Larison has lately been occupying himself with frenetically blogging about the biannual horse races, so I haven’t read him too closely. I barely drag myself to the voting booth every four years and rarely in between, and then only so that I can get past the self-appointed Gatekeepers of Democracy and be allowed to participate in meatspace political discussions. Even that isn’t very rewarding, since voting for one of the illegitimate parties earns me prompt disdain as a naive, tinfoil-hat dolt.
Nevertheless, I wandered over to Larison’s and scanned his recent entries. It isn’t possible to scan all the ones I missed, since the guy seems to have a wireless headset hooked up to voice-recognition software on his computer, based on his Proustian prolixity. [Finally, a chance to worm that little phrase into a sentence.] I keep checking in with Larison just to read gems like this:
That idea Mr. Rowe mentioned of “reviving communities and rebuilding their social wealth” sounds excellent to me, and it sounds very much like a major part of what conservatives should be trying to do….Those who fail to do that but talk a lot about conserving this or that may be sympathetic to many conservative appeals and may well incline in the right directions most of the time but have yet to fully become living conservatives and conservators of a living tradition, living way of life (and I must plead guilty to being lacking in some respects in being the latter) and a specific place to which they are bound by time and fidelity. Still others who can make quips about immanentising the eschaton but either a) don’t really understand what that means in the real world or b) don’t live as if they understand what it means are in worse shape yet.
Men of backgrounds as diverse as Harrington, Bolingbroke and Chesterton understood the importance of widely distributed real property, resistance to the concentration of wealth and opposition to the consolidation of power as all being essential to the preservation not only of liberty but also, more importantly, the preservation of humane and stable community life.
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about when I use the word conservative. I guess it’s considered to be paleoconservative right now, which does not mean that I like local newspapers or that I want to live in the nineteenth century.
In the nineteenth century, my wife and I would have died young of anaphylactic shock and my daughter would have been completely mentally and physically disabled. People who want to live in another era are not conservatives, they are romantics. That is not necessarily bad in itself, but the “conservative” brand of romanticism claims to have a stranglehold on hard-headed realism. That causes me to hear a hum of rhetorical dissonance, a vibration that I compulsively respond to with sarcasm.
According to Clyde Wilson, I may not be a good American. I don’t agree with everything he writes, but I’m empathetic. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m around alternative currency proponents, militia members, homesteaders, unschoolers, and other nonconformists that I disagree with. I don’t get that feeling around salesmen, corporate executives, campus radicals, and anyone wearing a “Democrat” or “Republican” button, no matter how much they agree with me. They give me the creeps.
The “positive and encouraging” dishwater conservatives I run into nowadays make me nauseous. Then I have to deal with hypersensitive liberals who don’t want to hear authentic opinions because they’re too busy mindlessly stabbing little neocon voodoo dolls.
Now, I take seriously the warning that I shouldn’t stereotype people, but what am I supposed to do about people who deliberately cloak themselves with stereotypical identities? I try to avoid them, but when I have to talk to them, I have a powerful urge to provoke a reaction from them by honestly telling them something that will contradict their stereotype of me.