I find myself picking on ‘conservative’ politicos a lot here, and that’s not fair. Not that it’s unfair to them (they inevitably deserve it), but it’s unfair to the reasonable, informed, and rational conservatives out there – and it’s unfair to me, because it implicitly paints me as a faithful supporter of the political left, which I am not. So, let me say a brief word for Thomas E. Woods.

I had seen but not read Mr. Woods’ books, and in all honesty I was drawn to his CPAC breakout session in hope of fireworks. The topic of his speech was ‘nullification’, which has recently become Tea Party talk for ‘hoist the Confederate battle flag and pick up the Civil War where we left off’ – I anticipated blood-flecked spittle and wild-eyed, scenery-chewing screeds against the homosexual socialists who will shortly be arriving to convert us to atheism and abort our guns.


Mr. Woods is an intelligent man. He is clear-eyed and coherent – and, most of all, he knows his stuff. I won’t recap his lecture in detail, but he basically made a strong case for the idea that state nullification of federal dictates deemed unconstitutional is not a particularly radical idea. On the contrary, it’s an important check on potential abuses of federal authority. He cited his sources. He structured his arguments cogently, and was able to both identify and address the most probable objections to his thesis.

Hey, I don’t know Mr. Woods. Maybe he sleeps wearing a tinfoil hat with a shotgun on his knee. But whether or not he’s a good example, let me make this clear, because it is both overlooked and underappreciated: there are some immensely intelligent, sane, and reasonable conservatives out there. I would like to ask them for a favor. Please, pretty please, with tax cuts on top … get a grip on your goddamned constituency.

I walked out of Mr. Woods’ talk and back into the reality of CPAC. Mr. Woods had reminded me of how important it is for states to be able to protect themselves from federal overreaching – now I was reminded of how utterly incapable capital-C Conservatism is of recognizing what that is, and what it isn’t. For a few precious minutes I’d been enjoying the part of my American-ness that delights in the rock-ribbed refusal to submit to tyranny. Sadly, I immediately had to switch back to the part of my American-ness that despises snake-oil and scare-mongering.

Oh, intelligent conservatives. Sweet, intelligent conservatives. Know that, by some reasonable standards, I am truly one of you – my mistrust for aggregated authority matches yours at every turn. Another day, I might be tempted to ask why you can’t be content with trying to limit government but instead try to push it into the private lives of Americans. But that’s a different issue. Please, one of you, please: stand up and tell your fellows to knock off all the hysterical bullcrap.

Please acknowledge that global climate change is probably not a multinational consipracy by scientists to pick on poor, helpless American manufacturers.

Please acknowledge that the motley crew of Deists who founded our great nation didn’t secretly intend to appoint Jesus Christ as President-for-Life.

And please, for the love of all things reasonable and rational, stop freaking out about all the evils President Obama has wrought. Even if the Health Care Reform bill IS some kind of socialist plot, it hasn’t even frickin’ passed yet. Nor has Cap and Trade, and nor have any of these theoretical gun-seizures or eugenics programs.

Stop freaking out about stuff that just isn’t true, because you’re putting us all in danger. Some day, there may actually be a real wolf for you to cry about.