And this, in turn, explains why moderation, which sounds so good as a Shrewd strategy, is such a disaster out in the real world. In order to be respectable or moderate, you have to hold totally contradictory positions, and you get called on it.

For example, many conservatives like to criticize affirmative action programs because "they demand not only equal competition, but equal RESULTS." That is, they require that blacks get as many positions as whites no matter how they perform.

But you get called on that, because if you say that blacks do in fact actually perform differently, the liberal is going to start shrieking at you for being racist. And if he shrieks, you lose YOUR respectability.

Bob Novak said that Home Rule in Washington, DC, has failed. But a liberal could point out -- loudly -- that DC is the only BLACK electorate in America, so to say that DC Home Rule is a failure is racist. Novak can face that down, but no other conservative spokesman could get away with that if he didn't want to be screamed at.

And the average moderate or respectable conservative would cheerfully sell his mother to a bawdy house rather than be screamed at by a


This is not the only area where moderation or even respectability makes a consistent argument absolutely impossible. Respectable conservatives have to be silly and inconsistent in order to be respectable, and no one can take over a country if they are in that position.