My dad, a Jew, loved the spectacle of it all. (The Vatican, he said, was the last institution that “really knows how to dress.”) From what he could tell, he liked this new pope too. “We need more rocks in the river,” my dad explained. What he meant was that change comes so fast, in such a relentless torrent, that we need people and things that stand up to it and offer respite from the current.I loved the literary quality of the expression “more rocks in the river,” even though the imagery doesn’t quite convey what my dad really believed. Dad was a conservative, properly understood. By that I mean he didn’t think conservatism was merely an act of passive and futile defiance against what Shakespeare called “devouring time.” Unlike human institutions, the rocks do not fight the devouring river of time, it just seems like they do. My dad believed that conservatism was an affirmative act, a choice of prudence and will. In the cacophony of perpetual change, the conservative selects the notes worth savoring and repeats them for others to hear and, hopefully, appreciate.I really like that. An affirmative act, a choice of prudence and will, of selecting the notes worth savoring and repeating them for others to hear. If more who would resist the worst elements of this post-liberal progressive juggernaut ceased with the circular firing squad and reflected on this, I think there could be hope in maintaining the best of what conservative should really mean when people hear the term.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
The way conservative should sound
Sometimes conservatives and conservatism get confused. One of the triumphs of the progressive movement has been to define conservatism by the worst conservatives, while shielding liberalism from the character flaws of its adherents As a result, the message of just what conservatism is supposed to be can get lost in the din of various progressive attacks, as well as various non-progressive oriented individuals insisting that they are the pure conservatives and it's everyone else's fault. But in reading a link that a reader sent me, to an article by Jonah Goldberg, I stumbled across one of the best, and quite frankly beautiful, expositions of conservatism and what it's supposed to be: