May 31, 2007
We received an email yesterday in response to an item, the ECT Battery Award in our Weekly Wednesday Whacky Awards.
This week’s award, ‘presented to the most shocking news story of the week,’ was shared by two recipients, one of who whom was former South Dakota Legislature Republican Rep. Ted Klaudt, who had ‘turned himself into the authorities Friday on felony charges that include eight counts of rape involving foster children and former legislative pages.’
Predictably, we received a few emails. One noted (gleefully) that
Did he stop being a republican? I should think not! Naturally he was
‘pro-life’ anti-gay, and conservatively religious as well…
We responded. We wrote our happy friend and noted
Thank you for your email.
My next Whacky will be awarded to prominent Democrat and ACLU pedophiles. You know, ‘caring’ leftist values. I shall be sure to credit you.
Pedophilia is a disorder, not brought on by political or religious affiliations.
At this point, our correspondent replies,
It will be shorter than that one I think. . . I don’t think perversion is rooted in politics, but surprisingly often religious and other self-righteous poses are a cover/refuge from the torments of the flesh. Ted Haggard comes – hideously – to mind…
The sheer stupidity of the remarks are a breathtaking example of how shallow thinking has permeated so many minds. The drivel, oft promoted by leftist ideologues (and not by classical liberals, to be sure) is used as a counterbalance when defending unsubstantiated leftist claims from conservative charges.
First things first. After a bit of fact checking, I can assure our gentle reader that there are as many Democrat perverts as there are Republican perverts. We will be delighted to post our list in a week or two.
More importantly, is the charge that somehow, conservative ideology is a more ‘comfortable’ place for misfits to find a home and the implication that leftist ideology is the ‘natural’ choice for those more moral. We are going to examine that, but first we are going to dispel some of the myths about conservatism, presented by some leftists by way of ignorance or by way of deceit.
Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.
Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.
The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.
In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.
It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims…
…In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.
Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise…
Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often…the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.
Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity…
Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems…Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.
Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk…
Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic leveling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired…
Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.
Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily… Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition…
For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.
Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.
The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.
Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.
Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement…When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate…
…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…
The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.
We hope that our email correspondent and other readers are served by reading these select quotes. The entire work can be found here.
Our correspondent would do well to recognize the malignant leftist sociopathy that has replaced classical liberalism. Leftists have supported some of the most dysfunctional and destructive regimes in history. Their stated support and concern for ‘the people’ has resulted in support for tyrants and dictators and butchers that have few equals. In fact, virtually every regime and leader supported and endorsed by the left have the blood of tens, if not hundred of millions, on their hands, from Castro to Che and from Mao to Ho Chi Minh.
In fact, socialism taken to it’s extreme gave us Adolph Hitler. His National Socialists did exactly what Stalin did, only on a greater scale. The Nazis ruthlessly eliminated those opposed to them and their ideologies. The developed an enormous secret police apparatus and cultivated an enormous network of informants, all of whom benefited either materially or by way of other privilege. Media and educational curriculum were tightly controlled- no dissenting view was tolerated.
These radical socialists were willing to impose their ideologies on others, no matter the cost. They brutally oppressed certain minorities and/or members of certain religions. Like socialists everywhere, religion posed a threat and was not to be tolerated. Human life had no value until approved by the state- babies, the infirm, the mentally disabled and the elderly were all thought to be expendable. These same ideologies are today embraced by many leftists. Peter Singer of Princeton is the pied piper.
The proof is in the pudding. Leftists today embrace regimes that more closely resemble National Socialism than they do democracies. They embrace the leaders of nations where religious hate, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia and racism are essential parts of then regimes characteristics. Millions of people today are being slaughtered because leftists refuse to demand their beloved ‘comrades’ cease the atrocities. It was as true in Rwanda a decade ago as it is in Darfur today.
Dead innocents are all a cost of doing business for the left.
Perversion, dear gentle reader and correspondent, comes in all forms.
“NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W.Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren.
Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.
“I have a very hard time with this word ‘non-violence’, because I don’t believe that I am non-violent,” said Ms Williams, 64.
“Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.” Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.”
Dr Sanity observes:
…We see it happening to the Palestinian children, taught from birth to hate the other/Jew; taught to die for the IDEAL. We see it in college students who are encouraged by their malignantly narcissistic professors to reject traditional moral values; embrace nihilism, and transform the world according to the professor’s Utopian fantasy. We see it in the postmodern rhetoric of the socialists who still dream of a universal socialist utopia, no matter how many people they have to kill to make it happen.
We see glimpses of it, in fact, in a Nobel Peace Laureate who is so concerned for the IDEAL of some abstract “suffering children” that she is willing to poison the minds of the very real children right in front of her with her own undiluted ideology–knowing full well those minds aren’t capable of mature judgment and analysis. She is so unswervingly sure that the source of all suffering children must be…George Bush. How is she different from the Imams of Islam who preach hate –but in the name of some universal Islamic “good”.
She doesn’t want to face the truth, you see, that it is one variation or another of HER beliefs; HER ideology; HER behavior that is behind most of the unnecessary suffering of–not only children–but all human beings.
She, and many of the others that have been referred to as “useful idiots”, has made herself into a willing agent of the malignant narcissism of the Idealized object. They are actually worse than idiots; they are true co-conspirators with the enemies of life itself.
Indeed. It is America that is the problem- not the murderous regimes adored by the leftists. The stupidity is breathtaking.
We would ask our reader and correspondent one question: Show us a single example of a cause adopted by the left that led to a non violent and a free, successful nation. Just one.