Astute readers of this page or my books know that I have too many incompatible views on religion, gays and many other subjects to be accurately labeled a conservative. Thus I do not write here in defense of conservatism, which has flaws that Chelan Mirror Editor Les Bowen has recently enumerated to varying degrees of legitimacy.
I’d only offer the suggestion that the fatal Achilles heel in Les’ glowing hubris over liberalism is his implication that all change is progress, ergo all who oppose even reckless, poorly considered change are politically ignorant clutter in the way of civilization’s advance.
Despite the historical reality that no communist nation has ever prospered anywhere near leading capitalist countries, communism was once a change that a great many American liberals thought was progress.&#160;Some still do.
Socialism is a change to America that numerous liberals today regard as progress, yet one need only look at Greece, Spain, Portugal (and soon probably more of Europe) for the havoc to which socialism inevitably leads.
Liberals like to take credit for freeing the slaves yet they pretend away the reality that, while the black American’s body was freed in 1865, largely through the death and sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of white, conservative soldiers, the white liberal has yet to free the collective black American’s soul from entitlement dependency and its associated perennial poverty. The modern slaver eschews chains and whips for more effective, will-crushing, liberal paternalism.
Most liberals oppose the change of a convicted killer’s life to dead, yet most also excuse the wholesale extermination of millions of wholly innocent fetal infants a year, something those live, in-utero humans (53% of whom are nascent women) probably wouldn’t quite appreciate the progress in.
Liberals have overwhelmingly dominated American education since the 1960s, and they have made countless changes in the name of progress, yet “Correcting for important biases… the true high school graduation rate is substantially lower than [even] the official rate issued by the National Center for Educational Statistics; it has been declining over the past 40 years.” (U. Of Chicago/American Bar Foundation paper #3216. Moreover, American educational prowess in math and science has dropped shamefully, and the rate of male college applicants has plummeted.
While the American high school graduation rate has descended to “stagnate at 70%,” South Korea, with its much more conservative educational attitudes and, non-union education system, has risen from a international academic backwater to world admired status, graduating “96%.” (Seattle School Board president Michael DeBell, Seattle Times, May 8th, 2010).
War is the final stage of diplomacy, a human tragedy that will always be with us on some level until no one cares about anything strongly enough to defend it when push comes to shove. Quintessential liberal Neville Chamberlain has come to characterize the standard liberal appeasement approach to our avowed enemies, well intended, but hopelessly naive and self-focused.
Ergo, WWII was for many liberals “Mr. Roosevelt’s War.” The Vietnam war was especially unpopular with liberals as the draft meant universal service in uniform, a reticence not nearly so evident with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars which are fought only by volunteers who are “23 to 1 conservatives” (Thomas Ricks, WSJ via Arizona Republic).
Not all change leads to progress, and he who preserves what works better serves civilization every bit as much he who is knee-jerk addicted to change for its own sake.
The problem for America, freedom and democracy, though, is neither liberalism nor conservatism, but rather the dirty, clubby political bigotry that drives us into such self-obsessed, opposing gangs like racial polarization in prisons. This worsening political Balkanization and the self-superior arrogance it engenders are destructive. They hurry us to wars, they make the wars more costly in lives, time and money, and they hobble legitimate social progress.
America – our country – is under attack on an unprecedented level by radical Islam, rogue states, economic decay, ecological pressures, the proliferation of WMD technology, the demands of assuring adequate health care, and coping with the calamity of runaway illegal immigration.
And that’s the short list.
I submit to you that we have not the luxury of concerning ourselves, much less congratulating ourselves, on who is allegedly in the cooler political gang.
William Slusher is a local writer and author. www.williamslusher-author.blogspot.com