Conservatism should question everything

Ever hear of the guy (and his family) that leaves a big city or a heavily populated state for a smaller town or less populated state because of the following: crime, crowds, pollution, stress, etc. But, in the end; simply creates the very problems “he” wished to leave behind. Because, you see, there are certain amenities to living in well-populated states and large cities that you can’t find in less-populated states and small towns. That basically, this is a fellow who really can’t come to appreciate what he fled from to get to. In her lifetime, I think of Ayn Rand as exactly that sort of transplant. In her lifetime, the Russian born author who had fled the Marxist dictatorship of the Soviet Union with her family, who proclaimed loudly in a free country her hatred of all things Marxist, none the less set about recreating the amenities of what she must have liked the most about it. The fact that she expressed an utter vitriol about “authority” in a nation that gave her every right to express her views, to call expressions of that authority “communist” in a country that did not believe in a midnight knock at her door before she is dragged off to some unknown fate; it does say a great deal about what she truly could not grasp. Ultimately, her self-proclaimed followers used her thesis of undermining what is best about this country, to in fact undermine it. Ayn Rand never left off being an actual communist. And she never left behind the culture she was born into.

Today, what passes for the Republican party with its heavy baggage of wealthy special interests, religious litmus tests, gun nuts, the “TEA” party, and radical Randians have gotten to the point where they seem hell-bent on scaring even such stalwarts as the “American Enterprise Institute.” And well they should. Anybody who would willingly put themselves into an ideological straitjacket and be totally unwilling to think outside of their own imprisonment, are also people who can too easily thrust themselves far out onto a limb and become either too dangerous to trust or too irrelevant to accomplish anything useful. I’m a Republican, but I am not of the mind to undermine the sort of authority that grants me an opportunity to speak my piece on this blog. Or the institutions and culture that did much to form the background from which I write. If you are a conservative, you don’t set out to destroy what works for you. That can’t be said of the GOP today.

Exercising caution before you take the first step used to be what conservatism was all about. However, “conservative” had also come to mean a great many nasty things in the name of what looks good on paper or as a label to justify something that morally could not have been justified at all. Thus, honest to the Gods conservatism—that takes baby steps— compared to liberalism that takes giant leaps forward with the help of government; has now given way to people who take giant leaps forward (or backward or even sideways) with the help of government. The people who rebranded this need for government activism as “conservative” based on religious or even wealthy interest groups. Apparently, they aren’t very appreciative of the Constitution that is supposed to at base keep government in certain confines. On the other side of the equation; the special interests that plague the GOP and inflect these “litmus tests” on the candidate for public office are also arguing (from the Marxist standpoint) that you answer solely to me and not to the people who actually voted for you. Quite frankly, the “throw the bums out” argument is a meaningless one to make. Taking a serious stance and talking to the king makers would be far more to the point.

After all, they are the ones who see real power by controlling from behind the stage curtains what goes on in front of the audience. So, if you don’t like what you are seeing; blame it entirely on the people who find the greatest power in controlling what they want from government or the people they want in government. And then blame yourself for putting on that ideological straitjacket that looks real good on paper but doesn’t work out so well when people get a hold of it. Call it what ever you like, but the founding fathers didn’t exactly have this kind of vision for what they wanted for this republic.

I think of conservatism in this way: the person who thinks twice before committing himself, the person who asks tons of questions before committing himself, the person who wants a certified road map that takes him to the destination he has in mind. You can’t exactly say that about the GOP mind set in this day and age. The liberal activist is the guy who rushes to any new thing the latest political fad if you will, because of what he is perpetually dissatisfied with. That is precisely the GOP mindset in most instances today. As for the guy who is a radical; he’s the one who wants to take a header off the cliff. Nothing you say is going to change his mind. That’s why you leave such nut cases alone instead of following them over the cliff to see what that might be like. Ayn Rand was always a communist. If her “cult” had actually looked, listened, asked questions, and even wondered why she’d project onto a non-communist nation her “fears” of something that she supposedly left behind when she and her family left the Soviet Union. — When the “Communists” took over Tsarist Russia, supposedly their strategies for doing so included undermining institutions… That is an argument that can be found in any of Ayn Rand’s books, in any argument that her “cult” makes today, in what the “litmus test” abiding elected GOP office holders and doing as well. But, in undermining it, to what beneficial purpose can there be in doing so? You can’t get any better than the democracy you have now. The alternative, is something the founding fathers said they didn’t want.

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3 Responses to “Conservatism should question everything”

  1. Chris Rhetts Says:

    Great post! On balance, I’ve always considered myself a liberal, but it seems to me any group, from families to governments, works best when liberals and conservatives work together. And you can’t have this sort of cooperation without a fundamental respect for the other person’s point of view.

    My son and I often joke about a decision he made many years ago to go into business on a shoe string. Then, as a parent, I admit I took the conservative viewpoint and did everything I could to shoot down the idea. He wasn’t prepared to run his own business, he didn’t have any capital, the field was studded with ruthless competition…

    But you know, he ignored my advice and took that leap of faith. Now he has a thriving business and lives in a home much nicer than mine.

    I think, possibly, there is a “sweet spot”, where the caution of conservatism appropriately tempers the liberal tendency to take unnecessary risks. And there really isn’t any formula to identify precisely where that sweet spot is on any given issue.

    The most you can ask of government is the assurance that mature men and women are honestly working together to find the best solutions. Sometimes these solutions won’t agree with someone’s rigid ideology. But so long as they are thoughtfully crafted, every minor failure will be offset by at least one, spectacular success.

    Thanks again, I enjoyed reading this!

  2. Template Magento Says:

    Magento Themes…

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you coul…

    • jeh15 Says:

      Obviously, this spam comment comes from a superb whiner. LOL! I am going to guess that you didn’t much like it that Ayn Rand didn’t leave her cultural origins behind, or perhaps her ideas of “capitalism” is particularly twisted, or that perhaps, when it comes to the “marketplace of ideas,” disagreement is what it takes to make it all worthwhile. That is in truth what being conservative should be all about. The preservation of what works for you.

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