The decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving. It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance. It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing. The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments.
If change is inevitable, as it surely is, might there be a better strategy to pursue than simply objecting, obstructing, and opposing as long as possible? Cooperation, perhaps? Negotiation and compromise? Respect for differing perspectives, values, needs, and interests?
Just thinking aloud….
A FEW SIMPLE STEPS
Of course, should those options actually be placed on the far-Right’s table, it will also prove invaluable if they step away from denial, too. For example, pretending climate change is a Chinese hoax [one of several billion inane comments by Donald Trump]; or a plain-old garden variety hoax courtesy of Sen. James Inhofe; or the basketful of other dismissive objections by the right-wing media, or the just plain-old garden variety nonsense from the fringe players who’ve positioned themselves front and center in the public eye [Alex Jones, Breitbart News, Drudge, and the assortment of other characters who apparently take their informational cues via alpha waves blasted out from other dimensions], will not avert the effects of the great body of science suggesting we might have a wee bit of a problem on our hands in the not-too-distant future.
I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it – or, to put it bluntly, its obscurantism.
Just because problem-solving might entail ruffling a few wealthy feathers isn’t really the best rationale for putting the planet at risk by poisoning public dialogue with lies, misstatements, misleading alternatives, or the fallback tactic of pumping up the fear. Climate change and other challenges of similar scope won’t shift their forward progress into “idle” while waiting for reasonable leaders not so fact-averse to take the wheel. Change—good, bad, and in-between—is going to continue its relentless march forward just as it has since the dawn of man.
Far-right nonsense is not change’s Kryptonite. It might work today and tomorrow, given how effective tactics have been so far in keeping followers appropriately confused, anxious, terrified [take your pick], but science and facts and reality are what they are. Nonsense is a detour, nothing more.
Among some conservatives, the problem at times seems to run deeper than a failure to articulate a vision of government. Particularly among libertarians and some of those conservatives who identify with the Tea Party movement, government overreach has found its mirror image in fierce anti-government fervor.
That impulse is itself nothing new on the American right; what is different today is both its intensity and its widening appeal within conservative ranks. It involves a rhetorical zeal and indiscipline in which virtually every reference to government is negative, disparaging, and denigrating. It is justified by an apocalyptic narrative of American life: We are fast approaching a point of no return at which we stand to lose our basic liberties and our national character. ‘We have a couple of years to turn this country around,’ according to Texas senator Ted Cruz, ‘or we go off the cliff to oblivion.’ Obamacare, added 2012 GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, is evidence of a “police state.” In the struggle to conserve our liberty, it is now or never.
Now or never cuts both ways. Might not be a bad idea for the wiser and calmer voices to step forward and suggest a different approach to dealing with today and tomorrow than what’s been offered and employed to date. Recriminations will be plenty the longer self-serving anti-government voices maintain control of the air waves. Unfortunately for them and for all of us, recriminations might wind up being the most pleasant of many, very unpleasant consequences if obstruction and opposition continue to serve as the only choices.
NO POST NEXT WEEK; Enjoy Thanksgiving!
~ My Photo: Boston’s Seaport District at Dawn – 08.17.16 ©
Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
Be the change you want in the world – Gandhi
The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything – Albert Einstein
~ ~ ~
As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.
If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.
The late Senator Paul Wellstone’s observation continues to hold far more truth and power than we give it credit:
We all do better when we all do better
Why make setting up inevitable and enduring conflict the primary objective of policy and planning?