( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
We all know that conservative principles – about the free market, about American exceptionalism, about leading a moral life – are all superior to their liberal counterparts of state control, cultural relativism and unfettered hedonism. But the fact is, those principles that conservatives hold dear stem from a conservative attitude toward life that differs profoundly from the liberal attitude toward life. It comes from a conservative psychology that differs from the liberal psychology. It comes from a conservative self-image that differs from the liberal self-image. And, as you might expect, those conservative attributes are superior to (in the mathematically provable sense) the corresponding liberal attributes.
Forthwith are seven reasons why.
1. Conservative ideas are subtle.
1. Conservative ideas are subtle
The basic notion that things are sometimes better left alone is essential conservatism. Liberals are, basically, busybodies. They worry, worry, worry and then they fix, fix, fix. Once you have a liberal’s attention he becomes constitutionally incapable of letting the thing alone. Liberals let just about anything get under their skin. Conservatives know that, look, it could be better and we’ll get around to it soon enough. But it’ll probably hold out fine for the time being. It’s been that way for years, it’s not gonna choose to collapse tomorrow. Which leads to number two.
2. Conservatives are not easily alarmed
The chicken who ran around howling that the sky was falling was a liberal…graduated from Amherst…majored in psychodrama. She suffered from sleep apnea and had a horrible skin condition. But I digress.
The point is, she, and liberals in general, are given to flights of panic. In fact, panic is one of the defining characteristics of liberalism. That is because liberals are forever fantasizing about doom and how, any minute now, the plane could crash or the sun could explode. Conservatives know that life is filled with risk and while you can reduce it you can’t eliminate it. Conservatives don’t lose control so completely because they are never obsessed about being in control.
3. Conservative possess humility
Conservatives know, as G.K. Chesterton once wrote, that “from the dirt we came and to the dirt we shall return, and if we forget that we are lost.” Conservatives are therefore better at laughing at themselves. Liberals are forever beset with grandiosity. Nothing, but nothing, resonates with the nuclear core of the liberal psyche more powerfully than the phrase “save the planet” (liberals long ago had at least some residual shame when they were content to just “save the whales”). Joe the liberal is forever dreaming about Joe defeating the greedy capitalists and Joe being the one who “saves the planet” (and gets the girls). The problem, if you haven’t guessed it, is that liberals are utterly unable to cope with their mortality.
4. Conservatives are not infuriated by opposing opinions
Face it. Conservatives love every chance they get to actually enter into a philosophical argument with a real, live liberal. At parties where you know that it is tres impolie to talk politics, your ears still perk up when Cousin Mark starts making remarks about “Republican obstructionism” and “our agenda for the second term.” The problem is, liberals don’t want to actually discuss it. They sound off not in the hopes of starting a conversation but in the hopes of hearing an echo. Somehow, when instead of an echo they get a cold, logical dissection of their “argument” (such as it is) they get strangely out of sorts.
5. Conservative believe that everyone knows the rules
Given the supposed liberal obsession with equality, conservatives are, after all, far better at treating their fellow man on an equal footing. They expect that everyone (with really very few exceptions) knows the difference between right and wrong. Everyone knows you don’t take that thing that doesn’t belong to you, you don’t drive through the fast lane to avoid the tolls, you don’t cut in line. Liberals have double standards on all such things. They would be aghast if an actual member of their circle of friends sneaked into a country and lived and raised a family in a kind of underground. But the liberal world is divided into the equal animals and the more equal animals. And the more equal animals don’t bother expecting civilized behavior form the merely equal animals.
6. Conservatives are not snobs
(cf. also “3….possess humility” above). Conservatives do not manically attempt to steer every conversation in the direction of higher education so they can parade around the high power colleges that their children, nieces, third cousins go to. Conservatives eat at nice restaurants because the food is tasty. Conservatives drive nice cars because they handle well and are comfortable. Conservatives are perfectly at ease when someone in the coffee shop strikes up a conversation by bemoaning the Bruins’ big collapse or by cheering the Red Sox’ latest win. Liberals loathe the fact that they must tread the same earth and breath the same air, day after day, with the low browed yokel. Liberals, with the exception of those few who have elevated baseball to a high art, hate the Red Sox. Their response to the car repair guy cheerfully crowing: “how ’bout them Sox!” is an urge to run and brush their teeth.
7. Conservatives are optimistic
Whatever dreary setbacks they encounter, whatever insanities they are forced to face, however transient are their days, conservatives plan to enjoy this life, and they think they are entitled to do so. The children they raise, the friends they make, the works they accomplish all get cheerfully entered into the plus column and, more importantly, are never forgotten. Liberals, for all their talk about the coming utopia, are organically incapable of real joy. Their lives are filled with anxiety. They careen from crisis to crisis.
But the satisfying past, for conservatives, is every bit as real as the bleak future. And the future, after all, is not so bleak. Liberal obstructions will fade, truth will win out, water will continue to run downhill. And always, the sun is going to come up soon and there’s work to be done.