We are seeing weird inversions: Anti-war Republicans, Pro-war Democrats, etc. Free speech Republicans (Insincere, most of them) and pro-censorship Democrats (frighteningly sincere). Most alarming is our press that now colludes with government and willingly abets government information operations and censorship regimes.
Find our First Principles
Voters of both major parties have sacrificed their ideological principles upon the altar of political expediency, cult of personality, and hatred of the other. To be a party member today means checking the boxes on a set of issues, many of which conflict with the party’s ideological foundations. No wonder the national conversation is a flaming bedlam.
Conservatives have the easier fix for themselves and Republicans, because I see conservatism as much more straightforward than liberalism: Conservatism conserves. It says “hey, wait a minute” while pointing to ageless wisdom and enduring values. It’s a simple recipe for conservatives: Start with a respect and defense of civil liberties and constitutional principles that defend the rights of all, then fold in Russell Kirk’s Ten Conservative Principles. And for heaven’s sake, try doing it all with some Christian charity and a smile on your face!
The Democrat left needs to find its civil liberties principles again because we will all need them. I suggest rereading Stanley Crouch, Nat Hentoff and Christopher Hitchens. Routinely tuning in to Dr. Cornel West would help good liberals regain their bearings. If Republicans get too much power again, and they will, they will gleefully burn down their freedom/free speech potemkin village when it finally, inevitably gets in the way of their agenda.
Both parties need to understand that the only values we all share–and the only values we all need to share–are those enshrined in the constitution. That is our guidebook for making laws and respecting the rights of everyone. No faction can use the law to impose its extra-constitutional morality (and yes, the left has its own moral dogma) on everyone. Most issues concerning personal behavior are outside the control of government and law. They cannot be coerced by force in a free, democratic society. If you want to change people’s behaviors, use your free speech rights, mount your soapbox, and attempt to persuade your fellow Americans.
What say you?