The New Conservatives

Posted on 2017 December 3


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The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution. ― Hannah Arendt

It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea. — Robert Anton Wilson

Lately the Left has discovered that many of its powerful men — film producers, movie stars, politicians — privately treat women with contempt and worse. It’s bad enough that liberals recently realized that one of their heroes — Woodrow Wilson, the first truly progressive president — was a blazing racist; this sexism among their leaders has got to go!

As liberals clean house, they’re edging us toward a culture where flirting might be banned altogether, lest it offend anyone. And a few further examples will show that the new censors of culture are no longer the conservatives — they’re the liberals:

  • Women once struggled against stereotype for the freedom to smoke cigarettes in public; nowadays, the Left rails against tobacco the way conservatives once did. In the sixties, progressives fought for greater sexual freedom at home and in the arts; today, they consider pornography a form of rape. When I was growing up, temperance and propriety were the watchwords of preachers and blue-haired old ladies; now they are the province of feminists. Life is strange.
  • The Left, having constructed most of the major edifices of economic regulation during the past 80 years, is now mostly concerned with maintenance and clean-up. Thus, when a company invents something entirely new, like Uber’s transport system serviced by self-employed drivers, liberals become incensed. “They should be employees!” they shout. “They should have a union!” That way, Uber will resemble what the Left knows how to manage — a corporation with a labor contract. This misses entirely the point of Uber, which is to bring cheap taxi service to everyone (not just the rich) and provide extra employment to workers who might otherwise find it hard to make ends meet. Only a freelance system can do this affordably. Uber transit isn’t scheduled and predictable, like a trolley or bus, and freelance drivers and their customers are hard to control and regulate. This is anathema to the bureaucratic mind. Thus liberal politics end up trying to stymie innovation. They’e behaving like … conservatives.
  • And far be it from any professor to bring up this idea in class, where a Leftie might burst into tears attempt to have the offending teacher suspended for “triggering”. Conservatives once held sway over public speech, with their bans on swear words and other offensive language; today, it’s the liberals who wield the blue pencils.
  • There was a time when liberalism meant tolerance for variety, but lately the Left seems to want us to move as one, and (excepting our private choices in sex and drugs) to think and behave in essentially the same manner. Progressives ardently support a large central government that manages the American culture and economy; they prefer a “one size fits all” approach to problem solving. The trend is toward a type of cultural uniformity, a genteel intolerance not so very different from the sort that once characterized a more conservative America.

Bureaucratic edicts from above, if satisfyingly final and all-encompassing, do hark back to an earlier, conservative age when monarchs ruled by fiat, and freedom was a privilege reserved for an elite few. “We all belong to one great community, and we should act that way” (and no dissent, lest it offend gentler souls) sounds humane and cooperative, but it also exudes the faint smell of fascism.

But isn’t that odor supposed to come from … conservatives?


Posted in: Politics