Sunday, October 26, 2008
- Multi-Lingual Conservatives
I’ve taken to deleting more comments than I used to. I’d prefer it not be the case, but I seem to have acquired a liberal reader who thinks that this should really be a format for him to offer his opinions to counter my ‘lies’. I’m deleting his comments not because I find his ideas too challenging, but because I don’t. He doesn’t really have anything substantive to say. He’s just repeating the doctrinaire positions of the far left, and I figure that if you really want to read that stuff you can go to Democratic Underground. Radio Free Europe never worried about giving equal time to Pravda, and I don’t see the point in doing so either.
If he had some substantive criticism of my thinking or offered any support for his positions other than the opinions of other liberals, then of course I’d leave the comments in place and respond to them as I’ve done many other times before. But that’s not what he’s about. He’s a kid who’s still trapped in that insular, self referential bubble where liberalism flourishes best; a group of people who all agree with each other, who then insist they must be right because everyone in the bubble agrees with them. In an environment like that they view a dissenting voice as evidence of mental illness or stupidity.
I say he’s a kid but I don’t really know. I think he is because it’s hard for me to imagine someone over 30 being so laughably naïve. He’s earnest of course, and seems to genuinely believe that he’s enhancing the political dialog when he does things like insist that there is no such thing as liberal media bias, or when points out incidents that he believes are motivated by racism against Obama. He probably thinks he’s a deep thinker because he’s rejected the radical “our economy should be based entirely on the sale of hemp” view (or some other ridiculous perspective) that manages to stay alive in some academic hothouse. It hasn’t occurred to him yet that the roughly 50% of the people in the real world who disagree with him are anything except ‘blind to the obvious evidence all around us’.
Don’t laugh… he almost certainly means well.
John Podheretz once wrote a piece about this but I couldn’t find it. To paraphrase him he basically said that Conservative need to be multi-lingual. They need to be able to speak both liberal and conservative. As a matter of necessity, conservatives understand the thought processes of both liberals and conservatives, but liberals understand only themselves. Conservatives see this every day and it’s a constant source of frustration to us. We can explain our views till we’re blue in the face but liberals just can’t get past their base assumptions.
Personally I think that’s because liberal’s political philosophy requires that you buy into their base assumptions first, while with conservatives, the opposite is true. The conservative base assumptions are usually tragically arrived at after observing the behavior of man, while liberal’s assumptions are optimistically hoped for in specific contradiction to all contrary evidence which can be seen in the world everyday.
The American Revolution was a Conservative event (as we presently use the word) which set men’s tragic vices in opposition to one another. Ambition was used to balance ambition, and the result was the US Constitution and the greatest engine of prosperity every created. The French revolution was a liberal event which optimistically hoped for ‘egalite’ but which only led to the guillotine, Napoleon and decades of instability that didn’t end until Degaulle. The conservative event was (as always) worried about results, while the liberal event was worried about intentions. Conservatives get all that, but liberals never will. That is, until they become more conservative.
As I’ve said many times before, it’s a mistake to think that our society would be better if we simply purged all liberals or sent them to reeducation camps (as they have always done with conservatives when they were in charge). Arab culture is a society that always looks backward for the truth and simply deletes any new ideas, and I don’t think many of us would prefer a world like that. Liberals can (and should) have very important things to say and can make a valuable contribution to the dialog. But it’s a symptom of American culture that they are, at the moment anyway, largely unable to. They rehash the Carter and Johnson mistakes, and treat old and failed ideas as if they were going to be ‘different this time’. To conservatives that would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.
The comments I’m deleting are symptomatic of that broader problem, and their author is a snapshot of modern liberalism. He has lots of earnest energy to say something, but damned few substantive things to say. I’m disappointed that it’s so, but there is just no talking to some people. If you aren’t prepared to learn from observation, then that certainly applies to you.