Obviously, I don’t buy the idea that when giants like Bill Buckley roamed the earth, conservatism was teh awesome, but Kathleen Parker digs up a quote from Russell Kirk that is very interesting in light of today’s purity tests and party purges:
In fact, the 10-point checklist proffered by Bopp and others is the antithesis of conservatism. As Kirk wrote in his own “Ten Conservative Principles,” conservatism “possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata . . . conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.”
Each of Bopp’s bullets is so overly broad and general that no thoughtful person could endorse it in good conscience. Some are so simplistic as to be meaningless. As just one example: “We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges.” What does that mean? Do we support all troop surges no matter what other considerations might be taken into account? Do we take nothing else into account? Does disagreement mean one doesn’t support victory?
Whatever the intent of the authors, the message is clear: Thinking people need not apply.
What’s interesting to me is that today, even self-styled intellectual conservatives claim that David Hume and Edmund Burke offer specific policy proposals. I guess the truth is that anything can be dumbed down to a list of bullet points if you try hard enough.
In fairness, it’s not just Republicans hanging up a sign that says “thinking people need not apply.” When Obama is compared to Spock for insisting on the use of reason in decision-making and told to just make a fast decision, even it’s wrong, on
Iraq Afghanistan, the media has that sign up too.
It’s hard not to see this as a sickness that may eventually destroy our society.