Thursday, January 26, 2006

The spirit of conservatism

(or, note the small c)

The very excellent Canadianna, in taking off on a post from Raskolnikov from the also very excellent Dust My Broom team, gets credit for inspiring this post.

What the left doesn't understand about the Blogging Tories and its U.S. counterparts in the conservative blogosphere is that, as a group, we are all individuals.
We come from wildly diverse backgrounds and presently occupy wildly diverse positions in the socio-political-demographic sphere. We are committed Christians; we are atheists; we are still feeling our way toward what faith we may practice in the future. We are male and female, straight and gay, white collar and blue collar and pink collar. We are parents; we are childless; we are grandparents.
We are not bound to talking points. In fact, I suspect that 99 and 44/100 percent of us tend to revolt when told what to think or talk about. (And I'd suspect that a lot of us took to blogging because we **didn't** want to be told what to think or talk about.)
We don't agree on everything. (This may stun some on the left.) Some of those disagreements may be quite passionate (yeah, many of those are probably about sports teams).
What we do share, despite our differences, is a belief in the spirit of conservatism.
I think I can safely say that we respect the individual over the imposed-from-above collective, while acknowledging the value of the voluntary co-operative spirit.
I think I can safely say that we agree that government has certain responsibilities and certain items it should stay the (fill in your favourite bleep) out of.
I think I can also safely say that we don't trust people in power. Those who share our ideas, we might trust -- but we're sure as shootin' going to verify.
Warren Kinsella (you know how to find him) wondered on one of his posts what the Blogging Tories would do once the Conservatives formed a government.
I think he can find his answer by examining some of the more prominent U.S. conservative blogs. They certainly support President Bush in many of his endeavours, but on some issues, he's fair game.
Kinsella implied that the BTs were, in effect, professional naysayers with little to say.
I've not found that to be the case. In fact, I think quite the opposite is true. There is a virtual explosion of conservative ideas out there, coming from think tanks, blogs, the old reliable National Review axis, etc. The left cannot match that intellectual energy.
Some of the ideas are going to fall flat on their faces. Others could use a strong test before pushing forward. Still others are going to conflict.
But William F. Buckley, in recalling a speech he gave in his 1965 New York City mayoral campaign, made this point about his platform (as best I can recall it from his book The Unmaking of a Mayor):
"[My running mates] are free to disagree on particulars of this platform. Certainly, there are alternative ways of doing things, all within the spirit of conservatism."
So, Warren, I expect we'll continue testing our ideas, letting The Right. Hon. Mr. Harper know when he's drifting too far away from them, etc., etc., etc.
I expect we'll keep letting each other know when we're off base.
But we'll keep on keepin' on.
Suggestions, comments, additions welcomed.