By Quin Hillyer
It is good news when so much positive energy is being generated on the right that there isn’t time or space to do justice to the examples. Forgive, then, the brevity of each item of this roundup, but don’t hesitate to jump in and help if any of these endeavors impresses you.
First, consider the Contract From America. Yes, from America, not with America. That older Contract with America served its purpose in 1994 and will not be duplicated. Instead, the new Contract From America takes advantage of new technology to create a “collaborative grassroots effort to create a document that offers real change in Washington D.C. and the state capitals.” This isn’t just “viral marketing,” it’s viral policy creation. The only thing imposed from above is the Preamble — and it’s a good one. I love the part in the first sentence that says a new contract is needed “in order to protect our country from those who seek power and authoritarian control under the false guise of compassion and altruism.” And yes, it certainly is a false guise that today’s left is wearing. Anyway, the three short parts of the Preamble pledge fealty to individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom. In a nutshell, that’s what modern conservatism — otherwise known as classical liberalism — is all about.
All of the programmatic details of the new Contract are to be worked out by the thousands upon thousands (the organizers hope) of participants across the nation.
Do take a look. It’s a great idea.
Second, consider the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. To quote liberally from its mission statement, the Franklin Center sponsors “programs that promote journalism and the education of the public about corruption, incompetence, fraud, or taxpayer abuse by elected officials at all levels of government. The Franklin Center will accomplish these goals by networking and training independent investigative reporters, as well as journalists from state based news organizations, public-policy institutions & watchdog groups.” The Center just went public about a month ago. It helps put donors together with local investigative reporters and news bureaus. The idea is, of course, to shine a light on government corruption and waste — you know, the things that traditional newspapers already are supposed to do, but somehow miss because they get co-opted either by power elites or by their own ideological blinders.
Of course, the Center’s grantees will break basic political news too. For instance, in Nevada, the Franklin-backed Nevada News Bureau broke the story that a Republican former state senator named Joe Heck, who had been running for governor, instead would switch gears and run for Congress against incumbent Democrat Dina Titus.
Eventually, if the Franklin grantees break the news, other news organizations will be forced to report the news as well. But they won’t be able to put the original liberal spin on the news that heretofore has so often been the province of whatever news-organization behemoth first airs or publishes the report. The early bird defines the worm. In more and more places, the Franklin Center will be that early bird — thank goodness.
Third, consider the plethora — a growing plethora, if a plethora can grow — of conservative websites and blogs that do a better and better job of spreading truth and wisdom far and wide. There is no way, of course, to list them all, and I hesitate to list any for fear of offending some people by leaving them out. All I can do is to promise to make amends later for sins by omission — but here are some ones I’ve stumbled on recently that impress me. Robert Belvedere has Camp of the Saints. Jeff Perren and Michael Moeller have Shaving Leviathan. My friend Bob Jones IV has The Shrinking Cleric. Jerry Kane has The Millstone Diaries. The Wanderer is anything but new, but I include it because writer Dexter Duggan has been incredibly thoughtful and merits a wider audience. James Kidd runs PublicSquare.net, which features thought-provoking, extended debates. And while Jewish World Review has been around for years, I and many other conservative writers owe a great debt of gratitude to its proprietor, Binyamin L. Jolkovsky, who has been serving constructive conservatism so well for so long.
There: That’s enough for now. I’ll try to update this list in the future, many times. Obviously, a number of conservative websites are already well established, and I shied away from most of those here. But I just think it’s time to start acknowledging new talent coming along, or to thank some who I haven’t adequately thanked. Mutual support among conservatives is essential for the movement, and the cause.
Quin Hillyer is a senior editorial writer at the Washington Times and senior editor of The American Spectator. He can be reached at QHillyer@gmail.com.