Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sympathy's for the Devil

“But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. ”

-Bill Murray, Rushmore

I really like the word “epiphany.” I like the idea that knowledge, wisdom, revelation what-have-you can just strike like lightning. My problem is that I don't necessarily agree with it. Something that's been striking me lately is how life tends to move in cycles. The pressures, the gnarly uncomprising facts we have to work around, the truths we extrapolate from the ebb and flow in life tend to build and when they build, they culminate in some truth that we like to think of as an epiphany. The reality is if we stop to think about these things, there's not much that any muse has bequeathed us beyond our ability to discern and interpret.

These things are often much simpler than we like to think. We as Americans like to think that nothing is simple, that every problem must be solved. We're hooked on this legalistic idea of entitlement; we have these rights, we have these abilities and anything that gets in our way is inherently unjust. Life sometimes complicates this and when it does, we think someone should remove these roadblocks. Our society has arrived at a strange moment in its evolution; we don't love freedom anymore. We're “entitled” to it. The fact of the matter is that we're not entitled to a damn thing. This has put an unfamiliar strain on conservatism as a philosophy and as a result, we've become a group of bitterly disappointed romantics, not just because of the outcome of the recent election, the passing of the largest tax hikes in our history, and the disturbing turn our current administration has taken in terms of both media relations and foreign policy. Not to sound too mopey or stereotypical, but our problem is we've become John Gault. We work hard, we love America, we vote, and we get ignored and called crackpots and extremists by unconstitutional government agencies. We don't understand, and we don't understand because have yet to entirely acknowledge a basic truth that liberals have understood for decades, and that is that people are basically selfish.

This probably sounds condescending. Of course conservatives understand that people just plain suck sometimes. However, conservatives also believe wholeheartedly in the ability of people to make up their own minds. People must be free to come to revelation on their own for it to be at all meaningful. This isn't not true, but it's not as true as people would like to think. Our perspectives are built on how information is presented, how it's retained, and the volume of it we encounter. Public opinion is far more malleable than we think, which is a notion that liberals, again, have understood for decades.

Why are conservatives afraid to acknowledge this? Is it because it means that the individual doesn't have the impact we thought he or she might have and consequently, any impact we have? I don't think so. I think it's because it means that the good guys lost. We feel as though trying to do anything but let the truth act on its own is dishonest, because trying to present information in anything but a natural light is a step towards misrepresenting it. Liberalism in America has taken on some disturbing characteristics in the past several years and what makes it even more disturbing is the sheer effectiveness of these tactics. They're organized, centralized, hellbent on taking us down and advancing their own agenda, even at the cost of the American people. As a result, we feel soiled, sinful, looking this truth in the eye and acting on it. We'd feel that, by simply admitting this, we'd be abandoning our principles of self-determination and individualism because we'd be admitting that people need to have things determined for them. We'd be forced to acknowledge the need to organize, centralize and become hellbent ourselves. We're disturbed because we think the only way to win is to adapt the ways of the enemy and in doing so, we'd lose a piece of our souls.

Sorry, conservative America. I'm fresh out of sympathy. I was raised in a thoroughly red state and steeped in a philosophical and religious tradition that has does nothing but espouse personal freedom, so I buy into everything genuinely conservative (from a political standpoint. Social conservatives spend too much time telling me what to do; it gives me the creeps), but we've spent so much time fighting the idea that centralized authority is evil that we've checked every power we ourselves could have taken. Now, big government is here, and we haven't spent a second actual fighting the establishment. We've spent all of our time fighting the idea of establishment, of centralized authority. The problem isn't that we're wrong; the current administration has done nothing but prove us right nearly from day one. The problem is that we've failed to move with this knowledge, to be anything but romantic with it.

It sounds as though I'm reaming conservatism for being ineffectual. Not so; I'm reaming conservatives, not conservatism. We've always known that the best government is one that's nearly non-existant and the economy that works most harmoniously is one that operates entirely unmolested. Congressional Republicans under the Bush administration completely failed to adhere to those principles and soured the goodwill of the American public. There is a price to be paid for selling one's soul.

I know they had help. Congressional and social Democrats ruthlessly promoted their own ends for the sole purpose of expanding their own power base, will take steps to quell any form of rebellion, and will brook no dissent. They played on the will of the American people and propped up a candidate that dealt entirely in Hallmark-card platitudes about change and played on racial guilt to get votes from cultural elitists that still manage to insulate themselves from “diversity.” Their attitude towards the American people and anyone that raises a voice of protest is shockingly insensitive and openly hostile. They inspire dread in us for their intolerance to criticism, and they should. We know where this will lead.

I pose two questions in response. The first should seem obvious at this point. I'm young, so I can't remember that far back, but as long as I've been alive, this is how liberals have always conducted themselves. This brings me to my question—are you surprised? If this is how they've always conducted themselves, then how can we expect them to behave any differently? To do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result each time is, according to Albert Einstein, insane. Just as modern liberals have always understood government to be about power, they've also always understood that politics is like any conflict, armed or otherwise. You do what you must to win and it doesn't matter who you have to step over to do it. Conservatives need to understand this. The traditional conservative finds this tiring and counterproductive to the true mission of government and again, rightfully so. This does not, however, stop liberals from waging politics like war, leaving conservatives a moody, self-pitying lot that spends an equal amount of time licking their wounds as fighting back. So liberals don't play fair. This bring me to my next question: so what? No, we shouldn't have to look at it like this, no, we shouldn't have to sacrifice the true focus of this enterprise if only to be successful. This is irrelevant. What happened is what happened, so here's my proposed solution--deal with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment