“Success makes men rigid,
and they tend to exalt stability
over all other virtues;
tired of the effort of willing,
they become fanatics about conservatism.”
~Walter Lippmann
Success makes men rigid and they tend to exalt stability over all the other virtues; tired of the effort of willing they become fanatics about conservatism. Walter Lippmann
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        While I believe basic Conservative principles to be honorable, in the practical world, Conservative theory is based on a rhetorical premise which seems to doom this philosophy to little more than a vain hope. A burp in the timeline of Man’s evolving political realities.
         Conservatism – limited government, restrained Federal spending, traditional marriage, freedom from government intrusion, and all the rest – is built on the assumption that the framers of our Constitution believed, literally, in what they claimed in our Declaration of Independence: that “...All men are created equal.” And there-in lies the flaw. As long as Conservative philosophy clings to this assumption, it is disregarding reality.
         William Buckley held this notion up as an ideal, not as reality. Perhaps in some future time, all men will be created equal – with science-fictional genetic techniques whereby every newborn emerges with equally high endowments of talent, ability and physical advantages. For the epoch we inhabit, however, this is little more than a myth.
         Our society’s development is encumbered by an albatross hanging on its neck. While traditional America and its conservative values shrink, the wards of liberalism grow exponentially. They constitute an unwieldy fiscal and cultural burden which our leaders have been guilty of encouraging.  On its own, this burden cannot change for the better.
        Can anyone make a rational argument for the idea that all men are created equal? Are birth circumstances equal? Are all of us equally gifted with some ideal comeliness? Are we all equally capable of running the decathlon? Are we all endowed with high IQs? Do none have physical, mental, emotional handicaps? Do we each spring from the fairest seed into the fullness of life? Each of these measures – the foundations of personal stature – is far from being equally distributed within our population. Each affects an individual’s potential, perhaps more consequentially they affect societal conditions.
         Perhaps you think Constitutional equality means nothing more than that all men are entitled to equal treatment under the law? Or that all are Constitutionally entitled to equal opportunity? These are legal and moral contracts (theoretical as they may be), and strictly speaking, not entirely what the Framers had in mind. If it had been, Lincoln would not have had to bring the nation to war over slavery, and women would have been voting since day one.
         “Opportunity” is valueless unless and until seized by persons of some ambition. But equality doesn’t exist in ambition either. Large segments of our population, of all races, creeds, gender and backgrounds, have neither the desire nor ambition to grasp opportunity in the way others do as a simple matter of course.
          Many Americans appear to be perfectly content being “albatrossy.” In America’s contemporary culture, professionalism, material wealth and titles are not the only measures of success. But they are what many Conservative elitists appear to measure it by, completely disregarding the inconvenient fact that the kind of personal  independence which they themselves have achieved demands more effort than albatrosses are willing or able to generate.
         If Conservatism is perfectly comfortable with the growing masses of ill-educated Americans and non-citizen immigrants demeaning the nation’s traditions and culture; if conservatives fear to step into the deep waters of this very deep problem; if conservatives are willing to suffer the indignities of cultural mediocrity, then Conservatism is nothing more than another political scam designed to stir your spirit... enough to open your wallet.

          The problem is far too serious and obvious to ignore. But it is ignored, because for decades now, conservative leaders appear cowardly, terrified of leftist propaganda; being called divisive names by the uber liberal PC crowd. Shame on conservative leaders! Here we have Conservatism, arguably the last best hope to save the goodness of our culture, unwilling to confront the facts. Reality. The truth of our time: an ever-growing population of uneducated, street-smart, highly organized in the way ants are, increasingly aggressive and demanding, dependent upon an equally fast-growing centralized government to sustain it. Socially liberal governments are always willing to bankrupt the nations they govern in order to accommodate these demands... in exchange for votes and permanent incumbancy. But the masses will never be set upon a path of self-improvement by such a government; they will merely be sustained at a materialistic level somewhat better than the less demanding masses of the past. Albatrosses demand what they want, but self-betterment is not among the demands. Because that requires something no government can provide; personal drive, ambition, a desire to learn, a willingness to invest one’s time and effort in personal betterment.           Not very different from religious charlatans, the worst of Conservatism manifests itself in opportunists who profess this creed, knowing of the thirst among its own, but doing little other than profiting personally from preaching to the choir through books sales, radio, tv, and all the rest.
        Does anyone really believe the incessant litany of “Conservative” issues will do much to increase Republican support? Or counteract the emotional promises of liberalism? Will any of it correct the eastward course of our nation? Demand – without will – for smaller central government and fiscal restraint are the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard. How can anyone expect a bloated government to reduce and restrain itself!? The government is like a fat guy who keeps promising to go on a diet as soon as he finishes his next six-pack and bag of chips, which only make his stomach grow, which makes him hungrier still. When pressed to deliver on his promise, he can always blame his wife – or Congress – for bringing home the beer and chips.
          Only by acknowledging the fact of man’s unequal creation, unequal ambitions and all the rest; coming to terms with it, and revising its approach to the problem can Conservatism hope to regain cultural tender outside its well-fed constituencies. If stubborn elitist conservative leaders continue to ignore these facts, ugly as they are, Conservatism will never be anything more than a barely tolerated minor philosophy, a career for charlatans, and the target of mockery by the new majorities.
     Is it any wonder that so many, new to America, having sneaked into our nation past the willfully blind eyes of justice, place no value on doing right, respecting our culture and our laws? If you get something for nothing, that’s exactly what you’ll think it’s worth. Nothing. If an albatross didn’t pay for that sidewalk, is it any wonder he will spit on it? If you never revered that desk in the Oval Office, is it any wonder you’ll sit with your feet upon it?

         And so, true Conservatives will be passengers, never captains, on the Ship of State, as it flounders in the uncharted Sargasso Seas of hybrid socialism; a capitalistic economic system dominated by plutocrats, a nation administered by a bloated central government whose leaders are kept in power by increasingly dependent masses to whom it doles out benefits in return for votes, and an education system dominated by propagandists rather than teachers, where PhD’s are as common and about as valuable as the dollar bill. And where only the children of the plutocracy are afforded true education at the most elite halls of learning... those privileged few who can even find the ladder of success in order to climb it.
         Having warned us about the very thing we are now experiencing, I suspect our Founding Fathers would not be shocked by the level to which we have allowed the governance and cultural qualities of this great nation to sink. If Conservatism is ever to be the antidote, it must reformulate its mission so those now hostile to it are able to grasp the genuine goodness, opportunities and hope it can offer.