||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Conservatives in the mist
Robert Stacy McCain is a controversial blogger. He is Southern-born and proud of that. If he filled out a Census, he would write his ancestry "American"; most citizens instead prefer to call themselves German, Black, Irish or (in my case) English. I take him at his word that he speaks for the base Conservative.
In nineteenth-century terms, his Conservatism is a Romantic movement.
For the Conservative, Americanism has a mystical meaning. It is rooted in love of the land and of fellow tribesmen. This is what Europeans will immediately recognise as “blood and soil”, or “nationalism”; but the best term I know is Ibn Khaldun’s asabiya.
The Conservative, from his own standpoint, is free to rank his fellow citizens on personal kinship and on degree of fealty to America. His "Americanism" is tied to the local community, public ritual, and military service or at least belonging to a family with active duty members. "America" is not about the founding documents, nor about any other set of abstract beliefs. Thinkers who argue for Conservatism exist - like Edmund Burke - but they are not, themselves, Conservative. (Burke was a Whig.) Even the Constitution is secondary to a Conservative if it conflicts with what he is used to. This sets the Conservative apart from ideological allies, like libertarians and reactionaries - even Mormons.
Conservatives retain the right to discipline members who call into question the common ideals of the community. These days the heretic is usually a Liberal.
Conservatives see no need to discipline members who are following a fundamentalist strain of the local faith. In a dispute in which side A is arguing for something clearly stupid but with a cultural basis in the community (Creationism, or Josh McDowell), against which side B is arguing: Conservatives will pick side A as it is, at least, their side.
Conservatives join the Democrats if they are Black or central-Mexican; they join the Republicans or the Constitution Party if they are White, north-Mexican, Cuban, or Vietnamese.
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