Saturday, June 14, 2008

Conservatism and "The Commons"

I am of the Left. Let us get that out of the way now. Liberal, Progressive, call me whatever you want, but this is what I am. I am proud to wear this badge, and I have arrived at it after many years of careful thought and rationale.

I believe in Democracy. Not some mere idea of "freedom," as loaded a term as that may be (freedom from WHAT?). No, I believe that the role of Government is to serve the people. I believe in those classic ideas first laid out by the Greeks and later perfected by the Founders, the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, and the New Deal coalition. Mine is a proud tradition. To lay claim to it is to say that one is Soldier, one is Samurai. It is a belief that the Good of All is the Good of One. It is a belief in what the Greeks would have called the Commons.

It is a simple philosophy: Feed the hungry. Clothe the poor. Heal the sick. Teach the young. Right the Wrong.

Mine is a proud philosophy, and I champion its ideals vocally. It is a philosophy that champions debate, that holds high the respect for diverse backgrounds and opinions. It embraces this cacophony of voices because, implicit within its folds, lies the assumption that All Voices Are Heard. No one voice is any less of value than the others. As such, though I may be the classic Liberal, I acknowledge and respect the need for the Conservative viewpoint. My best friend is a classical Conservative. I admire and respect his views enormously.

Still, I believe that, much as Light and Dark exist in the Way, so too do Conservative and Liberal philosophies exist in the Commons. Each serves a vital function. The Liberal seeks to shed aside those old practices which may have given way to Injustice over time, while the Conservative seeks to shield against the slow erosion of the Commons.

But what happens when, like a lupine T-Cell that turns against its host body's tissue, one viewpoint turns against the Commons which is the very lifeblood of Democracy?

I have a problem with modern Conservatism. At best, I find it seeks to morally justify selfish pursuits, and at worst it seeks to destroy the Commons outright. Some mind find this dramatic, so allow me to explain. Conservatives I know--even conservatives here--tell us that our freedom is under attack by government, and I believe them. But what I cannot accept is that such attacks come in the form of amesty to illegal immigrants, come in the form of protests against war, come in the form of a woman's right to choose, come in the form of a poor man's right to aid.

When I hear a conservative these days talk about Justice, about Freedom, I have to laugh. Why? Because these same individuals would deny rights to others that they claim for themselves. They would deny the same opportunities to others that they themselves, either by birth or by education, have come to take for granted. They would justify tax cuts for the wealthy and an expansionist foreign policy. They would champion "Freedom" for citizens of other nations, while denying it to those here at home. They would deny a woman her right to choose when, where, and how she gives birth, but then they would deny her the assistance that IS HER RIGHT by the Commons in order to give that child a healthy upbringing.

Do you not see this? Do you not see how the flesh turns against the flesh? When one half of that seal turns against itself, what is to be concluded but that such a philosophy is now corrupted, has become morally bankrupt? Can such a philosophy have any more role in the Commons, or must it, too, be shed, like all the other Injustices?

So when a conservative here tells me that I am wrong, that I am not patriotic; when a conservative tells me that my beliefs harm democracy, I must confess not to mere disagreement, but to outrage. For it is the Conservative that today threatens Democracy; it is the Conservative that threatens Justice, threatens the Common Good. For it is no longer interested in the Common Good. No--it cares now only for itself.

And such a belief system can have no place in a healthy democracy. It must be torn down and made anew. It must be rendered unacceptable. It must be EXPUNGED.

Conservatio delenda est.

10 comments:

Gloria Ives said...

Amen. Speak, or forever hold your piece.
Peace-)

idiosynchronic said...

Word.

Anonymous said...

"Conservatism" is just an excuse for what we used to call selfishness.

~ dj moonbat

jwest said...

Milo,

Do you really believe that conservatives don’t care about poverty, healthcare, education or any other social ill? Is your best friend that evil or selfish?

Perhaps the difference between conservatives and liberals are the methods they would use to solve these problems. If you start from the perspective that your side is totally good/right and the other is totally evil/wrong, no conversation/agreement can be reached.

Chris said...

I don't think he "started" with the perspective that conservatism is wrong. Your idea that he is coming to some political epiphany is absurd.

Knowing Milo, I can guarantee you he has thought long and hard about his personal classifications. I can guarantee he has had plenty of time to analyze and scrutinize conservatism at his own leisure while he was serving in Iraq for 15 months.

The difference between conservatives and liberals are the methods they would use to solve these problems. So guess what: We don't want an agreement. We don't want to "cut a deal" with your disgusting prohibitionist philosophy. There will be no alliance with your wicked workings.

The BLOOD is on your hands.

Goodbye.

jwest said...

Chris,

Well, at least you’re open-minded. Here’s a quote I read somewhere:

“…….It is a philosophy that champions debate, that holds high the respect for diverse backgrounds and opinions. It embraces this cacophony of voices because, implicit within its folds, lies the assumption that All Voices Are Heard. No one voice is any less of value than the others. As such, though I may be the classic Liberal, I acknowledge and respect the need for the Conservative viewpoint.”

I tend to agree with this guy.

Chris said...

"I acknowledge and respect the need for the Conservative viewpoint"

That is no fucking justification. And yeah, I agree too;

I acknowledge the need for oil drilling and distribution, but like conservatism, all truth prevails time. I acknowledge the need for radiation in practicing chemotherapy, but I don't believe uncontrolled public exposure is the best idea. Sure, conservatism is GREAT for manipulating the public. People want hope, but they trust fear, and this is where conservatism triumphs. Keep them sick, scared, and stupid. Sure, I acknowledge the POWERFUL governmental control that conservatism allows. I acknowledge and respect the need for the conservative viewpoint. However, there is no moral justification. You made the choice to support the corrupt empowerment of the minority and the off-the-books starvation of the majority. I acknowledge that.

Eroding promises produce imminent problems. An alternative MUST be put into action, or it may very well be the death of us all. Your nonchalant disregard of the conservative dangers is not fooling anyone here. You can teach your children to never ask questions, but it will not work on us.

jwest said...

Chris,

I acknowledge and respect the liberal point of view, but just as fervently believe your answers to today’s problems are wrong.

The difference is I don’t project bad intentions on to your motives.

If you ask conservatives what they believe about liberal policies, they will of course decry how those misshapen ideas have killed and injured millions, denied education to our society’s most vulnerable and kept large portions of our citizens in poverty. However, most conservatives would not attribute these results to a desire of liberals to see people suffer.

We view your actions as similar to medieval physicians. Learned, caring, trying to do your best to alleviate suffering, but killing people with the unintended consequences of relentless bloodletting. The carnage cannot stop until you and your liberal brethren step back for a moment and realize the harm your cures have done.

idiosynchronic said...

Oh gawd, jwest returns.

Anjha said...

The larger problem is that there is no such thing as "conservative" anymore.

These assholes in the Congress are neoconservative and their actions and policies resemble nothing of the original intent of small government, etc that Conservative was supposed to have been.

As a result, I am more Conservative than they are.