It was in the Badlands of North Dakota that Theodore Roosevelt found himself. The influence of those rugged and vigorous Americans living the frontier life are what helped him shed his Eastern snobbery and intellectual elitism, this practical lifestyle defined the balance between his mind and spirit. It was this place that helped him become President.
This was the inspiration for the name of this particular blog and it is the place that Conservatives need to go into self-imposed spiritual exile, until they understand who they are.
How much does this mean to the average person? Not much. With the everyday conundrums we face things such as political thought and philosophy seem like a game for college professors, politicians, activists, and entertainers. Who has the time? Work, kids, family, jobs, etc. it all builds up and we filter out issues that directly effect our lives.
Problem is if you don't understand then how will you know the difference between a true leader and some glamorous Hollywood/Facebook/American Idol creation? How will you recognize someone who wants to jam some far right-wing or far left-wing agenda down your throat and then the generations behind us suffer. Whether you want to think about it or not we have a responsibility to them and what we do now effects history. Don't believe me? Pick up a book and read, then call me a liar.
Then there is the non-voting part of the electorate with their daily cop-out, "It doesn't matter how I vote, nothing will change, they are all the same." I used to believe that, until I started understanding politics and political thought from a layman's viewpoint. It showed me that attitude is bullshit.
In this wasteland of coming Progressiveness, cousins to the Socialist, there must be a counter balance that represents the average American, and it sure as hell isn't the Republican Party. This state of mind is known as "Conservatism."
These are the 10 principles of Conservatism, as presented by Russell Kirk, and explained in my words.
1) Men and nations are governed by moral laws; and those laws have their origin in a wisdom that is more than human—in divine justice. As Conservatives we have an obligation to our fellow human beings, morally and ethically, as ordained by God. It is imperative that we tap our wisdom as well as our intellects to recognize and protect our right of liberty, and more importantly, the rights of those who cannot protect themselves. This does not mean special interest groups or so called minorities. Within a true Conservative's world there are just human beings with certain natural rights.
2) Variety and diversity are the characteristics of a high civilization.-
Egalitarianism/Socialism/Progressiveness destroys the vigorous existence that is truly American. The Conservative resists this egalitarian push with every ounce of their being, recognizing a diverse society is the key to its survival. A cookie cutter culture is doomed to stagnation and eventual destruction. Du Tocqueville described this best, "Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."
3) Justice means that every man and every woman have the right to what is their own—to the things best suited to their own nature, to the rewards of their ability and integrity, to their property and their personality. In other words, we all have a ceiling that we can rise to because of personal limitations. However, we all have equal rights under the law, not equal things. This concept drives dumbshit Socialists and Progressives up a wall.
4) Property and freedom are inseparably connected; economic leveling is not economic progress. Property defines a person's stake in life. Besides family, this gives us a reason to work hard and better ourselves. As the old saying goes,"Carpe Diem."
5) Power is full of danger; therefore the good state is one in which power is checked and balanced, restricted by sound constitutions and customs. Look at the present state of politics in America concerning the Progressive/Socialists rise or even when the Republicans held the majority in Congress and the Presidency. Those two situations should explain this concept fairly adequately.
6) The past is a great storehouse of wisdom. Burke said, “the individual is foolish, but the species is wise.” Odds are when a situation arises, there is something in the past that was similar and can give us a starting point to finding a solution. But this inspiration must be studied with pragmatism, if it is not you can repeat debacles such as FDR's New Deal, George Bush's reasons for going to war in Iraq, or Jimmy Carter's Presidency as a whole.
7) Modern society urgently needs true community: and true community is a world away from collectivism. A Conservative is highly-charitable with time, effort, and when needed, money. True community is driven by love of neighbor not compulsory government collectivism . Local governments, Churches, volunteer organizations, etc. are the answer, not forced Bolshevism.
8) In the affairs of nations, the American conservative feels that his country ought to set an example to the world, but ought not to try to remake the world in its image. It is an absolute mistake to think we can remake the world in our image. Whether it be through cultural imperialism or outright military effort. All we can do inspire with our example. This is not to say we should adopt the flawed paleo-conservative model of isolationism. However, we should recognize our own diversity of thought extends to the rest of the world. As much as we do not want European politics or Islamic values forced upon us, we should extend the same courtesy. There are exceptions; when threatening the liberty of this nation, we have a right, duty, and obligation to blast any despotic maniac or group back to hell with every weapon in our arsenal.
9) Men and women are not perfectible, conservatives know; and neither are political institutions. Only a myopic twit, like a Progressive/Socialist thinks that government is the end all be all for solving the woes of humanity. Inevitably, it is still occupied by flawed humans who will make horrible decisions. This rings true for a true Democratic state as well. This is why it is so important that we look to history for our lessons and generate a practical solution that is well thought out with wisdom and intelligence. We may not be able to create heaven on earth, but as Kirk said, "We can create hell."
10) Change and reform, conservatives are convinced, are not identical: moral and political innovation can be destructive as well as beneficial. Change is not a bad thing as long as it endeavors to look to the past for lessons and is based upon time tested traditions. Our formula has been successful for many years and it was not until we sunk into excess that we became flawed. Now we are at the brink of excess yet again, when will we learn?
Kirk explained the problems with our society in the end of his essay, "The Essence of Conservatism" the best. "For the radical collectivism of our age is fiercely hostile to any other authority: modern radicalism detests religious faith, private virtue, traditional personality, and the life of simple satisfactions. Everything worth conserving is menaced in our generation. Mere unthinking negative opposition to the current of events, clutching in despair at what we still retain, will not suffice in this age. A conservatism of instinct must be reinforced by a conservatism of thought and imagination." Strangely enough this was written in the 50's and yet it applies now more than ever.
As Conservatives, until we understand and live these principles we will be in self imposed exile in the political and philosophical Badlands. If and when we re-adopt these basic precepts we will be able to return to positions of leadership, until then we do not deserve them.