June 13, 2007
The following general attack upon conservatism is one of the most thought provoking comments posted to this blog:
"History is a valuable tool from which to learn and history has taught anyone open to its lessons that liberals have never been wrong and conservatives have never been right. From the Spanish Inquisition, the persecution of scientists, the crusades, racism, and general intolerance, it is universally accepted that conservatism failed humanity. We are all liberal in hindsight once we are emotionally detached from a situation.
It is possible for conservatism to embody many diverse views because conservatism is not, an ideology like many believe, it is a method of thought. Society and culture are the variables that allow many views to be derived from a constant philosophy.
The only diffrence between a supporter of terrorism, a member of the KKK, and a conservative in America today is the society they were born into.
Conservatism is the politics of delay. It seek to preserve the society in which it exists and will arbitrarily oppose anything counter to this irrespective of its merit. So long as society is imperfect conservatism will be wrong.
Although the specific ideology of each conservative movement is dependent on society every society, and therefore every conservative movement has some common traits. These include: the containment of new ideas of new ideas and foreign cultures, a fear of change, a rejection of outsiders, and a desire to preserve society in its present form.
How could such an illogical philosophy flourish? There are three basic and interconnected roots of conservatism: ignorance, fear, and hate. Ignorance is the deepest root of conservatism. Within the context of politics ignorance is ultimately the sole cause of two other roots. This may be an alarming statement for some of my conservative friends, but it is easily demonstrated when looking to examples of conservative philosophy.
Racism has been the most widespread and controversial conservative belief. Racism is fear of a benign change in culture, an ignorance of others, and a hate of a people perceived as inferior. Characteristically we think of the south (a traditional hot bed for conservatism), slavery, and segregation. However racism manifests itself in our culture even today.
For example, the immigration debate. The simple facts of this issue are that having a large number of immigrant laborers in our country is a mutually beneficial economic relationship. Conservatives, however, fear their culture may be diluted, hate a people who they perceive as criminals, and are ignorant of the facts of this issue. It has been noted, and successfully demonstrated, that any Minutemen project volunteer allowed to see firsthand the life of an immigrant family would quickly renounce their previous opinions on the topic.
Gay rights is another issue where conservatism's motivations shine through. Conservatives passionately oppose granting any rights extended to heterosexual individuals despite the fact that this would cause them no harm. Conservatives hate gays for their "sin", an issue that is frankly beyond their control (doesn't the Bible instruct that "he who is without sin may throw the first stone"), fear something they cannot understand, and are ignorant of the facts that most gays have more in common with them then they'd be willing to admit.
I will not go into any more examples although any conservative belief, ancient or modern, can be traced back to these three factors."
And now, my response:
The beginning of the comment is general enough that I don’t necessarily have a substantive complaint. My first serious problem arises when the author claims the following:
“The only difference between a supporter of terrorism, a member of the KKK, and a conservative in America today is the society they were born into.”
This juicy example of moral relativism is further proof that liberal philosophy is something that I do not ascribe to. I want no part of a philosophy that imagines that those who target women and children are either somehow misunderstood or in some way the equivalent to any member of the modern American body politic. Where liberals see gray, conservatives are able to determine who may be considered enemies of our country. To liberals like this commentator, terrorists are simply misunderstood revolutionaries. Conservative leaning individuals like myself are able to understand that Islamic terrorists, for example, represent a serious threat the safety and security of our country and democratic way of life. They should be seen as the blatant enemies to America that they espouse and believe that they are, who employ tactics that the Western world never dreamed of using even in their darkest medieval days. Strapping an explosive device to child is nothing even the dreaded Spanish inquisition, Nazi Germany, or any other example of the worst in western civilization would ever consider doing to achieve a political agenda. The moral relativism employed by many liberals, which equates cold-blooded killers to traditional Americans, allows those on the left to rationalize much of their anti-American and/or 'blame America first' code of conduct. This surely is not a political philosophy that I would ascribe to.
Which brings me to my next point. In order for leftist or liberal wishes to come true, to have their philosophy universally embraced, those who disagree must be silenced, shouted down, or brow beaten and personally attacked with the charges of bigotry, fear, racism, and hatred. In what I call the totalitarian leftist worldview, there is no room for dissent. Ironically enough, there is no room for tolerance in this brand of liberalism. Sure, liberals are fans of tolerance in the form of “diversity” at the expense of merit in the workplace by artificially imposing quotas based on the color of one's skin for example, but there is no room for philosophical or political diversity in the world of the totalitarian left. Like a proselytizing missionary, these liberals seek to indoctrinate and change conservatives, whereas conservatives essentially want to be left alone. Leave us, our wallets, and our country alone. Society always changes naturally over time, must we race to do away with all of the systems and traditional concepts that have worked well up to this point for America?
As the commentator says, one of the most common traits found in various forms of conservatism is “…a desire to preserve society in its present form.”
To liberals, this notion of preservation is outrageously unenlightened. 'Anonymous' seems to want to cite history but fails to pay any tribute at all to the traditional and time honored values of Americans through the years. Its as if America became the greatest county on earth through some random cosmic phenomena or some other kind of arbitrary and nebulous circumstances. To “…desire to preserve society in its present form” is to cherish and value the basic building blocks that have ensured American prosperity in the world. But this is not good enough for the totalitarian left. Americans are not allowed to want to preserve the English language. Americans are not allowed to want to keep more of the money they earn. Americans are not allowed to want to preserve the tradition of marriage as defined by Websters dictionary that has been a cornerstone of successful societies for thousands of years. Americans are not allowed to determine who and how many immigrants are allowed to enter our country at any given time. To do so is racist in the mind of left leaning individuals like the anonymous commentator I’m addressing here.
Under a totalitarian leftist regime, I must be controlled. And I don‘t desire to be controlled by any group of persons or any particular political ideology. I enjoy the very precepts that makes a liberals skin crawl: the quintessential American values of individuality, self-reliance, and personal responsibility. I believe that as citizens of a sovereign nation we have the right to determine who and how many foreign nationals are allowed to enter into or reside in our country at any given time. I believe that allowing Americans to keep more of the money that they earn stimulates the economy and is consistent with and stands to preserve (yes preserve) the fundamental and essential qualities that have shaped our country and made it into the most prosperous and successful democratic country in history.