July 19, 2010
A preference in legs is no small disagreement?
As a longtime conservative, I believe in building coalitions. We can't agree on everything, and it doesn't help the cause to concentrate on areas of disagreement.So says Robert Knight in a Washington Times editorial which concentrates on an area of disagreement on which I'd love not to concentrate.
In fact, I would so love not to concentrate on this particular area of disagreement that I will not even say what it is. I'll just keep it in the closet. But even though I'd love it if it became as irrelevant as I think it is, Robert Knight thinks it is highly relevant. So relevant and so important that he believes it constitutes one of the three legs of the conservative "stool":
There's no law against changing one's mind, but honesty should impel these former conservatives to recast their affiliation if they abandon a paramount conservative value and embrace a paramount plank of the left. The conservative movement - and the nation - prospers when it honors all three vital legs of the stool: traditional values, lower taxes (less government) and national security. If I woke up one day and suddenly began agitating for higher taxes and bigger government, I wouldn't be surprised if other conservatives saw that as a deal breaker. And if I joined a group advocating higher taxes, well, that would seal it.Well, clearly, then, if Knight is right, I don't have a reliable conservative stool to sit on, because I don't like Knight's version of traditional values. I don't share his view of tradition, which I think is basically a modern rehash of 1930s Hays Code morality. I prefer the freer, more fun, pre-code tradition. The traditional values of Mae West.
Hmmm... What she would say about my "two-legged stool," I do not know.
Being able to sit on a two-legged conservative stool is quite a balancing act, if I can pull it off. But the thing is, I never really laid much claim to being a conservative. (In fact, I've lost count of the number of times I've specifically said I was not!) Is there any law that says I have to be? Sure, most of the online political tests I've taken show that I'm a conservative, but I'm also a libertarian. To Knight's "as a longtime conservative, I believe in building coalitions," I can just as easily say "As a longtime libertarian, I believe in building coalitions." And I agree with Knight that it doesn't help the cause to concentrate on areas of disagreement.
So rather than attack Robert Knight's traditional leg, I'll just say that I prefer Mae West's and not get into the details.
AFTERTHOUGHT: To put it simply (and a bit less facetiously), I think this country has a multiplicity of traditional values. They result from our tradition of freedom.
To be blunt, saying "FUCK YOU!" to whoever would tell us what to do is as American as apple pie.
(The Democrats have crossed the FUCK YOU line. Republicans would be wise not to do the same.)
posted by Eric on 07.19.10 at 11:57 AM
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