Monday, November 16, 2009

The essential fusion

Last week I wrote about the social-fiscal conservative divide, and the need for the embrace of liberty as the defining trait of conservatism. Doctor Zero has a lengthier and more eloquent essay on the same topic. Here are a few quotes:
Confronted with the grim history of their ideology, most liberals will say it doesn’t matter if their ideas are efficient, because there is a moral imperative to follow them, and all opposition to them is fundamentally immoral. It doesn’t matter that liberalism doesn’t work, because it’s the right thing to do… the only right thing to do.

...One of the reasons liberals always sound so foolish when they discuss economics is their belief that moral certainty trumps objective knowledge.

...Say what you will about the fundamental argument of collectivism, but you can’t deny it’s simple and consistent: give us your vote and we will take care of you, at the expense of people whose greed is worthy of your hatred.
Here is the main thrust, which is dead on:
I have always thought the embrace of liberty is the key ingredient to achieving the essential fusion between social and fiscal conservatism. I sympathize with most of the goals expressed by social conservatives. I don’t believe they can achieve those goals by imposing them through the power of a massive central State, the way liberalism has done for decades. They should see that State as an offense against the moral imperative of liberty, and relish the challenge of fighting their battles locally, after regaining the freedom we never should have been foolish enough to surrender.

Collectivism is premised on the absence of respect for fellow citizens – they must be compelled to follow the collective agenda, or cared for by the State because they’re too feeble to survive without it. Both social and fiscal conservatism can meet on the common ground of liberty, which demands respect for fellow citizens. This does not require social conservatives to abandon the notion of community standards. Instead, it means they must respect the decision of those who disagree with those standards to change them… or relocate to a different community.

From liberty flows competition, of both businesses and ideas. Success in a competition of ideas requires persuasion, not compulsion. No one who is confident in the power of their ideas should fear the challenge of persuasion, just as no one who believes in the quality of their business fears the competition of the marketplace. Liberty is both powerful and moral. The embrace of liberty is something both halves of the Right can agree they are right about. I think current events prove it’s a mistake to think liberty can survive the attack of collectivism – a powerful illusion with the inherent aggression of a nightmare – without both halves of the Right defending it.
Absolutely correct.

No comments: