My suggestion is to do your duty to liberty and not vote.
Courtesy of Monty Pythons Flying Circus (toot):
I am Arthur, King of the Britons. King of the who? The Britons. Who are the Britons? We all are, and I am your King! Well I didn't vote for you. You don't vote for a king.
Posted by De Jure on 05/12/10 07:00 PM
We can't accept benefits or we are still consenting. The Party exists: It is those who have chosen a free-will existence. Www HisHolyChurch (dot) net & www PACinLaw (dot) org
Come & be "without" the United States
Posted by Paul Ostrander on 05/12/10 04:56 PM
Ross Perot's third party split the Republicans so Democrats could win. I say let the Republicans think they are absorbing the Tea Party and to their surprise they have let in a Trojan horse. Re-brand the Republicans as the party of freedom for individuals, spending control, and keeping our word.
Posted by Capt. A. on 05/12/10 03:35 PM
In this well-written article, checking under the sub-title, Rejecting the Snare and Delusion, second paragraph, Mr. Hultberg states, "What we, who believe in freedom and constitutional government...'
I would take exception with the fact of trying to combine freedom, liberty, etc., with ANY form of government ... as compatible. (See the Shaffer article noted below)
This other cogent, well thought out article (See Shaffer URL below) should dissuade any critical thinker from reading and then believing in and falling into the parallel Charlie/Lucy trap, as it applies to constitutional government/freedom, seemingly as a viable exception by Mr. Hultberg in his valued attempt to persuade.
The political grifters of the U.S. government, the mendacious Machiavellian whores (politicians) that prevaricate within the Beltway of Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, have endlessly proved since the birth of the American Constitution, one incontrovertible fact: It make NO difference how many different parties seek power; any door you walk through (vote for) you'll ultimately wind up in the same room. Mr. Hultberg briefly alludes to this verifiable truth in his article. So, here's the OTHER side of the story that should account for missing TRUTH, presented by Mr. Butler Shaffer:
Click to view link
The game is rigged. You cannot win! Ever! The question is: Will you too ... be duped into voting?
The threadbare fabric of the American system and its thoroughly despicable government stands little chance of ever allowing/instituting true freedom, liberty, privacy (both financial and personal), as well as restoration of the sanctity of private property rights to bare. The American government, supported by the majority of its citizens (voting) is lucidly proving itself a failed, lamentable experiment. It will fail the test of time and truth, proof historically that in one small brief instant, people again failed to grasp the true merits of those cherished attributes mentioned above. The masters lash will cut deep and your yoke will grow unbearably heavy.
Cest la guerre.
Capt. A., Principaute de Monaco
Posted by Mary Boud on 05/12/10 12:57 PM
Interesting conversation but we already have an effort underway! Nelson Hultberg gives a wonderful analogy of the betrayal we conservative Republican's feel. Other 'posts' seem to be circling around some similar themes. But I do not think a third party is the answer. And we already have the equivalent of a "Party of No Name" -- that is not really a party but rather a movement. It is the 'Tea Party Movement' and it is well-named in spite of enemy attempts to demonize us (following Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals' for community organizers.
In polling,the Tea Party Movement gets 40%, beating both major Parties, and so we are already making great strides.
The arrogant failure of Washington to 'listen' to voters, much less, 'represent' them has been reminiscent of the original, historical Boston Tea Party -- hence the name.
Contrary to what you may have learned from the MSM and leftist politicians, this is truly a 'grass-roots' movement. Actually it's more of a loose coalition, such as, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, and numerous state-wide or regional groups. Sadly, a few are vying for leadership and have enlarged their agenda. Most, however, have set aside other specific policy differences in order to concentrate on saving our nation. All are for fiscal sanity, reduced spending, reduced taxes, less regulation, an end to pork-barrel spending and corruption, small Federal government with restoration of State's rights and Constitutional law. Essentially this is the core of the conservative-libertarian view.
In most cases, the Tea Partiers are working with 'new' Republicans rather than go the way of a third party. The difference is, we've lost our 'Charlie Brown' naivete. We no longer trust 'Lucy,' and many Democrats and Independents suffering from 'voters remorse' have joined the effort. Money does not go to the RNC and its favorites but rather to select candidates with consistent, trustworthy conservative records and who have signed a pledge to fulfill the Tea Party principles.
Haven't you noticed the change that's already underway? Primaries are challenging incumbents and those 'wedded' more to party than principle.
Check out the Tea Party in your area.
Posted by T.H. on 05/12/10 12:09 PM
I have been using the same analogy (Charlie Brown being suckered into trying to kick the football held by Lucy yet one more time) for years in discussions with friends and family, the only difference being that I made Charlie representative of American voter in general, without party distinction. Lucy has represented the two major political parties. It's great to see someone develop that same concept and incorporate it into a very well-written essay.
The problem I see is that time is of the essence in breaking the two-party monopoly that has hold of the American voter, if the remaining shreds of our republic are to be saved. Unfortunately, the tea party movement, which began as a largely independent oppositional reaction to the two party stranglehold, seems to have been successfully co-opted by the Republican party. I was dismayed when my local tea parties let incumbent Republicans speak at their initial events, feeling it a big mistake. Time has justified my fears.
There seems to be a a big roadblock on the way to electoral success for any new party that wants to win the next presidential election, and that is how to reconcile two factions within the Republican base: the pro-warfare "conservatives" and those like me who will absolutely not support any candidate who wants to continue the so-called war on terror, support the military industrial complex, and maintain the Federal Reserve.
I'm afraid that for 2012, the above split in philosophies will play out and that Obama will win a second term by default -- a truly hideous thought. Personally, I have an additional problem, in that I will not support any candidate who seeks to curtail a woman's right to abortion. That truly alienates me from any of the so-called "liberty" candidates, save perhaps Ron Paul, whose stance on reproductive rights is at least philosophically consistent with the Constitution.
I haven't voted for years, for the above reasons stated, and will probably be on the sidelines yet again as I watch Charlie try to kick Lucy's football one more time.
Posted by Bob on 05/12/10 12:02 PM
In response to your "Charlie Brown Syndrome:"
-It's not "love" that makes the world go around. It's the three "Gs"
-Guilt, Greed and Guile.
Posted by Bruce Frykman on 05/12/10 10:52 AM
I too, as a conservative, no longer trust the party system. I believe the only way out of this is at the local level. Here are things you can and must do. Do not contribute one dime to any political party. Instead fund individual conservatives.
For years I had been supporting Republicans with the state's program of reimbursement of up to $100 per year (married couple) for contributions towards a major political parties.
These programs must be abolished.
Nancy Pelosi is supposed to represent the weird political views of her base in San Fransisco. She not only does this but also represents everyone in the USA as the second most powerful person in Washington. Only partisan politics enables this shrew to represent me.
Posted by Bryan on 05/12/10 10:35 AM
Clayton has the method, Nelson starts out with the reality that stops peaceful change. We are a nation of 60-90% fools, who repeatedly elect same to political offices. Changing that is formidable.
Posted by Duane Bass on 05/12/10 09:32 AM
I have to agree with this summation of political party politics. . . It is dead. There should be no parties, just candidate agendas!
Posted by David Anderson on 05/12/10 09:06 AM
Where do I sign up?
Posted by Sally Preston on 05/12/10 07:07 AM
Thank you, Clayton, for your thoughtful responses. I agree, no name is needed.
Posted by Clayton on 05/12/10 04:46 AM
Nelson, I support your efforts in the above commentary concerning a "Third" Party. As you know, we have many current contenders for "Third" Party status and that is one of the problems. Each of these contrarian groups has its own sets of internal vested interests to be overcome.
Secondly, from a strategic point of view, the adjective describing this party is crucial. As a case in point, disaffected liberals are unlikely to vote for a "Conservative" party. Neither are libertarians, or people who as a matter of their character resist "pigeonholing."
My thoughts on this problem is to simply call it, "The Party." Then when pressed, we could say that it is the Party with No Name. The MSM would likely call it then the No Name Party, but its members would only know it (correctly) as The Party.
As strange as this might seem, it has a precedence. I live next door to Sausalito, California, just a mile or two up the road. we have a bar down on the main street, Bridgeway, which is called "The No Name Bar" but it is really the Bar With No Name. It is one of the oldest places to drink in town and everyone in Marin County knows what you mean when you mention the No Name.
The purpose of doing this is to avoid the existentialization process that goes on as soon as you identify yourself as a this or a that. Once this process occurs, the ad hominem criticisms are soon to follow. It permits our opponents to personalize their attacks and avoid dealing with the issues in any detail. We cannot afford to fall into that kind of distraction.
The Party can have a set of principles that form the basis of its goals and unifying dynamics. We are certainly for a reformation of the government and the political process, but we are not the Reform Party. We are much much more than that. We are not here to make the Government better, we are here to change the entire way people think not just about the Government, but more importantly their lives. It is not just about legislation and regulation, it is about living. In this sense it is not just a party, it is a Movement that transforms the experience people have of their individual selves and their interaction with their communities.
Why is it that the two current parties are so powerful? It is patronage. The revolutionary antidote to their patronage is to honor our fellow members with preference in business and social interaction. We must practice discrimination, dividing the world into two camps, members and non-members. When it become essential for a business to have the Party's label on its door, its cards, and its advertisements, to remain viable, then we have won.
The Party needs its Jesuits, Dominicans and Franciscans, but it should not have a Vatican. Like the Knights of St. John and Columbus, it must practice self help and demonstrate compassion and loyalty to its members who suffer as a result of the evils and afflictions visited upon them by the State. In its modeling, it should be catholic, an example to other peoples and cultures as to how to deal with their own government imposed afflictions. We need to remember that Americans are not alone in having to cope with the jackboot of World Government.
The rise of The Party is the end of politics as we have known it, because the The Party has no agenda for power. Its agenda is the diversification of power away from the center back to where it belongs, the people. It is non-violent and is not provocative. It embraces in its relationship with its members the concept of Private Law and the Voluntary Society. In it we would begin the process of instituting Competitive Non-Monopolistic Justice.
Winning elections must take a back seat to gaining members. When critical mass is reached, the elections will be a mere formality, a moment to recognize that a new society is now underway. In an immediate practical sense, everyone who is interested in doing this can begin their own branch of The Party right away. It starts with your own point of view, next with your level of education (knowledge), and next to your conduct with others. We may all be fishers of men.
Having Compassion for the condition of slavery that the other people you meet during the day is the essential first step. Second, having compassion for the lack of understanding these people also suffer from. Thirdly, a sincere non-attachment to their conversion, which means compassion and humility for yourself in your process of engaging in the world as complete a human being as you are capable of.
I need to write a book on this. But we must remember the synergies and paradoxes of living. A Revolution is a revolutionary event. It changes Revolutionary also. So as we call upon the world to transform, we must recognize that the transformation is for us also. Paradoxically, it is a mass movement based on acts of radical individualism in the creation and defense of a new community.
Let us commit to make the World a world we truly want to live in. We actually can do it one day at a time. I think that the internet, as potentially alienating as it can be, can link us in new ways and support building the initial foundation in our consciousness. The next step is to learn to recognize each other in the crowd. We are more numerous than one would believe.
Patience is in order, this will take several decades to accomplish, at least three generations. Think of it as getting in on the ground floor.
Posted by Martin Christensen on 05/12/10 04:32 AM
This is a great connection between art and reality -- is that a metaphor? Perhaps this is the "home" the Tea Partiers would be comfortable in.
Posted by Edward Parise on 05/12/10 01:03 AM
Truly an ideal approach to a lethal problem whose time is come. It's now or never.
Posted by John McClure on 05/12/10 12:54 AM
RIGHT ON, WELL-SAID AND BRAVO. Let's do it.