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Reflections on courage and loyalty

February 3, 2017

Edmund Burke is one of my all time heroes. He was an 18th-century statesman and philosopher who, among other things, championed the cause of the American Revolution; he is also frequently called “the father of modern conservatism.” I try to live my life according to Burke’s most famous aphorism:


“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”


During the election season just past, good men stood up and did SOMETHING. We rid ourselves of a millstone. Yes, thank G-d it is over. Barack Hussein Obama, his acolytes and would-be successors are out of the Oval Office. We are done with the Obamas and their imperial presidency. We are done with Obama’s self-righteous arrogance masquerading as concern and empathy. We are done with his treatment of enemies as friends and friends as enemies. We are done with him — and good riddance.


But Obama will not go away quietly. He intends to remain in Washington — and his lingering aroma provides American patriots with benefits as well as challenges. The benefits:  The fact that Obama will occupy center court means that others of his ilk will be blocked. As long as Obama sucks up ink in the New York Times and other leftist organs, suck-ups like Corey Booker and harridans like Elizabeth Warren will get less ink — and that is all to the good. For as long as the “press-titutes” concentrate on Obama to the detriment of those who would follow him, the republic is safe.


But the challenges faced by “good men” as a result of Obama’s continued presence require unrelenting vigilance and positive action by those of us who are determined to prevent the infection from metastasizing once more. The principles of federalism and adherence to the Constitution require our constant attention.


This will not be as easy as it sounds. “Divide and conquer” is by far the most effective strategy available in the armory of those who wage war, whether it be political or kinetic. Those of us who are dedicated to the principles of conservatism (including, inter alia, the rights of property, the rights of free association, the right to accumulate capital, etc.) must remain indivisible and unconquerable. We must remain loyal to each other and to those who have been elected to further those principles (which means that our elected officials must themselves remain loyal to those principles). We must also stand up for those who have been vilified for their conservatism.


Which brings me to something that has made my blood boil recently, that is symbolic for the garbage that has been permitted to stink for too long and that must be rectified as part of the process of our national intention to throw political correctness into the cesspool where it belongs.

I recently read of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened on the Mall in Washington, D.C.; the function of the museum is ostensibly to recognize the contributions of African Americans to this country. All well and good.


There have been only two black justices of the United States Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. Justice Marshall occupies a prominent place in the museum. However, Justice Thomas is mentioned only tangentially in an exhibit about Anita Hill, who had accused him of sexually harassing her before he was on the court. (Let it be known that from the first day that Anita Hill publicly made her accusation, I was convinced that she was a liar. I am still convinced that she is a liar.)


Think of it, no mention of a justice who is in his 25th year on the court, no mention of a man of who has endured unmerciful and unjust public derision through the years without losing his grace and incredible dignity, no mention of a man whose solid body of jurisprudence assures him a place in the pantheon of great justices, no mention of a black man who began his life in dire poverty and raised himself, as a result of his ability and nobility, to a position of unparalleled power and influence — no mention of such a man in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

I cannot think of a more unjust and disgraceful demonstration of bias and prejudice than this, bias and prejudice against a black conservative. This is one of the battles that we who care about justice and honor should fight. Clarence Thomas is a hero. He is a role model, not only for black people, but for every American who loves what this country can be. We can strike a blow against our enemies and stand up for justice by insisting that Clarence Thomas be honored in this museum that stands for nothing unless and until he is included.


Why, in a column immediately following the momentous and blessed event of Obama’s deletion from the government, do I make such a big deal about a museum exhibit? Because those whom we choose to honor reflect who we are as people and as a nation. Loyalty and decency are the watchwords of a society that is worthy of prospering and succeeding, and of individuals who live a worthy life.


I have a close friend who has a service business. Recently, he fell afoul of Big Government’s overregulation of small business. He was accused of violating a regulation of which he was not even aware. He made no excuses for his ignorance and he wanted to make amends. However, a lawyer got his teeth into it; then, the lawyer recruited several employees to file a lawsuit. My friend made various efforts to settle the issue and finally it was done. However, a newspaper article, headlined by a sentence that was misleading and false, kept the issue in the public eye. Various people (who don’t even know him) piled on with comments, savaging my friend with the most disgusting names that one can imagine and doing what they could to further damage his business.


I started writing letters in response. I was determined to defend my friend, who is one of the most decent, worthy and righteous people whom I have ever known. But, my friend would be well justified in asking, as former Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan once famously asked after he had been wrongfully accused:  “Where do I go to get my good name back?”


It is said that engraved on the inside of King David’s ring was written:  “This too shall pass.” My friend’s business will survive the scurrilous defamations that have been aimed at him. But the injustice will hang in the air like gas passed by a dyspeptic dog. My friend deserves the active support of all those who refuse to permit injustice to go by without response, and those who remain silent are unworthy of respect.


It is up to each and every one of us to stand up to prevent the triumph of evil. That is true on the national stage, and it is true on the stage of our individual lives. Do not be afraid. Do not shirk from doing the right thing.


Keep uppermost in your mind two quotations that are worth engraving on the inside of your brain.

The first is Edmund Burke’s aphorism quoted above:  “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”


The second comes from Winston Churchill:  “If you have enemies. Good. It means you’ve stood up for something in your life.”


Stuart Kaufman is a retired lawyer, investment banker and businessman. He relocated from New York to Mount Pleasant in 2012. A friend recently told him that he has been a South Carolinian all of his life ... but he just didn’t know it.


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