Sunday, October 26, 2008

What is Conservatism?

Aside from being the idea that limiting government promotes freedom, stout defenses prevent war, and our rights are gifts from a creator, conservatism is also the unwelcome task of having to point out the obvious to those too blinded by ideology to see it for themselves. Victor Davis Hansen provides one example from this never ending election season:

Had Gov. Sarah Palin just been a mother of a single child at Vassar rather than of five in Alaska, married to a novelist rather than a snow-machiner, an advocate of pro-choice, who shot pictures of Alaskan ferns rather than shot moose — feminists would have hailed her as a principled kindred soul, and trumpeted her struggles against Alaskan male grandees.

So there was something creepy about droves of irate women, in lock-step blasting Sarah Palin from the corridors of New York and Washington, when most of them were the recipients of the traditional spoils of either family connections, inherited money, or the advantages that accrue from insider power marriages. Indeed, very few of Palin’s critics on their own could have emerged from a small-town in Alaska, with an intact marriage and five children, to run the state of Alaska.

Of course, it's not just the women. The point is that for all their talk of intelligent rational thought, and appreciation for nuance, Democrats seem to be completely ignorant of anything outside their accepted group dogma. They don't seem to realize that republican and conservative are not the same thing. Unseen, is the fact that the Republican party has many factions competing for dominance, and conservatism has many nuanced thinkers. I suppose we could blame this on a fractured media. When all they're news comes from CNN and the Huffington Post, can they be blamed for having a jaundiced view?

No, but they can be called hypocrites when they claim intelligence. Passing off the entire right side of the political spectrum as gun toting, bible thumping racists is the height of unthinking religiosity. Joyously accepting campaign cash from 2 out of 3 New York bankers while celebrating the end of capitalism, union chiefs claiming to be for the common man while riding in limousines and staying in 5 star hotels, requires a willful blindness to the world as it is.

One thing that has become clear to me over the past several months is that unlike Democrats, the Christian right, with their acceptance of the presence of sin, are far less superstitious. While the left places their faith in the hollow hope of free money and the forgiveness of debts, my hope is that Democrats will develop an interest in how things really work. "There's no free lunch" and equal treatment aren't just bumper stickers.

9 comments: said...

My friend, just when - or where here - do you answer "What is Condervatism"? We already know what it is not namely whatever has been masquerading as the R party since the Contract on America or the Bushies retooled it to fit their paradigm of world dominance?

I'm hoping the Palinoid actually is the face of "conservatism' now as its going to make the Ds job a lot easier and last a lot longer.

What the heck is Conservatism or does it even exist any more?

Local So-and-so said...

Um, in the first sentence.

And before you get cocky about your current 3% lead in the polls, remember the press, above all elsa, loves a good story. The very same people who are fawning over Obama-majic will be tearing him apart by this time next year. I'll bet a dead fish head on it. said...

OK, gotcha. Now I better understand what's been happening the last eight years.

O has told us not to get cocky so nobody out here is that's for sure. And especially since McSame "guaranteed" a win on Meet the Press this morning. (eyes rolled completely back)

Guess I better get used to the idea of him being Vice Pres and Sarah running the country.

Local So-and-so said...

You might also read the part about not knowing the difference between a republican and a conservative. Thanks for proving my points.

Ryan Jerz said...

You're not the only one thinking about this right now. It's crucial that the word is not hijacked by rabid partisans, as it mostly has been. I would say liberal is the same, but I have yet to meet a liberal who isn't proudly (and often blindly) a Democrat. It's just the way things are swinging right now, I suppose. Check this out:

Local So-and-so said...

Thanks for the link. A lot of good links from Sullivan's blog too.

I don't think the word conservatism is being redone by partisans on the right so much as it is by the left, along with a helping hand from east coast republicans, and the press. Palin is a case in point. She was very positive in the beginning, and her so-called mud slinging now can easily be seen as self defense.

The lefts attacks are to be expected. There has always been a rift between eastern moderates and western libertarians within the Republican party. Palin is not exactly libertarian, but she's close enough for many out here. She's also close enough for the easterners to reject her. McCain is much closer to the eastern moderates which explains his dismal pre-Palin numbers in the west.

The old Reagan coalition is leaderless at this point which is the reason for the raw emotions. The Dem's and the press play it up for all it's worth. That's how I see it anyway.

E!!-lizabeth Crum said...

I heart Victor Davis Hanson.

TexEx and all: Russell Kirk's 10 Principles of Conservatism is a great read and reminder of "what conservatism is."

I go back to it whenever I get discouraged, or confused.

E!!-lizabeth Crum said...

This WFB column from the very first National Review is also a great read that always cheers me up:

Local So-and-so said...

Thanks for the heart-warmers E!!. It's times like this I really miss Reagan. To paraphrase Forrest Gump; 'He could explain things in a way that I could understand'.

Buckley and Kirk are good too, they just take longer to sink in.