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.

This is no small disagreement.

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


I see what you mean about keeping the issue closeted.

I can see that keeping certain things closeted in public might assist in keeping public order. (don't scare the horses) But how do you police people who are nominally in private?

I do see why conservatives hate privacy so much. It is not just Roe.

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 12:13 PM

From what I see a distinction between the Republicans and the Tea Party is that the TP has replaced the "traditional values" leg with a more libertarian "individual rights" stance. Hopefully the establishment Republicans will wake up and take notice.

Southern Man   ·  July 19, 2010 12:41 PM

As Mae West would say, "The less I say, the more I mean."

Eric Scheie   ·  July 19, 2010 1:54 PM

It's funny how often people who want to "compromise" and say, "It's not that important" want you to compromise and agree with their position.

The gov't should not be involved in personal issues, that should be the conservative position.

Thinking the Judeo-Christian ethic is a good does not mean you believe in God.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
If I were gay I would want others to respect that.
I'm not sure why that's so wrong.

I wish someone had asked Jesus about being gay or that they had written it down if the question was asked.

I'm sure the answer would have been something about how they're not hurting you so leave them alone.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.

Veeshir   ·  July 20, 2010 12:57 PM

Post a comment

April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits