The Conservative Position

...you are too deficient too know, or (it would appear) even to care, what "conservatives" think.......William Connolley, addressing your (no doubt insufficiently) humble correspondent.


Well, yes, Mr. , er, Dr., Connolley has managed to irk me.  Fair enough, I suppose, since I suppose I have done the same by abusing some of his sacred bovines.  A couple of his changes of subject later, he further accuses me of ignorance of the conservative position.  Of course that was never the subject of my post - I was talking about mutual opinions of conservatives and liberals, and, more importantly, their neural substrates.  However, WC is rarely guilty of either that foolish consistency that Emerson called the hobgoblin of little minds or any other kind of logical consistency.

Of course it's true that I don't know what conservatives think, though I think the functional MRI brain studies provide some strong hints.  So, I imagine, are the actual words of those selfsame conservatives.  He found those off topic and unresponsive to whatever he was thinking but left unsaid.  My problem, it seems, was not understanding the conservative position.

When I consider conservatives, I prefer to start with their actions, rather than the meditations of some or other English gentleman now dead for a couple of centuries or so.  A close study of the actions of American conservatives today reveals that position to be on their backs, begging for mercy from Mr. Trump.  Any principle any of them may have held is now utterly consumed by fear of the President's wrath.

I suppose I ought to at least minimally address some of those so-called principles though, however little they are observed.  One favorite trope is the "small government conservative."  Small government conservatives believe that the government should only be big enough to keep the humble in their places and protect the privileges of the chosen elites.  Many conservatives are also nostalgic for a more golden past.  Russell Kirk, quoted on a Heritage Foundation site writes:

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.
Well that would be convenient, except for the fact that there is every evidence in history and anthropology that it is utterly false.

Kirk, like many a conservative intellectual is fond of citing that old fascist, Plato.  So are slavery and pederasty part of the enduring moral order or not?

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