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"But—I'm a Conservative!"

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posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 01:05 PM
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The following is an article wrote in ‘The Atlantic’ from April 1940 by Peter Vierick. At a time when Conservatives were being disparaged, and he was trying to distance himself from his National Socialist father, Mr. Vierick took up the pen to elaborate on a vision of Conservative that he had hoped would restore sanity to this country and the political debate. Instead of joining the bandwagon of those he claimed never learned the lesson of 1929 in their call for a return to conservatism more rigid than the old guard Republicans; he wanted a more tradition based and pragmatic conservatism.

Mr. Vierick broke his article down into five parts, I will extract one paragraph from four of the five parts but I still encourage you to read the entire article it is basically pointless to continue forward without reading the whole article (plus it is a very good read).


Revolt now has its hierarchy of saints, including such divergent apostles of Progress as the editors of the Nation and of the New Masses. It has its elaborate, formalized incantations, its holy slogans. Behind much of it today lies the smug convention that our only alternative to fascist terror is Marxism. Marxism means many things. I revolt against its 'revolt' primarily for its materialistic assault on all our non-economic values of the spirit. Economic values alone make life possible, but the moral, aesthetic, and intellectual values alone make it worth living.
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Soft-hearted liberals are too ready to say that a lawbreaker 'means well,' that his corruption is due to his social environment and bad companions; they talk too much about his honest fanaticism, his honest non-awareness of Law. Today such qualification leads to overemphasis of the more irrelevant side of the question: the personal side. Too often it is assumed that the 'have-not' is automatically exempt from all eternal laws of humanity, whether it be a 'have-not' nation or economic class or individual. We who are old-fashioned enough to call a crime a crime are labeled as warmongers or hypocrites or dupes of propaganda. Obviously the more relevant question is simply whether or not the legal way is being violated. In fact, those few groups strong enough to carry off a violent revolution successfully are also (almost invariably) strong enough to change the rules legally to fit their new game.
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During the nineteenth century, all external standards and absolutes were one by one sacrificed at the altar of dynamic 'Life.' A pseudo-Darwinian war of all against all, for survival of the most ferocious or most lucky, becomes exalted as a healthy expression of dynamic Life-force. I suggest coining 'dynamism' as the label for this new, unchristian religion, this cult of power, instinct, blind change, blind Life. Dynamism means energy and, change for their own sake. It means playing the grand man-of-action merely for action's sake, the deification of such men-of-action as Fuhrers. Among dynamism's current incarnations is the unrestrained egoism of persons, nations, and classes. Gangsterism becomes a heroic romantic duty.
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He believes in majority rule for America, but never majority dictatorship. Instead, he believes in the absolute constitutional and human rights of minorities, whether share-croppers or millionaires, whether economic, religious, or racial. He will stubbornly insist that corrupt means betray even the worthiest ends. Karl Marx's disciples would discredit our constitutional and judicial checks merely because irresponsible finance can abuse them. That is like blaming the abused glass; it tackles the wrong cause of the evil. The fact that wealthy Wall Street or radical Norman Thomas or anybody else happens to benefit from free speech does not automatically make free speech vicious.


I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Vierick, we must not worry ourselves with –isms but instead with what will continue our heritage, tradition, and nation while still seeking adequate progress. We must not create our own intellectual prison from which we cannot escape without ruining ourselves. Times do call for changes and we must answer that call because a people without the ability to change are also without the ability to preserve. When we seek the answer to today’s challenges we should not do so alone but with the guiding spirit of the ages that speak to us from the hallow grounds of our forefathers.

To me it seems impossible that we can synthesize a reverence towards Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill with that of Jesus Christ and Saint Thomas Aquinas, two focus upon the development of materialist based economics and the other two despised such thinking, instead advocating transcendental values. Conservatism has always stood for organic unity and rooted liberty, our modern Conservatives preach Manchester School Liberalism which tramples upon organic unity in favor of atomized society and a hysterical nationalism that runs roughshod over the constitution with just a faint taste of danger which usually results from paranoia. They are either disciples of Murray Rothbard or Joseph McCarthy.

Source


edit on 12/8/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 01:28 PM
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I promise to work through your source material, croos my heart and hope to get athlete's foot. But don't give up on Adam Smith too quickly. (I'm guessing you were using his name as an archetype of the cold-hearted, practical, productive, conservative.)

Please remember his The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It starts out with:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion we feel for the misery of others, when we either see it, or are made to conceive it in a very lively manner. That we often derive sorrow from the sorrows of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous or the humane, though they perhaps may feel it with the most exquisite sensibility.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


I do not mean to disparage the man himself but rather his creation and those who follow(ed) it like a religion.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 01:37 PM
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reply to post by Misoir
 

Dear Misoir,

You are absolutely right to disparage it on those terms. I'm not offended. But I do hate this black and white, toneless way of communicating. Part of Heaven, if I ever get there, will be talking face to face with people like you and a couple of dozen other ATSers.

You're right, Smith gave us a guide to thinking, not a replacement for it.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 01:44 PM
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Freedom of thought we must never restrict in America. Conduct and action we can and must restrict. Instead of 'progressive education' our democratic school system must instill, from kindergarten on, the necessity of limiting all human conduct and instinct by objective Law. Only so can we learn, the decent rules of the game as an unbreakable habit. By 'Law' I do not mean all existing laws. All are not necessarily good. By 'Law' I mean the legal way as a way to whatever goals we may seek; I mean it as a way of living. This way is necessarily freedom's prerequisite. In this sense, Law must tread pitilessly upon individuals, nations, classes. It must trample with callous and sublime indifference upon their economic interests yes, even their economic interests- and their 'healthy instincts of the race.'


From the Atlantic article.

Humans, as short lived and short sighted as we are, tend to view history as a rush of water flowing past. We can barley discern a single ripple, let alone understand the motion of all the molecules in the flood. 1940 is a past my generation (I'm 28) can barely comprehend. A world torn by global war, living in a nation almost entirely against fighting in said war. Hitler using his perverse ideals of racial purity and segregation as totems to hide behind. Science and technology, infants with futures too cloudy to envision, coming soon upon atom bombs and computers...and here, a precocious youth writing that conservatism is the only way out.

There is no evil in common sense and no damage in critical thinking. We should be teaching our youth about law, about the Constitution and it's preeminent importance to our way of life. We should also, however, teach our children to think for themselves and give them the tools to real knowledge. Extolling virtues unrelated to a 21st century world does not give them a fighting chance in the future.

Some of us sit back and pray for a return of the "good ol' days"-but they are a myth as much as Atlantis or Icarus...Icarus who in the ultimate conservative catchall, defied his father and lost everything. The struggles of men and women in this world, a world were people are loosening the bounds of Colonialism, racism, and male dominated thinking; are coming to a watershed moment: Freedom as a standard of living, not a far off dream. Self determination, not subservience; a world that just might make it into the 22nd century if we teach our children progressive values. Conservatism is not cultural conservation, it is stagnation.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 01:52 PM
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Current Congressional investigations go too far in smearing duped fellow travelers with the communist brush. It is bad morals and bad strategy to allow red-baiting to pass into liberal-baiting and labor-baiting. That only drives labor and the uncrushable mass of liberal voters into a revolutionary camp. Instead, we must offer them our own camp as freedom's refuge from the communism with which they flirted so disastrously. For both decency and strategy, conservatives should repudiate our liberal-baiting rabble rousers unambiguously, be they eloquent Senators or cheap sensational journalists.


Very well written. This passage stood out, but the paper is exceptional throughout.
Any "individual" should embrace conservatism. True conservatism.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by NuminousCosmos
 


That is the fundamental difference among people in the West that truly exemplifies the Right-Left thinking. We perceive the world in two entirely different ways based on a type of thinking which in part we define while simultaneously it defines us. I do not see Conservatism as stagnation of any sort but a continuation within the present of those lessons learned and values inherited from the past, interpreted in a modern sense to fit our particular era. They guide us not destroy us, it is like a person voluntarily rejecting all that he has learned in life to start over, that is not rational to me, we are guided by the past as a collective entity just as a human is guided by his/her past as an individual entity.

Tradition, culture, and morality are the collection of lessons learned, ideas stripped to their functional form, and people coming together around this light that is our inherited wisdom like coming to a camp fire on a cold winter night. We rush to our own assumptions, design for ourselves ‘right and wrong’ that has no higher purpose than what our mind can functionally stitch together, often for personal convenience, and intentionally subvert established norms as though they are decayed relics of the past left to collect dust in the trash bin of history.

All that we are is shaped by forces outside of ourselves, from the ancestral ties to responsibilities we have with friends, family, children, business partners, etc… These come together and function only if there is a guiding principle which transcends individual consciousness, that which does not have a root in any individual reason but in a transcendent universal truth. From this common understanding we play out our roles in this life with honor and dignity knowing that there is something holding us together, but without this guide through the wilderness we will become alienated vessels. To me Conservatism is the protection and continuation of that transcendent truth which holds us together and guides us.

Part of our problem is the replacement of a Masculine society with a Feminine one which advocates relativism, passivism, pessimism, equality, and envy. Families have long been dominated by the male because it then transports itself within the hierarchy into society; the social roles that are played out without question, that of Father, Mother, and Child, are not rules you read on a paper and sign like a contract. It is a non-verbal arrangement which is established in sentiment and fraternity, not equality. In a Maternal hierarchy of the family the roles become distorted as equality of all becomes a legitimate goal, thus distorting the natural hierarchical structure of the family which then replicates itself in society at-large.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 02:31 PM
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reply to post by Misoir
 


I've heard you mention this natural hierarchy concept before. What is a natural hierarchy? Do we assume that humans must adhere to the societal norms of the last thousand years, or the previous, or the millennium before that? How do we know which branch to follow? In many cultures and points through our evolution, matriarchal societies developed, grew, and prospered. The long march of time saw some of these cultures disappear. Some still persist. Is this bad? To be clear, I do not believe that any gender should have dominance, we should shoulder the burden of culture equally. However, who decides what we adhere to now?

Progression is forward growth, adopting new ideas that either enhance the old, or replace outdated models of thought. Without progress, we would still have powerful monarchies and castes devoted to upholding a ruler 'anointed' by God-ordained by genetics, and propped up on the backs of serfs. I personally believe we are better off in our Western pseudo-democracy, where at least the idea of merit and provenience through ability exists.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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reply to post by NuminousCosmos
 

This is not my debate, but did you really read the article?
Your "progressive" vision sounds very confusing to me. If you don't recognize a "natural" hierarchical order, that of say, the physical superiority of a man over a woman, or the emotional superiority of a woman (only gender to be able to give birth btw), then I believe you will forever be lost in ideological "mumbo jumbo", false empowerment doctrines.
Your arguments seem to be the same, tired progressive assertions that don't address the topic at hand, that is, what was so damn offensive about being conservative as defined in THIS article?
Thanks.



posted on Dec, 8 2011 @ 05:32 PM
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Originally posted by SurrealisticPillow
reply to post by NuminousCosmos
 

This is not my debate, but did you really read the article?
Your "progressive" vision sounds very confusing to me. If you don't recognize a "natural" hierarchical order, that of say, the physical superiority of a man over a woman, or the emotional superiority of a woman (only gender to be able to give birth btw), then I believe you will forever be lost in ideological "mumbo jumbo", false empowerment doctrines.
Your arguments seem to be the same, tired progressive assertions that don't address the topic at hand, that is, what was so damn offensive about being conservative as defined in THIS article?
Thanks.


I don't understand where the animosity is coming from here, but I was expressing my point of view as eloquently as I can. I admire good writing, which I feel Misoir has. I guess it might've been easier to do like you have done, and make unfounded assumptions and insults about my beliefs. Oh well, maybe next time.




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