Janet Daly is a political commentator and writer whose articles appear in the UK Daily Telegraph. Daly has an interesting personal history and her intellectual journey from a UC Berkeley radical to an expatriate conservative living in the UK reads as a modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress.
Daley’s article in the Saturday edition of the Telegraph analyzed the upcoming American mid-term elections. And with a political perspicacity missing from the Leftwing dominated British media, her analysis slices through the huff and puff of liberal rationales to the core drivers of the American grassroots revolt shaping this election.
What the grassroots rebellion is really about is an attempt to pull the Republican party back to its basic philosophy of low-tax, low-spend, small government: the great Jeffersonian principle that the best government is that which governs least. One of the more electorally far-reaching effects of this is that Republicanism could become the home once again of a plausible political and economic programme, rather than simply an outpost for those who seem to reject many of the features of modern life….The Tea Party protests began (as their name suggests) as a campaign against high taxation and the illegitimate intrusiveness of federal powers. That is what they are still about.
As some astute commentators have observed, the ascendancy of the Tea Parties has meant that fiscal conservatism can replace social conservatism as the raison d’être of the Republican cause.
Daly’s trek from Lefty Berkeley brat to post-socialist conservative was highlighted in a 2003 article she wrote for the City Journal entitled Up From Liberalism. Her socialist idealism faded to anger and frustration as she and her family waded through the every day realities of life in the Nanny state. Daly’s analysis of the British welfare state and its inbred passivity and dependence is right on target. Following is her description of the culture shock she experienced as she worked as a teacher among the British working classes.
British working-class people were not simply superficially identifiable as being uneducated, provincial, or even poor—as many Americans might be. They seemed to live in a parallel universe to the professional classes: to be consciously and deliberately a world apart, locked into their own self-defeating social patterns, low expectations, and perversely destructive behavior, which seemed designed to prevent them from aspiring to any condition other than the one into which they had been born.
But what was less explicable than this working-class defeatism was to hear those who regarded themselves as progressive liberals conniving in it. The Left in Britain then (and scarcely less now) believed deeply that personal ambition was a petit bourgeois vice to be despised. Such left-wing antipathy to supposedly vulgar social striving became particularly vicious during the Thatcher years. The most telling left-liberal character assassinations of Thatcher herself focused on her being a “grocer’s daughter.”
What decisively transformed my views was my growing understanding of the consequences of the welfare state that Britain had constructed out of a wartime command economy: it both reinforced the fatal passivity of the lower classes and provided a moral justification for the paternalism of the upper classes.
Ms Daly has discovered the stagnating, soul-souring realities of the all-powerful social justice state. And yet, this is the future that American progressivism yearns to embrace. Well, come this Tuesday, let’s give these home-grown commie carpetbaggers a real rebel-rousing rejoinder. Come November 2nd, let’s make sure these Homeland Haters hear our battle cry loud and clear: Off our backs!