Friday, May 03, 2013

Conservatives, and Conservatives

The term "conservative" is used to describe at least two very different worldviews and types of people.

One common world view called conservative is an inclination to defer to any authority in the world, whether in fact legitimate or not.  The only guiding principle is to honor whatever the world considers honorable, and to defer to whomever wears the mantle of respectability.  Thus they're all for war and every advantage to big business.  It's hard to pin them down on exactly why, since both are highly disruptive to society in all sorts of unpredictable ways.  And that's why the American founders, who were very conservative men, greatly distrusted both. These same folks think it's wonderful to make kids pledge allegiance to the flag just because that's what people do, even if every word is a brazen lie - not at all worried about teaching the frame of mind that accepts any nonsense without examining it, just because the crowd around is adopting it.  But is there anything conservative about such an unquestioning lemming mentality, disposed to rush into any majority fashion anywhere, questioning nothing?

 Another sort of conservative is represented by G.K. Chesterton's remark that before a conservative knocks down a wall, he wants to know why someone put it up.  The software business teaches you to think that way, and so do most other engineering disciplines.  "Change is bad," the NASA engineers say, and that's the voice of hard-won experience.
 
These sorts of conservatives are suspicious of antibiotics and vaccines, willing to be persuaded, but cautious.  We are against subjecting people to thousands of chemicals like bisphenol-A that have never been assessed for safety before being loosed upon us.  We don't think that innovations like homosexual "marriage" - nothing imagined anywhere before the last 30 years or so - are likely to end well.  And the exciting results of better living through chemistry - which once seemed such a bright promise - and which are now causing endocrine disruption, learning disabilities, obesity, and all sorts of other little understood plagues, illustrate our point. 

Thoughtless adherence to tradition is stupid: I'm reminded of the lady that lopped off the two ends of the ham before putting it in the pan to bake it, who when asked, said that's what her mother did, who in turn said that's what her mother taught her.  And grandma explained that she had to do it because her pan was too short.

Tradition needs to be questioned, all the time.  But conservatives know that tradition deserves to be given the chance to answer, and that even if there is a better way, sometimes the cost of making it better isn't worth the damage to get the change done.

Finally, when really radical change is called for, only conservatives can be trusted to do it.  Who would you trust to decide whether you really need a dangerous but needed surgery - a guy who never saw a nose job he didn't want to do, or a guy who abhors useless cutting?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand by the choice to let my son learn the pledges to flag or sing the banner song. I believe it was more important that he learn parallel play and rhythm patterns etc... I can and do extract the precious from the vile asap. I've learned a lot more then I wanted to by ridding my backyard of the weed called "Mexican thistle'. I tried poisoning it, rototilling it, torching it. I've root pulled it up. Trouble is my ground was covered in the flower (a horrible nasty little thorn) so removing the seeds (the thorns) before they develop another plant is truly impossible.. If you don't believe me I'd LOVE to watch anybody try. Its work for a diligent farmer for sure. What I'm getting at is the only way to get rid of the thorny weed is one at a time when its in bloom. When the flower is pretty upon it. The little yellow flower becomes a nasty thorn. One has to push deep with the shovel and hand pick up every weed plant. and toss it. they are usually growing among everything else so you have to be careful but also toss out other good plants to get rid of the thorn baring ones. It is so important to remove the weed correctly. The poison kills everything except the weeds. the fire killed only the visible plant. the rooting before the flower made it a half-ass job because the weed itself was week and would break apart and make it impossible to remove entirety. This meant this summer I had to pay close attention to timing of the flower. timing of maturity of the weed. No matter how hot the sun on us. If I want to get rid of the bastards I had to attack with knowledge. I had till wait till the right time. If I want grass for my kids o play on without getting stuck. I have to do the work of removing the bastards. I'm using the thorns to relate to what is happening psychologically in my child's head s he learns salutations and pledges. Pretty yellow flowers turned into horrid, horrid thorns. I didn't plant the Weeds in my 1/2 acre. I think they got blown over by other unattended fields from all over. But while I've been away, for various good reason, the weeds have grown. I talk to GOD while laboring to remove the thorns and their flowering plants. I'm reminded to let the good and bad grow up together to save the good. If I had let my other son have more fun learning pledges instead of assaulting his young psyche with walls maybe he'd a been more receptive to learning other things. I didn't know I was a conservative till reading your words.

7/17/2013 8:35 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

I don't see the point of this comment. Teaching kids that it's great to utter lies does not accord well with what Jesus said - that if we abide in his word, we shall be his disciples indeed, and we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free.

I don't think anyone can imagine Jesus putting his hand on his heart and affirming that any kingdom of this world affords anyone "liberty and justice for all." In view of how the world really is, it's an obscenity, and to teach a kid that hiding his eyes from injustice in that way is a good thing, or "fun," is to make him stumble. Jesus had some things to say about people who make little kids stumble.

7/17/2013 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I better go reread what you've written. Maybe I just wanted to share so much about what I've learned behind these weeds I thought it applied to the anxiety regarding planting things in the hearts of children. yeah, my communication written or even spoken is rough on others. What I am saying is teaching them to say a pledge is more then the words. just like teaching them ring around the Rosie..I never knew it was about a plague when I was a child. Only knew I had a great time going round and round with my new friends and then falling down. it was a social good thing. I'm saying the same can be true of learning the pledge. it was for me. Maybe just to me though. I didn't process verbal language the same way others did. so maybe I'm less concerned about teaching the pledge or patriotic songs then I ought. My kids all have been taught these things and they don't have any desire to praise the country or the flag. Unless they are peer pressured into it, and that happens any and everywhere. this is why I said the thorns were not planted by me but I have to tend them. They were blown here. its noose fault as far as I can tell. I just have to watch to see they don't hurt overrun the yard. I believe I've learned it is impossible to protect people, plants, life from bad things.
Maybe I don't understand your point either. Judy

7/17/2013 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just asked both my 6th graders to tell me what they thought about the pledge of allegiance. I said just tell me anything you think, what it means to you. They both said "I don't get it, what's the point. You just say it over and over again..I don't get it" They pretty much both said exactly that. One of them has a teacher that asks them to say it everyday, the others teacher didn't. I almost went into it further with them by asking them do you know what your saying and such. But I stopped myself because I thought Id then be drawing attention to something and therefore attracting them to it. Like forbidden fruit. I don't mind at all if you come teach us all about what's wrong with speaking lies. I don't think I ought to do this with them. peter, I have wondered so many times in my life; is my heart so filthy. I think so, Am I dead now? I wonder. I ask GOD everyday to please revive me because I can tell I am disconnected somewhere. That is why I still try to talk about Jesus and write on your board and listen and read and pray. That is why I say, if you are concerned the kids are sinning by saying the pledge, come teach us all.
I'm not trying to be lazy or a willful sinner. If you believe otherwise I don't mind you teaching here..never have.
I will have boys read your words with me. I think that will be least I can do to safely open up this topic in their minds.

7/17/2013 7:38 PM  

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