Defining One’s Terms

“I’m very unhappy with this inability of conservatives to define what conservatism actually is.”

Because no one asked me.

The word itself is misleading, because, of course I am a conservative when and only when the principles I support currently are in force and currently are being eroded. But it is not the fact that they are being eroded that makes me want to conserve them, but, rather, the fact that they are good principles.

At the risk of repeating myself, here is a summary of my early EveryJoe articles on politics:

Conservatism is summed up in seven ideas. They are, in order: 1. truth, 2. virtue, 3. beauty, 4. reason, 5. romance, 6. liberty, 7. salvation.

These are specific contradictions of seven anti-ideas promoted by the Left (I say ‘promoted’ not ‘believed’ for no man can believe in them, any more than he can believe in a five-sided triangle)

1. Solipsism — the paradox that asserts that truth is personal, hence optional: “It is not true that truth is true.”
2. Relativism — the paradox that asserts that virtue is subjective, situational, relative: “It is wrong for you to judge right and wrong.”
3. Subjectivism — the paradox that asserts that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As if putting a urinal in an Art Museum, and betraying the standard somehow proves the standard wrong, not the betrayal.
4. Irrationalism — the paradox that asserts reason is untrustworthy. Each man’s reason is too biased by upbringing, class self interest, sex, race, and background such that no one, aside from members of a given race and sex and victim group, can be expected to understand or advise other members of the victim group. Of course, reaching this conclusion from that premise is itself an act of reasoning, requiring the reasoner to trust his reason, despite the background and race and sex of the reasoner.
5. Pervertarianism — the paradox that asserts it to be licit to seek the gratifications of sexual union of the reproductive act without the union, without the reproduction, and, in the case of sodomites, without the act. The same insane paradox asserts that females should be feminists rather than feminine; and that sexual predation is more romantic than romance.
6. Totalitarianism — the paradox that asserts that freedom is slavery, war is peace, ignorance is strength. The Constitution is a living, breathing document, ergo it must be smothered and killed.
7. Nihilism — the paradox of that the meaning of life is that it has no innate meaning.

Politically, the original US constitution, which was meant for a loose federation of sovereign states and a minimal central government, was the best guarantee of continued peace and liberty, and therefore, since that state of affairs rested in our past, we should be reactionary return to it. If that state of affairs rested not in our past but only in the future, we should be radical, overthrow the current social order, and adopt it.

That said, I will add one other element to the definition of conservative: we believe changes should be gradual and organic to the social order, because the danger from social disorder is grave and lasting, and ergo such changes must be made slowly, cautiously, thoughtfully. Never tear down a fence until you find out for what reason it was first erected.