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Contempt for Conservatives
by J. Thomas Lowry
9 November 2003

Conservatives may not all agree with President Bush, but that doesn't mean they are not conservative, nor that any particular type of conservative is the only correct one. Conservatives need to unite, not attack each other.


 

Along the way, some have substituted the notion of being a conservative
with toeing the line of the present administration. This is
regrettable because it reveals a dearth of profundity on behalf of the
unfortunate "conservative." A conservative will, must, be objective
and willing to be critical of anyone who steps outside of the
principles of conservative thought. Republican does not mean
conservative anymore than Democrat implies intelligence. A
conservative is more likely to vote Republican, but not out of false
loyalty, but because the opposite is frightful. Just the same,
thoughtful conservatives might vote the other way if the Republican has
strayed from conservative principles.

The word conservative, ever murky, is becoming more so because it has
been hijacked by those who find it useful. This author supported the
war with Iraq, but many conservatives did not because they believe that
foreign entanglements mean new problems. Yet, to some laggard, phony
conservatives, the conservative objectors are hailed as traitors, or
not being patriotic. This is a simple-minded view originating from a
lack of depth of understanding of conservatism. In essence, this is
hijacked conservatism.

It was with great disappointment where I read that those conservatives
not in line with the President are not conservative at all. Really?
By what measure and by what authority? This author had problems with
several associates who opposed the war, but was able to understand that
they are true conservatives despite this issue. Yet, if one is not
cloaked in Red, White, and Blue, is one a traitor. In some instances,
yes! We see liberals who delight in the killing of our own troops.
That is nothing short of an abomination. Yet despite a conservatives
opposition to the war, they would never think of cheering on the enemy,
or saying things to harm our troops. Instead they make it their cause
to disagree with the President, which is fine. It is not treason.

George W. Bush is not a King, nor the savior. He can, has, and will
make mistakes. Conservatives largely support him, but not out of blind
devotion. Thoughtful conservatives will take each decision made and
critique it. Conservatives are a group who distrusts government, so
why would they suddenly turn the other way? William Buckley once said,
"We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how
very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the
minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down." It
is a sad state when some conservatives, within their own like-minded peers have to do just that and are treated with contempt.

Lest one think that this is a treatise on the ills of the current
administration, perish the thought. We have a President who is more
conservative than the last two Presidents, a step upward. This does
not remove him, nor his policy from scrutiny, anymore than a pilot
should receive a license to fly and never be scrutinized again. It is
the duty of every American to look hard at policy and not be slaves to
parties or slogans.

Conservatives fought long and hard to establish a foothold in the 20th
Century. It is unwise to suffer the fate of liberalism, but the same
thing can happen to popular conservatism. By drawing a box, throwing
everyone inside, and citing that these are the "only" conservatives who
have an opinion, there will be a rupture of conservatism and it will
sink ignominiously. Let us instead unite, sometimes disagreeing, but
doing so in a civil manner. Save the diatribe for the other side.


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