On Conservatives and Progress
Filed Under: Opinion, Politics | Posted: 01/14/2008 at 11:57AM
Comments | Region: United States
I’ve heard radical Leftists — who very misleadingly, to my mind, call themselves "progressives" — try to decry Conservatives (who seem to be, according to the radicals’ very special definition, anybody that doesn’t agree with radical Leftist positions) on the grounds that Conservatives are by definition "resistant to change", with that phrase being used to pejoratively put down Conservatives by directly implying that they cannot or do not wish to accept new(and assumed better) ideas.
But this is a seriously erroneous view of conservative values. In fact, it’s another radical Lefty lie.
If I conserve my energy, does that mean that I am lazy? No; as a matter of fact, it could very well mean that I am a great athlete or a master martial artist.
If I conserve my money, then that means I am a miser? No; in fact, it likely means that I am wise or thoughtful with what I choose to spend my money on.
If only those in the government were, financially, much more conservative and much less liberal, the world would be a better place.
I should point out that electronics and that ubiquitous and in modern times absolutely necessary technology known as "electricity" depend squarely on the concept of resistance. Resistance to electrical flow is used to control it and, thus, make it more useful and at once less dangerous-not to do away with it or prevent its manifestation.
The radical Left implicitly admit that they have a childish addiction: they easily become infatuated with the new. Whatever is new must be better than whatever is old. Nothing that happened yesterday matters; only today matters.
There’s a word other than immature for this kind of perspective: that word is "shallow".
Conservative values state that the changing of one’s mind about something should, at least most of the time, be entered into slowly, after due reflection and research. "Be not the first by which the new is tried," wrote the great Neoclassical English poet Alexander Pope.
But Pope also wrote, in the very same couplet, that one should also avoid being "the last to set the old aside."
This is a complete and accurate view of Conservative values.
Conservatives who are worthy of the name — so that would exclude the vast majority of Republican politicians — are actually deeply thinking (wo)men who understand that the great principles of human life and society have largely been discovered and proven to work already and, consequently, it is that which is "new" that is suspect and must be given a trial by fire before the old is set aside or modified.
"For fools rush in where angels fear to tread," wrote Pope.
So. Politically and socially speaking, what do Conservatives understand?
Conservatives understand that government is, in almost every area of human endeavor, incompetent; and the bigger government gets, the more incompetent it gets, as if in accord with a force of nature.
Conservatives understand that New "Deals" (that seems to be what Leftists prefer to call the Constitution — a "deal") and Big Sugar Daddies and Great Socialist plans and all other Utopian fantasies always introduce perverse incentives and absurd unintended consequences into people’s lives that always create a cost far greater than the supposed benefits.
Conservatives understand that government cannot realistically imitate the forever-united set of conditions called individual liberty, personal responsibility, and character virtue that are necessary for all individual thriving and social vitality.
Conservatives understand that it is impossible for businesses to act justly in accord with United States property and voluntary contract laws and the principle of competition to produce wealth and economic results that are unjust.