A Question of Words

A reader asks:

“Conservative Party rules in Britain. Why are they to be called Left?”

Leftists deliberately confuse terminology and leave them undefined in order to bewilder the unwary.

The huge arguments over what word means what in politics will continue forever, because one side of the argument, the Left, desires the confusion, and argues in bad faith.

For the record, conservative means two things: it means one thing as a sentiment, and it means another thing in politics. In politics, the word is used as a marker to define a certain political party or to define a certain like-mindedness of a shared philosophy (if articulated) or worldview (if not).

As a sentiment, it means a preferences for making only slow and careful changes to institutions and complex legal and moral structure, habits and customs. As a sentiment a radical is the opposite: one who prefers making sudden, rapid, and thoroughgoing changes from top to bottom, with little regard or none for the consequences. This is the way the terms are used commonly.

in Europe, the conservative sentiment would favor monarchy and the established religion. Those are their traditional institutions. Now, of course, an even older strata of conservative would favor the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire, but the word ‘conservative’ cannot honestly be said to cover that case. A strata earlier yet favors the Roman Republic and paganism.

In America, those who follow the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian ideals of federated and limited government, hindered by checks and balances; where said government serves an armed citizenry that enjoys freedom of speech and worship; who select their leader via representative democratic elections regardless of class or race distinctions; and who govern themselves with laws wherein individual rights are sacrosanct;  and wherein voluntary adherence to social norms and duties, monogamy and monotheism, are seen as prerequisite; are rightly called conservatives, because we defend from erosion and attack those foundational ideals.

As the oldest continuous government in the world, the radical enlightenment ideas of anti-monarchy and free markets, are, in this land, ironically, considered conservative.

Republicanism is considered conservative because the conservative sentiment, that is, the desire for continual restoration to preserve time-tested institution, favors Republicanism here and only here. Only here is Republicanism a time-tested institution.

The word is somewhat misleading. We believe the truth because it is true, not because it is old. We attack the lies of the radicals because they are lies, not because they are new.

In America, and only in America, the truth happens to date from our founding and lies are new. In Europe, the opposite is the case. For example, the truth favors an armed citizenry.

In America, for example, from the beginning, we have had armed citizens and militiamen. Such is our tradition. In Europe, the tradition is to allow the nobles the right to bear arms, and to make sure the peasants, the workingmen, the serfs, the slaves and the plebeians are unarmed.

Indeed, a study of the legal debates surrounding the Second Amendment shows the consistent pattern of who wanted the lower classes, especially the blacks, disarmed: the oddly misnamed Democrat party, the Party of Jefferson Davis and Jim Crow. The National Rifle Association earned the unending enmity of the Dems for arming recently-freed blacks after the Civil War against the threat of the KKK, who were the masked enforcers of Democrat policy, the terrorist wing of the Party.

As a sentiment, then, I suppose a “conservative” Southern Democrat might seek a return of institutions like Jim Crow and plantation slavery and the rather European flavored antebellum social institutions, a class system, dueling between gentlemen, keeping comely negresses as concubines, and so on. Whether these institutions are time-tested, that is, successful rather than inhuman and abhorrent, is open to debate.

I am not sure what word is used for someone who favors a return to failed and morbid social institutions of the neolithic, such as tribalism, tribal ownership of all goods, xenophobia, child sacrifice to dark gods, and so on. An even earlier strata of Paleolithic institutions, before the invention of gunpowder, marriage, or language would sate the gun-grabbers, the libertines, and the politically correct. Perhaps “Leftist” will do as a term to refer to those who seek a return to primordial chaos, at least until a better term offers itself.

In politics, the terms have a technical meaning.

A conservative is one who holds faith with in the majesty of truth; the impartiality of reason; the objectivity of reality; the authority of virtue; the verity of beauty; the dignity of man; the equality of the law; the love of patriots; and we hold faith with Christ.

The enemy is a scattered and incoherent coalition of groups that support, with various degrees of zeal, several or all of certain modern and postmodern ideas, or, rather, talking points.

These ideas are nihilism, relativism, solipsism, anomie, subjectivism, humanism, collectivism, socialism, and secularism.

Whatever the ruling party of Great Britain calls itself, the socialization of medicine, and the inevitable desecration of human life which follows therefrom, the blasphemy against God’s creation, and the corruption of traditional norms of law and order, the gradual reduction of the subjects of the Queen to wretched Helots whose lives belong to Mandarin-style bureaucrat class to dispose of as the Mandarins see fit, the grinding nihilism that places no value on those useless to the State, are core Leftist values.

Lying, hypocrisy, and insisting on hairsplitting accuracy in definitions when and only when the definitions are misleading, these are also Leftist values. Since the Left are enemies of God and man, truth, life, beauty, virtue and joy, I strongly suggest no one, even unintentionally, aid their cause.