Saturday, October 06, 2007

Where conservatives come from...

I have written about my parting of the way with the Republican party. While egocentric, I admit, I still believe the party changed course more than I did. David Brooks at the NYT offers a similar view.
Over the past few decades, the Republican Party has championed a series of reforms designed to devolve power to the individual, through tax cuts, private pensions and medical accounts. The temperamental conservative does not see a nation composed of individuals who should be given maximum liberty to make choices. Instead, the individual is a part of a social organism and thrives only within the attachments to family, community and nation that precede choice.

Therefore, the temperamental conservative values social cohesion alongside individual freedom and worries that too much individualism, too much segmentation, too much tension between races and groups will tear the underlying unity on which all else depends. Without unity, the police are regarded as alien powers, the country will fracture under the strain of war and the economy will be undermined by lack of social trust.

To put it bluntly, over the past several years, the G.O.P. has made ideological choices that offend conservatism’s Burkean roots. This may seem like an airy-fairy thing that does nothing more than provoke a few dissenting columns from William F. Buckley, George F. Will and Andrew Sullivan. But suburban, Midwestern and many business voters are dispositional conservatives more than creedal conservatives. They care about order, prudence and balanced budgets more than transformational leadership and perpetual tax cuts. It is among these groups that G.O.P. support is collapsing.

American conservatism will never be just dispositional conservatism. America is a creedal nation. But American conservatism is only successful when it’s in tension — when the ambition of its creeds is restrained by the caution of its Burkean roots. [More of an excellent op-ed]
There is an atmosphere of loyal dissent that bodes well for the nation, and I think, agriculture as we forge ahead into this new century. The dialog - albeit roughly hewn at present - of debate on the Internet offer real hope for unifying forces. We can speak and be heard. We can read and learn. We can all be present at every event of moment.

The conservative movement has paused long enough before embracing this new idea. And now that they have weighed the possibilities and costs, I think they will recapture their own ideology from reactionary blowhards.

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