One thing about me, I’m an equal opportunity critic and even for people I’ve supported on some issues, that doesn’t mean I won’t turn right around and let them have it on others. I think that’s how every rational, critical thinking individual ought to be, no heroes, no idols, everything is up for evaluation no matter who says it. The ideas are important, not the people who have them.
I posted a couple of videos by Bill Whittle a while back and while I certainly didn’t agree with everything he had to say, I thought that, when it came to conservatism at least, he was reasonably in the same ball park as me, at least for the issues that I discussed. However, that certainly isn’t always the case, as another video that I found of his clearly illustrates. So go watch the video, come back and guess what I’m about to say next.
It shouldn’t be hard to figure out, I don’t think they’re working from the same common set of definitions of terms as most people are. How can you affirm man’s “inherent nature” to be free while claiming that man has to be a virtual slave to an all-powerful deity in the sky? It makes no sense to me. Christianity cannot possibly be the core of conservatism when what they claim about conservatives goes right in the face of what Christianity demands.
In fact, I wouldn’t argue that freedom has much to do with conservatism, at least not as they’re talking about it. The very basis of conservatism isn’t freedom, it’s responsibility. Yes, of course the individual is important but the way they’re talking about it, they’re a lot closer to anarchy than conservatism. The idea that people get to do whatever the hell they want to do without regard for anyone else is absurd. That puts Wittle and his friend firmly at one end of the Libertarian camp.
As I’ve explained before, there are a number of central tenets of conservatism. Personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, small government and keeping the government out of the lives of the people. We are responsible for ourselves but we are also responsible to those around us. Humans are a social species, we form together in groups for mutual protection and satisfaction. We not only have a responsibility for ourselves, but to maintain a healthy community for all. That doesn’t mean we should just take care of everyone else, that’s a liberal thing, it means that everyone has a responsibility to care for themselves, to better themselves and to likewise care for others in the community. Simply giving people a free ride and not holding them accountable for their own self responsibility violates that compact. That doesn’t mean we don’t step in to help someone when the chips are down, we aid them in getting back on their feet, we don’t just give them a check forever so they never have to get their ass off the couch. Likewise with fiscal responsibility, it means living within our means and not asking others for help unless it cannot be helped. Not only do I hold myself responsible for my own finances within my particular sphere of influence, I hold everyone else responsible as well. I hold the government responsible for paying its bills on time and not spending more money than it has except in extreme emergencies. That’s not how the government functions these days, whether under liberal or neo-con control and it’s absolutely pathetic. We don’t need a government nearly the size that it is and both parties are to blame for the mess we’re in. And certainly, neither party has any interest in keeping the government out of the lives of the people and for the Republicans, this is almost entirely Christianity to blame for the current state of Big-Brotherdom. So to say that Christianity is the basis of conservatism only proves that Whittle and his buddy don’t have a clue what conservatism really is. They’re probably talking neo-conservatism, an entirely different political system which is a lot closer to liberalism than traditional conservatism.
These people don’t want Americans to be free. If they did, they wouldn’t be fighting gay marriage. They want Americans to be free to do what they’re told by the religious right. That’s not freedom. It’s double-talk slavery. That’s what Christianity is, after all, slavery to an imaginary bully in the sky. It makes me wonder if these people even think about the things that come out of their mouths. From where I’m sitting, I certainly don’t think so.