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The Daily Planet's Opinion: September 2016
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:19

Heroin epidemic requires collaboration on all fronts

We agree with the assessment of Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan — and other local leaders — that the best likely answer to reverse the heroin epidemic besieging the area is to mount a collaborative effort involving law enforcement, schools, counselors and families.

A “Heroin Summit” was held at UNC Asheville this spring, when local officials took the first important step toward solving this particular recreational drug abuse problem — recognizing that it exists.

Taking it to the wider community, Duncan addressed the local heroin issue on Aug. 5 during a Council of Independence Business Owners meeting, where he noted that heroin “has become Buncombe County’s most deadly drug issue... We’ve seen more overdoses, we’ve seen more arrests and we’ve seen more people trafficking in it.” (Buncombe recorded 12 unintentional heroin poisoning deaths in 2014, up from three in 2013 and none in 2012.)

The sheriff said the uptick in reported heroin overdose poisoning incidents started about three years ago in Buncombe. Duncan also emphasized to CIBO that law enforcement cannot “arrest our way” out of the problem, as it involves the complex issue of addiction. 

A better way, as Duncan wisely said, is to “have things that impact people at an earlier stage — and really try to deter them from going down a bad path.”

The Candid Conservative: Conservatives are the real free spirits – Part I
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:06
Special to the Daily Planet

The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.

—  William F. Buckley Jr.


The Problem

 n the ‘70s, thanks in great part to the folly of Vietnam, two very bad things took hold in American politics — conservatives got stupid and passive and liberals got smart and aggressive.

 Sure, the Reagan years saw a bubble of conservatism, but the erosion of our country’s core values did little more than pause. Stupid and passive is dangerous – smart and aggressive – far more so.

 One of the left’s many tools for dismantling the culture has been to seize and define the narrative of our nation’s politics through creative application of language.

 Aborting a living fetus has been redefined as an innocent matter of “choice.” Gender confusion has been reframed as being “gay” or otherwise associated with an attractive “rainbow” of possibilities.  Old time socialism is now called “progressive.” 

 Conservatives, in contrast, have become broadly defined as “haters, phobics, and heartless old fogies.” These are monikers similar to the term “dirty rotten Japs” John Wayne might have used to dehumanize the enemy during WWII.  

 Amidst this corruption, culturists are struggling to find a healthy place to land. May I suggest – in contrast to the left’s jingoistic propaganda – that conservatism offers a sane option?

 Here are a few steps on a positive path to reworking your politics. If being a mascot for dishonest political manipulators no longer suits your fancy, you might find them helpful.

Step One – Conservatism is smarter than you think

 1. It’s dedicated to Reality— Filtering action through the recognition of what reality is versus what we believe reality should be.

2. It’s dedicated to Reason — Using our heads with as much enthusiasm as our hearts and hands.

3. It’s dedicated to Morality — Modeling a personal and social moral code that uplifts and sustains our culture and our people.

4. It’s dedicated to Unity — Cooperating around our shared values with greater enthusiasm than we attack our differences.

5. It’s dedicated to Responsibility — Embracing it – now.

6. It’s dedicated to Restraint — Let our reserved approach to governance stand as our strongest testimony against the excesses of the left.

7. It’s dedicated to The Rule of Law — Make laws with temperance – enforce them with zeal.

8. It’s dedicated to Contribution —  Give or prepare to give to you fellowman – at all times.

9. It’s dedicated to Free Enterprise — Support capitalism as the most reliable method of uplifting mankind, containing his greed, and self-correcting his transgressions

10. It’s dedicated to Liberty — Defend freedom as a priority with few peers…

Step Two – Conservatives really like black and white

Middle of the road is a deadly no man’s land.  In many ways the grey resulting from an ill-advised blending of black and white is the darkest color of all.  It offers neither the rest of night nor the clarity of day.  It’s a bleak color with the uplifting qualities of smog.

Conservatives value the linear rationality and black and white nature of the scientific method.  We take time to learn the issues, make decisions on our position and course, and then act on those convictions.  We assess the outcome of our actions and seek paths to improvements. We hold firmly to our values until better thinking or methods are revealed and confirmed.

Relativism is chaos, mischief, and cowardice in a toxic cocktail. Taoist thinkers long ago suggested that having more than one position on an issue is less reflective of maturity than ignorance.  The Bible, some years later, offered a similar perspective in suggesting the position of higher authority on relativism – “Be hot or cold, or I will spit you out.”  Conservatives get that message and believe that if the answer is not clear, then we don’t know enough about the problem. 

Step Three – Conservatives unite on things that are real

In the spongy morass of a swamp, there is a natural tendency to struggle for the high ground. Principled conservatives are already standing on the firm turf of reality and need not struggle against their peers.

To counter the seductive and deceptive practices of the left, we must engage with those who share our values and creatively develop and pursue points of action.  Conservatives have a tendency to turn common ground into a stomping ground.

True conservative thinkers do not naturally herd for the same reason that liberated and independent minded eagles do not flock.  In contrast, the comfortable promise of something for nothing found in liberal socialism is a natural aphrodisiac that freely entices the unwitting.  The same false attraction can be found in the simplistic assurances of pretend conservatism.

Real conservatives are intentional in supporting others in the demanding mission of reality, reason, responsibility and right. Under this demanding agenda friction is natural, fraction need not be.

Step Four – Hold dearly to the Constitution

 Any architect attempting to develop a structural vision and bring it to life recognizes the importance of a blueprint for action.  Governance of a society is no exception and our Founders did a wonderful job of crafting an inspired constitutional blueprint.

 There are few places where we’re more corruptible than when we gather at the seats of power. It was with this vulnerability in mind that the U.S. Constitution was created – to restrain those who would abuse their supremacy while presuming to lead us. 

 Conservatives delight in the magnificent simplicity and wisdom of the Constitution. It is in the interest of our country, our culture, and our future that we learn the truisms of this document and resist attempts to undermine and distort its function.

 A reassertion of states’ rights is a crucial means to resisting federal judicial and legislative dominance. Issues such as the rights of the unborn and how we handle education and marriage should be resolved through the trial and error of 50 states, not by a select few who demand central authority.

 Our Constitution is not convenient. Few things that are truly good are. Neither is the document invulnerable or everlasting. Like everything else built with man’s hand, it requires maintenance.  Would be tyrants thus encourage constitutional complacency.

 Preserving the Constitution requires vigilance. We, the governed, understand that the best way to enable the tyranny of the governing is to release them from the bondage of accountability.  The best way to do that is simply to ignore our Constitution.

Step Five – Conservatives define, illuminate and confront harms

“Nice” can be an insidiousness word. In politics, more often than not, it’s used to describe a person who goes along with nonsense to avoid the wrath that comes from illuminating the truth. We can find directness, honesty, beauty, and good fortune in nature – we will not find nice. 

 Freud told us that neurosis and dysfunction grow in the dark.  All bad things seek concealment.  Evil grows stronger only so long as it remains unchallenged. The left is notoriously competent at camouflaging its mission of cultural mayhem. Conservatives cannot afford the luxury of being nice as an excuse for not turning on the lights.

 Personal insults are the sanctuary of the immature. Making fun of the other side is not a substitute for grown-up thinking and action. As principle driven conservatives, our persistent charge is to confront the sin, not hate the sinner. 

 Conservatives protest, write letters to the editor, confront, and otherwise expose and thwart bad things. Conservatives are much more concerned with being honestly and authentically politically courageous than nicely and artificially politically correct.

 How’s that for a start? As the world around us continues to deteriorate – and it will – being normal in an abnormal world is going to be increasingly difficult. Finding a model of citizenship grounded in reality, reason, responsibility and right is a smart play. Laying aside the propaganda of the left and the fluffy pretense of the fake right, conservatism offers a bright beacon in a darkening world. You might say that being a conservative amidst today’s insanity is a bit like being a firefly – the darker the night, the brighter its light…

 Next month… Part II


Carl Mumpower, an Asheville resident, is a psychologist and former elected official. He may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



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