Nov 6, 2008

If It Isn't Dead, Should We Kill It?

Melanie Phillips is providing insight from the British side of politics:

The challenge for conservatives on both sides of the pond is to find a way of conserving the essential values of Western Civilization and defend them against the onslaught being mounted against them both from within and from without — but to do so in a way that is generous and big-hearted rather than narrow and sectarian, and embraces rather than repels.

Ah, there's the rub. No matter what you propose about Conservatism, someone will feel slighted and left out, disenfranchised or marginalized. You can't put forth Conservative principles while pandering to the me-first fears of folks who like to live outside the so-called Conservative norm.

Nevermind that you don't care what folks do in their bedrooms or with their leisure time and money, if you don't actively build it up as Important, you will scare away certain fiercely independent individuals who center their entire identity on being Who They Are. It's another subtle victory for the Left, another fear-mongering that has been ingrained. You will lose your Self!

So you either must decide to include their narrow agenda, which feels nice to do, but if it pulls apart the Central Ideal, you will lose focus. You can try to woo the fiercely independent types but you can't depend on them. They are extremely valuable if they too, can make a bit of a sacrifice for something better.

The very nature of Rugged Individualism dooms the Republican Party in a post-modern age. And the Rule of Law has been supplanted by Situational Ethics... which were taught to you by very good teachers who were excited by this new educational tool. What is right? It depends.

Such a subtle, insidious little fox has corrupted what was so simple and pure: Right and Wrong.

Who are you to say what is right?

You have no answer to that, because we no longer agree on Absolutes. Even within our own party.

Relax and let the Left's victory do its work. As a Republican, you can embrace the deconstruction of your Party and the mockery of your Ideals, and look around at the pieces and find what is worth salvaging and what you will fight for.

The Republican Party has become an old woman who is motivated by fears of how it is perceived, now that its best days are past. A bit more of this, that, and the other will somehow "youthen" what is hopelessly out of touch and beyond repair.

Let it go.


Jim Ryan said...

Wow, quite a post.

Jim Ryan said...

Great series of posts. If I understand you, what's dead is: big tent, healthy forum, courage, a devotion to deliberation in order to discover what is truly right and what is truly wrong, etc. A vibrant political substance.

The virus finally got us. It spreads slowly through its prey's tissues. You don't even know it's happening until you're comatose.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Yes. The forum has been absent ever since Nixon. That's a whole other avenue of woe. Woodward and Bernstein became journalist rock stars and the Media found its strength.

pamibe said...

" will scare away certain fiercely independent individuals who center their entire identity on being Who They Are"

Can I tell you that I don't give a good crap?
Maybe it was a blessing that I have no roots, no ancestry to speak of... I can't live in a wormhole of hyphenated bliss, making myself something-American... or worse, gay. Those people are their own worst enemy.

But that's for another time, I guess.

Again, thought provoking. We aren't dead, not by a long shot.

Jim Ryan said...

Necrotic GOP tissue: symptom of more generalized disease in the body politic.

Anyway, "whole other avenue of woe" - I'm not sure. It seems the same avenue you're writing about.

Anyways, great series.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Just a note, Pam. The SeaBlogger is a fine example of someone who gets it. He is gay, but it is not an issue with him, and certainly not a political one. He is a fine and decent man with a great political mind and good humor. He is suffering from Leukemia and sometimes blogs about his declining health. In other words, a human being full of much love and warmth.

I'm sure Andrew Sullivan would refer to someone like Alan Sullivan as a gay uncle tom, but there are many others like him out there. I welcome the thought that we can agree on a big vision of how we can all best live peaceably and profitably together.

But mostly, we are a proud and stubborn lot, by reason of what it takes to survive and progress and move forward. It's a challenge to get everyone to sit down and shut up.

The economy just may wake up a few folks. It's nice to dream of Freedom, buy who is gonna finance it!


mushroom said...

Joan, you are on fire. I've trying to get free to comment, but too much work.

We have the terms "para-military" and "para-church", we need something like para-politics.

For example, a short time before the election, I rejoined the NRA. We need an organization like the NRA to educate and advocate for:

1) massive tax reform, e.g. the Fair Tax.

2) Education reform -- elimination of federal involvment in funding for education -- return schools to local control, and/or, allow the freedom to opt out through vouchers.

3) Push for an amendment to the Constitution to term-limit House and Senate members

Win on those three points and you are well on your way to getting your country back.

These are issues that transcend parties. The only reason a politician would oppose getting rid of the income tax for a more business-friendly system or revamping the educational system or instituting term limits is because he wants the power. And that's what people need to be told.

folly said...

While I agree that the modern (19th century) republican party is dead, I don't believe that conservatism is dead. Yes, there will always be people who feel that they don't fit in to the core of conservative thinking, but they certainly won't feel welcome in the liberal/marxist mindset of the modern democratic party.

Wait until the American people get a look at what the democrats want to do. The democrats' ears have been given to the sierra club,, and daliyKos. Taxes will necessarily go up, the deficit will skyrocket, the economy will tank and the government will swoop in to try to fix it, because the government should be the source of all good things, right?

That's what Obama campaigned on. And that's what the people asked for, but Obama was so vague and populist in all his speeches and on his website that the only thing that came across was "Change." I don't thing that most of those who voted for him understand what that means. Palin tried, but McCain certainly didn't tell us. He was so concerned with not seeming "mean" to the first black candidate that he neutered his own campaign, allowing himself to be taken out of the race.

This country isn't ready for Marxism, even if they voted for a man who believes in it. Conservatives can unite around this, and the little differences will disappear, just like they do in the democratic party.

The Republican party needs to be reinvented. The existing party is dead, and if it's not, it needs to be shot. The existing party is more concerned with not offending anyone than making standing up for it's principles. We've allowed the democrats to not only frame the debate, but set the rules and tell us what we can say!

McCain was not the best candidate (he's no longer a conservative), but the current party didn't believe that Huckabee (my pick) or Romney could win. That's because party leadership is out of touch and needs to step aside. One of the problems I have with the dem party is that they are all about staying in power. The rep party has been moving in that direction for a while now, and that needs to change. The new Republican party needs to be about doing the right thing. Even when no one is looking.

The Republican party can be reinvented. But we need to do the reinventing. Send messages to your representatives. Don't for get that they're supposed to do what we tell them. Send messages to the RNC. Tell them what you want. Raise your voice. We can do this, but it will take all of us in unison. Don't lose hope, and don't sit back and watch. Stand up and raise your hand.