Clapping for Tinker Bell
One of the most frequent criticisms leveled at Conservatives is that we lack ideals or guiding principles — that we are merely men of pragmatic character, asking not what is ideal in a perfect world, but only what is possible in an imperfect world.
Indeed, many a conservative quotes (with apparent favor) that conservatism “is not an ideology but a disposition.” By this they mean that we conservatives are disposed in favor of calmness, reason, civil order, civility, experiential knowledge gained painfully through centuries of trial and error, piety toward ancestors, reverence toward Heaven. Conservatism, by this definition, is merely a mistrust of ideological theory and a trust of precedent. Conservatism is disbelief in Utopia.
The criticism is not true; it is not close to truth; it is the diametric opposite of truth. The untruth seems plausible only when words are used for their emotional connotations, but never defined.
In truth, so-called Conservatives are revolutionaries who believe in the principles of the American Revolution: that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty and property; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men; and when any government becomes destructive of those rights, it is the duty of patriots to rise up in arms and overthrow it, and create such institutions anew which will return their native rights to them.
They have faith in God.
The so-called Liberals or Radicals or Progressives or Morlocks or Whateverthefudge they are calling themselves this month are revolutionaries who believe in the principles of the French Revolution: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.
For those of you who do not speak French: Liberté means all men are slaves of the frenzied mob; Egalité means success is punished and failure rewarded until all outcomes are equal and all efforts are vain; Fraternité means all “comrade citizens” are wards of the Napoleon, the Fuhrer, the Lightworker, or whatever they are calling the Glorious Leader this month.
They have faith in Guillotines.
The role of the free press in a republic is to hold the public servants accountable to the citizens, so that the citizens may control the leadership.
The role of the sycophant press in a utopia is to keep the mob state of frenzy. The frenzy requires the mob be terrified at utterly imaginary Chicken-Little style dangers while drugged and numb to real dangers. The frenzy requires the mob to be forever discontented at whoever the designated enemy is: in Nazi Germany, the designated enemy the Jew; in Communist Russia, the Capitalist and the Jew; in Islamic nations, the Great Satan and the Jew; in America, the rich, the white, the male, the Christian and the Jew. In all cases, the sycophant press can never report on real dangers, because this would require the Glorious Leader do actually do something to solve a problem. But imaginary dangers (Global Warming, Hole in the Ozone Layer, DDT, Acid Rain, Alar, White Supremacists, Hate Crimes, Homophobia, Heterosexual AIDS, Sexual Harassment, Income Inequality, Gender Income Bias, Theocracy) require nothing but giving the Glorious Leader ever more power to solve them.
If I may wax philosophical for a moment, the American Revolution rests on certain metaphysical and ontological beliefs. We believe reality is real. We believe truth is truth. We believe logic is valid. We believe that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, and we believe free lunches do not magically appear out of nothing in a puff of purple perfume just because you need one.
Because truth is true, and reason is valid, moral acts are those suited to truth and reason: morality consists of correctly seeing your place in the great scheme of life, and honestly holding yourself to the same standard all rational beings are bound to uphold. Right Reason says men have rights, and that the state is a necessary evil to protect those rights. Reason says men cannot reproduce their generations without families, and chastity is necessary for family units to be secure. Reason says no rights are meaningful without the right to own property, therefore laws against theft and extortion are necessary.
In order to protect the right to property, the science of economics must be studied, and wise policies established to render the labor of the citizens fruitful.
The French Revolutionaries believe in the opposite of all these things. To promote equality, it is necessary to have theft by the state, and no right to property is to be respected; therefore no other rights; to increase the power of the Glorious Leader, all institutions with a claim on individual loyalty must be destroyed, first the Church, next the Family; therefore unchastity is necessary.
People are not to be encouraged to reproduce, but to butcher their unborn children. This is because people are a necessary evil to support the all-powerful state. There are no standards of morals, only an endless struggle between the mob and its imaginary oppressors, and no moral rules can check the anger of the mob, nor can the imaginary oppressors, the Racists, be treated with objective justice. In order to destroy the concept of objective justice, the concept of objective truth must be destroyed. In order for truth to be destroyed, reason must be silenced. Therefore reason is buried under and endless layer of lies, screaming, sneers, slogans, and malice. Therefore truth dies, and is replaced by Political Correctness.
In order to increase the power of the Glorious Leader, the science of economics must be replaced with the wishful thinking of Keynesian economics, or, better yet, the fairytales and outright madness of Marxist economics. Where the American Revolutionaries believe in reality, including the reality that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, that you cannot eat goods before they are produced, that you cannot merely decree scarce resources to be abundant. Or free.
Let me define the fundamental philosophical principle of Conservatism: Tinker Bell is dead, and she will not come back to life no matter how hard you clap.
John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program“). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.