Modern conservatism and liberalism
With the election of The Trump in the US, there is increasing animosity coming from “conservatives” with respect to those damn “liberals” that are messing up that country. Make no mistake, here in Canada we see the exact same kind of malcontent coming from our “conservatives” who are now emboldened by the events south of us.
This post is not about the Conservative or Liberal parties in Canada. This is about the small-c and small-l terms and how they are being (ab)used.
When i was growing up, I reached adulthood with the impression that a conservative was someone who valued slow, but steady, measured, well-thought-through advancement. The conservative remembered tradition, but recognized that the path is always forward. The conservative didn’t do things frivolously, and wanted things done correctly. Conservatives stood for small but strong government, good sense, and doing the right thing, and that right thing might be in your face if your freedom was a detriment to the freedom of others.
The liberal view wanted faster progress. Liberals took bigger risks, looking for bigger gains. They valued individual freedom, but limited it from getting out of hand to everyone’s detriment with a big, regulatory government. Liberals, like conservatives, had no problem with regulating your freedom if you’d forgotten that your freedom to swing your fist around ends at other people’s noses. They tended not to worry as much about the old ways, and embraced the new, and liberal change would therefore tend to come in big positives jumps interspersed with annoying failures. Liberals always looked at the end game, and sought the shorter path to get there.
Both liberal and conservative action were required to get things done… by and large, liberals jumped things forward, then conservatives made things work.
Today, however, it seems to be different, particularly with “conservatives”.
I see plenty of people who call themselves conservatives, but very few people who actually act like conservatives. Today’s conservatives define themselves as “not-liberal” and go out of their way to be the opposite of all things liberal. Rather than driving slow but well-thought progress, the modern conservative pushes anti-progress. They don’t remember tradition, they worship tradition. Instead of doing the right thing, they do what some religious talking head tells them. Their freedom to swing their fist (or their gun <cough>) doesn’t end at other people’s noses… dammit if your nose is in the way you’re just a pussy liberal.
Modern conservatives seem to equate “conservative” with “anti-social douchebag”. In fact, if you go to a place like Conservapedia and replace “conservative” with “anti-social douchebag”, it works really well. Modern conservatives don’t want progress. They live in a fantasy of the good old days that never were… white, full of guns and god, and completely selfish. These are people who blow a vein over someone burning a flag, but laugh at their neighbour losing his job when he’s crippled by a drunk driver, and losing his house to medical bills. That is the modern conservative. They revel in the fact they are uninformed. They’re proud of being uneducated. They’re just plain mean.
Liberals, on the other hand, demand instant gratification. The liberal extremists – the social justice warriors – seem to think that social progress can be instantly legislated, as if we live in a dream world where the government can solve all our problems if we only have more laws. They’ve built (in Canada, they’re trying in the US) a wonderful set of social programs that can only be sustained if we have an ever ballooning number of people to pay the freight. This, in turn, causes them to define liberal awesomeness by how many immigrants they can bring in, instead of thinking things through to make sustainable social programs that don’t require importing people to pay the bills.
Liberals love free speech, but aren’t as keen on their being consequences to free speech… unless it’s free speech THEY don’t like. The liberal method of idea expression works like this “Liberal says it, audience doesn’t like it, audience is full of assholes. Conservative says it, audience doesn’t like it, speaker is an asshole.” Modern liberals are happy to substitute social justice over good sense – a risky move that sometimes works, but they don’t want to be held accountable when it doesn’t.
Modern liberals seem to equate “liberal” with “social crusader”. Liberals believe anyone who doesn’t think their way needs to be suppressed, put down, subjugated. These people demand their safe spaces away from dissenting ideas or troubling thoughts. They feel the world OWES them their due. What’s really funny about this is that as a behaviour, it is functionally identical to the religious conservatives who want to cuddle in their enclaves and not listen to those damn liberal ideas. The difference is, the deeply religious often keep to themselves, the liberals demand the law protect them. If these people have their way, the next Stalin or Hitler to show up is going to walk over the western world because he won’t care if people’s feelings get hurt.
Modern liberals think their awesome university educations means they know all there is to know about the world and making it better, meaning they missed the entire point of a university education. They think they’re better than other people, but really, they’re just overbearing douchebags too.
So why can’t we return to old-school conseravtism and liberalism? The kind where people actually put some thought behind their actions. The kind that had the good sense to look where we are going and make the effort to find the best path there. Why do we have to suffer with one camp that stares at it’s own anus with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other and pretends to be conservative, while the other camp declares it knows better than all of us and forces us to go in directions without due consideration to where we are or where we’ll end up then calls that “liberal”?
Personally, I have little time for these new-school conservatives and new-school liberals. They’re not making our civilization better.