Some thoughts that might make an avowed Conservative’s life easier.
It’s funny I’ve believed the following for a long time, but rarely mention it. More to the point, it kind of represents a Fundamental Article of Belief for me. A FAB, if you will.
Even more, it’s what allows me to like Conservatives of all stripes — even those who’ve disappointed me — and even to have genuine, sincere affection and respect for out-and-out leftists! Yikes!
Here’s the Fundamental Article of Belief: It centers on a simple question: “What would be my attitude toward a society ordered around the beliefs espoused by this or that person?” If the response to that question is, “I’d be okay with a society ordered around such principles,” then I give that person a whole lot of leeway in what they say and do, before I no longer admire him.
The scale of my assessment would go from, say, -10 to +10, or, say: from (-10) Hate –> Dislike –> Mildly Dislike –> Indifferent About –> Mildly Like –> Like –> Love (+10).
My criteria would be fairly simple also, and might be slightly surprising for someone who’s an avowed Conservative. Here are some of the characteristics that I think would be most important. If you’re a leftist, but are in favor of these things, then I could even LIKE (say: +2, or +3) living in a society ordered around your principles:
• Unrestricted freedom of speech (there are leftists who support this: Dave Rubin, Tim Pool, Glenn Greenwald, Sam Harris, Christoper Hitchens when he was alive)
• Trying things out on a small scale first, to see whether they work, before imposing them on the country.
• Sunsetting all government programs, departments, taxes, laws, regulations, such that they need to be re-justified to the people, say, every ten years. (The TVA would have disappeared long ago, if this had been in place.)
• Unrestricted freedom of movement in the country.
• No central government ownership of land outside of, say, a cap of 1,000 acres in Washington, D.C., and 100 acres in each state, to house all federal buildings. Land is power, and I say let the people have the power.
• All taxation must be explicitly on people. This is just honesty and transparency in taxation. All CORPORATE taxes are passed on to the people anyway. There really is no such thing as a tax that is NOT on the people. This would make clear what’s already true anyway.
• All government officials must live by the laws they impose on their constituents. Not just CENTRAL government officials, but state and local officials, too.
• Let’s throw term limits in there too. No need to have lifers in ANY representative body in America.
Those are good for now.
There are leftists who would be okay with this level of restriction on government power, because there are leftists who are not obsessed merely with obtaining and retaining power.
The leadership of the Left is obsessed with power, but many rank-and-file liberals/leftists are not, and truly want to solve problems to make the country a better place. I believe that their policy proposals are misguided and will not make the world a better place, but — and here’s the key point — no one actually died and made me God. I’d rather that the world be made a better place, and that I be… wrong, than to just stand there in majestic, towering, deeply principled… wrongness.
Furthermore, I’ve long been convinced that we on the Right need a responsible, intelligent, rational Left to provide legitimate, robust counter-points to the things we say.
Not only are we, as an ideological tendency, handicapped by the irrational, half-witted, mindless, slop that is any current leftist opposition to anything we propose, we’re doubly handicapped by the lack of sane, rational counter-arguments.
It’s not a good thing to be the only political tendency to propose anything intelligent or sane or humane in America. We need to hone our argumentation against stern intellectual stuff, not the fat, flaccid, weak, tired old ideas of today’s Left.
Our ideas need the exercise that meaningful, perceptive opposition would provide. Our ideas are intelligent. Our ideas are sane. Our ideas are the most humane ideas out there. But, they can always be better. No idea is perfect at the moment of its introduction.
Remember, the Left is unchallenged — by the media, by Academia, by pop culture, Hollywood or Social media — so any old cowfloppery they propose meets with immediate, loud and rapturous approval from all the usual half-witted milksops, pillocks and lickspittles out there.
Did you notice that no one on the Left has mocked or jeered at the “removal of gendered language” from the halls of the American Congress/
Standing athwart history and yelling, “Stop!” is great, if you have a GOOD alternative direction for history to take. (As I believe National Review generally does, but no one died and made them God either 🙂 ) And, if you think about that wonderful slogan a bit, it demands rational challenges to all thinking… not only to that of the Left.
Well, my proposition is simple: Let’s try things. However, let’s try them on a limited scale, with sunsetting, so that if the idea is bad, we can (1) limit its damage, and when it expires, we can (2) leave it lying forgotten and unmourned in the ditch where it belongs.
As mentioned above, there are people on the Left who are willing to try things, in the hopes that the initiatives will actually improve the town, or the state, or the country.
More to the point, I’m willing to try things (with the caveats mentioned above) on a local level to see if they work — even if I strongly disapprove of them. I don’t mind being wrong about my current rather Conservative beliefs. Especially if in correcting me, this country — the greatest that’s ever existed — is improved by my being corrected!
So, bottom line, there are lots of Conservatives who have said and done things of which I disapprove strongly. Some of these Conservatives have been long-time heroes of mine. People like Jonah Goldberg, Kevin D. Williamson, George Will, Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson, Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and many more.
All have fallen off the initial pedestal on which I had (unfairly, actually) placed them, and all have disappointed me. Some many times. (One lesson: place no one on a pedestal!)
BUT — and it’s a big one! — could I live in a society ordered around the core principals of all these people? Yep. You betcha! No problem! And if they were to support the notions outlined above in my little bullet list? I’d think I’d died and gone to heaven! It’s what allows me still to admire and respect even the many Conservatives who have disappointed me in the past. It allows me to criticize what they say or do, but not to suggest that we expel them from Conservativity (It’s a word 🙂 ).
Just some thoughts that have helped me through many years of intellectual turmoil and upheaval… especially these past few years.
Needless to say, I’d welcome all manner of pushback, even including: “You’re a half-witted, clodpole, x!” 🙂