Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, April 10, 2008

They Are All Jonahs Now

Victor Davis Hanson says that liberals are no longer liberals, that is, classical liberal. Classical liberals were like modern conservatives, though, so he is really complaining that liberals don't act like conservatives. Another underlying complaint, however, is that conservatives don't act like conservatives, that is classical liberals, either. If conservatives talked more about how classically liberal they are then they could borrow some of the rise in popularity of liberalism. People still remember liberals gave peace and prosperity and are forgetting the sex scandal, and conservatives are very concerned.

Obviously Hanson is trying to rewrite definitions to rid himself of the stench of failure wafting off of conservatism. Rod Dreher is also trying to wash off the stink as quickly as possible.

[...T]he problem with conservatism today is not that it is too unworldly, but
that it has become too worldly. When you have the conservative party having run
up unconscionable budget deficits and gotten the country stuck in a quagmire of
a war in the Middle East, and when there was no effective right-wing opposition
to these trends as they were playing out because deficit spending and militant
nationalism were popular -- well, it seems pretty clear that the problem is that
conservatives have traded principle for the maintenance of power. Which is why
we're at a dead end today.

What conservatism needs, he muses, is a good, radical re-thinking. Since conservatism wasn't at fault, the answer is more conservatism!

Preferably the kind that comes with a nice paycheck, no doubt.

If you don't like something, just rename it. Forget fixing its problems, call it classical liberalism, call it progressivism. We know the Republicans are self-deluded. What about liberals? How do we define ourselves?

It might be that our leaders, too, have rewritten the definition of who we are. We'd better find out before it's too late.


zeppo said...

Solipsism is its own reward, you know. Conservatism is anything that that it declares itself to be.

My head kind of hurts, tho....

Susan of Texas said...

Conservatism means never having to say you're sorry.