Saturday, October 11, 2014

Post 4500 - How To Be A Conservative

Quotes from Roger Scruton's new book How To Be a Conservative have been making the rounds, including this one in the WSJ this week.
Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation is slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.
I assent to this idea even though I do not share his conclusion that the conservative position is always true.  Perhaps Scruton doesn't either, and is giving a merely general observation, written vividly for grace, beauty, and clarity's sake.

I had thought at the time that Obama was making his foolish "You didn't build that" statements that the deeper truth was that our grandparents and great-grandparents had "built that," if he meant rule of law, infrastructure, assumed reciprocity, free markets, etc. In that instance, those he was chastising had far more claim on saying "We built that" than Barack Obama's administration did. Even if we are indeed "lesser sons of greater sires," as Theoden said, that is not a reason to give credit to government.


Donna B. said...

Honestly, I have no idea what I am. I completely agree with the idea that "good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created.

I'm also OK with the idea that things that took 'a while' to create can outlive their usefulness, or that they can 'morph' into other useful things -- think telecommunication.

Also, I thought I was a social liberal because I thought 'don't ask, don't tell' was a wonderful thing. Seemed like a matter of privacy to me. Please don't ask me what I do in my bedroom and, for goodness sake, please DO NOT tell me what you do in yours. If we both follow those rules, we can be friends, right?

Now, I think I've been hopelessly naive.

Anonymous said...

Don't ask, don't tell was a military policy and conservative compromise. Compromising with evil doesn't lead to good, it just leads to more evil. As people can see now in the Gaystapo circles and the new military diversity circles.

Conservatives should rename themselves to something clear and concrete, like champions of light or patriotism. Because being defined by the enemy, evil in this instance, is objective and also very traditional in the time sense. Being defined by what people do, rather than what they do it for, is difficult to parse as the time goes on. Since a Nazi regime that conserves the Nazis is bad, while a German that seeks to radically kill Hitler to preserve the German people was good.

It just depends on the context.

The context these days is that the Leftist alliance will and has destroyed America, so there is now nothing to "conserve". One must first destroy the Left before one can rebuild anything.