There seems to be a strange assumption from those on the Left, that anything which deviates from their consensus is inherently wrong, and that if only people could simply think as they do the world would be a better place. This intellectual snobbery would be bad enough on its own, but by virtue of the frightening energy that is so intrinsic to Left-wing activism, their homogeneous and consensus view of the world permeates through society.
This reduction of the world into simple maxims of good and evil, right and wrong, is not healthy for the human mind, and not conducive to the struggle for a more free and just society for all.
So, is Conservatism the answer? Well, a definition of the term is essential. For by our very nature on the right, we possess no Gospel on which to fall back: our views are our own, and we shape them through the process of logical and rational analysis. As William F. Buckley, Jr. put it, “it is the chronic failure of liberalism that it obliges circumstance – because it has an inadequate discriminatory apparatus that might cause it to take any other course.”
The problem with Conservatism then is our intransigency, our desire to fully appraise the situation before we act. But Conservatism must insist that while the will of man is limited in what it can do, it can do enough to make over the face of the world; and the question we must face is this: What shape should the world take given modern realties? Freedom, individuality, the sense of community, the sanctity of the family, the supremacy of the conscience, the spiritual view of life – can these verities be assimilated into a world of continual technological advancement?
These are values that any thinking person seriously interested in the pursuit of a better society should tell you they value so dearly, and miss even more. And these values and principles are intrinsic to the Conservative cause; it is to the achievement of these by which we disagree.
And how are these values to be achieved? Not by the demagogue privateering the Conservative name for his own advancements, and certainly not by the leader with so little principle as to have his own opinions on matters and not those dictated to him from the Labour pulpit. And any alternative party on the Right in this country is almost certainly demagogical. Alas, however, we must face the realities of our democratic system which we value so dearly, and accept that we vote for parties, not individuals (despite the continuing Americanisation of our media).
The Conservative Party itself has been blown off course by the pervasive influence of that tempestuous energy of the Left, but it is only through those virtues of temperance and fortitude that we might steer the party back; and in doing so navigate that country we hold so dear back to its necessary place. For, as Burke said so neatly, “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.”
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