Conservatives conserving liberalism
0 comment Friday, June 13, 2014 |
Here/s a rather interesting post at What's Wrong With the World, having to do with today's 'conservatism' and its relation to the dominant liberalism of our time.
"Conservatism" is in our time not conservatism but right-liberalism: political liberalism with a few 'conservative' unprincipled exceptions. The exceptions are unprincipled in the sense that they are not founded in our liberalism, and we for the most part don't recognize their incompatibility with our own liberalism. For a while that meant that 'conservatism' was classical liberalism; now it means, for the most part, culturally 'big tent' neoconservatism. In general it means 'whatever liberalism was about 30 or 50 years ago'.
So looking beyond the election of this very moment, the way to beat the Left politically, and (among other things) effectively save the children being massacred by the acolytes of Moloch -- the only way to beat the Left politically, as an eminently practical concern -- is to stop becoming the Left, through a quasi-Hegelian process which seems to take about two generations.''
In this post, Zippy Catholic decries the lack of an ''anchor political conservatism" which would be an effective counter to the dominant core worldview of the liberal.
The first commenter on the thread asks for a definition of liberalism, and then asks ''What is the antithesis of liberalism?"
I've read the existing comments, and there are several, but it seems no one has come up with a solid definition as requested.
We've covered similar territory on this blog, as my longtime readers will remember. So I won't attempt to re-plow that same ground, but any of you who can offer a good definition of liberalism are welcome to do so.
The whole discussion also brings into play the idea of liberty vs. equality, which has also been a recurring discussion on this blog, and it is an important idea that is not discussed or considered as it should be today. It is very much at the heart of what distinguishes liberals and 'conservatives', though of course I will reiterate that even 'conservatives' these days are imbued with the core ideas of liberalism. And the idea of liberty and freedom are constant themes on both ends of the political spectrum, though each side has differing ideas on what actually constitutes 'liberty' or freedom. Both sides constantly evoke 'liberty' and 'freedom' and yet they are not saying the same things when they use those words.
Do liberals, for example, support freedom of association? Their support of anti-discrimination laws, which deny freedom of association, show that they ultimately don't believe we have freedom of association.
Do they support our freedom to arm ourselves? .
Or our right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought? Only if we use that 'freedom' to say politically correct things, or to think the correct liberal thoughts.
And on it goes.
But the liberal worldview is terribly flawed in that it believes that 'equality' can coexist with freedom or liberty.
The discussion makes me think of this statement by Alexander Hamilton:
Inequality will exist as long as liberty exists. It unavoidably results from that very liberty itself. ''
Liberals don't see, or refuse to see, that we cannot ever have equality without some kind of strong hand to enforce it, which inevitably restricts freedom and liberty.
'Equal housing opportunity' means that landlords lose their right to rent to people of their choosing. And landlords are allowed to discriminate based on credit ratings, income, employment and various other things, but they are forbidden to discriminate on racial/ethnic/religious grounds, because ''all men are created equal.''
(Jefferson obviously lacked prescience when he insisted on that phrase; he obviously didn't foresee the perverted uses to which that phrase has been put.)
Equal opportunity in employment has come to mean affirmative action requirements, filling slots with people of the requisite color or ethnicity, or gender.
The illusory goal of equal outcomes in education has meant the dumbing-down of the schools nationwide, as well as the denial of the right of the majority students to get a good education. The many are being sacrificed in the name of the self-esteem of the few -- all for the sake of preserving this fallacy that we are all equal, if we only 'level the playing field' and rig the system to help the less able to 'excel'.
The recent sub-prime mortgage debacle (which is still playing out) was in large part likely traceable to the misguided effort to create 'equality' in home ownership and to bring minorities into more 'exclusive' neighborhoods previously dominated by Whites.
The effort to stamp out all vestiges of 'discrimination' has meant the stamping-out of standards in every area of life -- so as to try to establish an unnatural 'equality' which can only be maintained, if it is ever achieved, with more coercive government action and more propaganda to keep people from thinking inappropriate thoughts or holding politically incorrect ideas which question 'equality,'
Lord Acton said, many years ago, ''The deepest cause which made the French Revolution so disastrous to liberty was its theory of equality."
It seems obvious that if the utopian idea of creating absolute equality between peoples is paramount, as it is in liberalism, liberty will suffer, as in fact it is suffering.
And it follows that if Obama is elected, this obsession with enforcing 'equality' will be carried to even greater extremes than it is at present.
The consequences for liberty and for our American freedoms will be considerable, especially when we now live in a society in which ethnic/racial groups contend fiercely to further their own interests only, without regard to the general welfare.
Kinsman John Randolph long ago said:
"The principle of liberty and equality, if coupled only with mere selfishness, will make men only devils, each trying to be independent that he may fight only for his own interest."
And to return to the subject of 'core beliefs' of conservatism, one of the ways in which today's conservatives have been subverted by liberalism is the embrace of a kind of faux-populism or egalitarianism. Just wander over to any of the big Republican forums and notice the great number of comments disparaging any kind of social hierarchy; everybody professes to be a hard-core egalitarian and (small-d) democrat and disparages the idea of social ranks. Because our forefathers rejected British royal rule, we tend to jeer the whole idea of aristocracy or royalty. However, the idea of a monarchy in this country was considered, and we've probably all heard that George Washington was offered the crown, though he declined it.
But it seems that most American conservatives embrace the idea of 'democracy' although our forefathers rightly disdained that idea, and they embrace 'equality' as an abstract idea, often without really considering what that ideal implies if followed to its extreme, as with the liberals and leftists.
As to some kind of conservative credo or set of core principles, it seems that every now and then, even here on this blog, somebody calls for a 'conservative credo' or manifesto, and decries our lack of an ideology. But it seems to me that 'ideology' as such implies a set of abstract principles, which, by their abstract nature, tend to become disembodied and lacking a grounding in real human experience. Liberals are very ideological, which is the reason for their disconnect with human nature, and for their perpetual attempt to re-make human nature after their ideological pipe-dreams.
Russell Kirk was adamant that conservatism and ideology don't go together.
His 'Ten Conservative Principles' can be found at the link.
The cry of the Obamanistas is 'Change' and transformation. This is typically liberal: change for its own sake, seeking change without regard for the consequences to the larger society, the rush to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Kirk says, of 'progress' and permanence:
Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.
Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.''
As to a manifesto or a plan which we need to counter the left, or as to a plan for restoring what has been lost to liberalism's manic quest for utopia, we have an adequate blueprint in the traditional society that existed in America over the last few centuries. Look to the past for the core values and principles on which we sustained this country. Our ancestors were wise people; they weren't perfect, and no perfect society exists. Traditional American ways served us very well, up until the upheavals of the 50s, 60s and thereafter. What has happened since then has been a disaster; first, in rather slow motion, but now accelerating to a dangerous speed.
And there are too few ''standing athwart history, yelling 'stop'!' these days.

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