The Botereid

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Left & Right - 1. Liberal Solace

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

- Abraham Lincoln

Actions beget reactions. Those of us who aren’t thrilled with the extreme right and left can keep lamenting that. The pendulum is swinging high one way, but believe me -- it's going to swing back, and viciously.

The religious conservative's tide has come. The long work of Buckley and Co. has borne this cresting wave to victory, though I'm not sure that this is exactly what Buckley had in mind. But before liberals google "noose-tying", they should try to search for such thing as an uncrashed wave. Remember, in victory one can always find the roots of defeat. Here, I think it's simply time. The Republicans lost the youth vote, and while youth tend to be more liberal, I think their animosity towards this extreme religious conservatism is going to make it a hell of a lot harder for the Republicans to convert these folk as adults.

Now, some may object to some of my premises here. E.g. "religious conservatism." (I know some take it as granted, but this argument is not directed towards them, naturally.) Let's put it this way: I am pretty conservative in certain areas. I believe we should conserve individual liberty, though maybe I am not so extreme as some libertarians. (I think taxes are necessary and that some government helps to guarantee liberty.) I also believe in the strength of tradition. Intellectual history is not a long line of puissant pseudo-intellectuals dominating the discourse with an iron gauntlet. That seems to assume the idiocy of most of our forebears: hence, I find it arrogantn. Finally, I'm a conservative when it comes to the environment. I do not agree with our careful dismantling of it.

Today's Republican conservatism is primarily religious. It has no qualms about stripping individual liberty in the name of morality. Where does it acquire this morality? Either tradition founded from religion, or directly from The Good Book, cutting out the middleman. These morals rule all, which is understandable considering that they're morals. I think we can agree that conservative morality is heavily laden with to-be-doneness.

The religious conservative scene is also short-sighted, which is completely antithetical to the Buckley crowd. This is why it brushes off how it's seen by youth, foreigners, intellectuals, and minorities; namely, others. It is shining off its "mandate" won in a hotly-contested election where a choice was made because we had to make a choice, where approval ratings show that we didn't want either guy. It's arraying its shoulders with it like a cape and epaulets, and it's writing its legacy across the national walls for all generations to behold and despair.

The Republicans have a strong base of voters. But it was built by consuming on the foundation of their future. Every dog has its day, and every day has its sunset.


Note: This is the introduction to a longer argument I'm working out. Thus, the "1" in the title and the vagueness of parts. I will be going into this further, and linking all the posts together eventually.

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