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Can’t Tell The Players Without A Program

08 January 2013 @ 19:44

In an otherwise reasonable opinion piece over at The American Spectator by Jed Babbin regarding the necessity of Republicans in the Congress and across the country putting-up a more organized fight against the next moves by the Left, Mr. Babbin makes me cringe at two points [emphasis mine]:

Republicans haven’t faced the fact that the fiscal and gun control fights are ideological battles. Conservative principles of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and Second Amendment rights are being surrendered to liberal ideals which are the precise opposites.


It’s become fashionable to quote Margaret Thatcher’s words that first you win the argument, then you win the election. To do that, Republicans have to make this an ideological fight. That’s doubly hard for them because their ideology has been muddled and diffused for almost a decade.

The war we conservatives are waging with the Left is not ideological.  It a struggle for the soul of men.

One side, the Left, believes in an ideology.  To be an ideologue is to believe in ideas crafted in the sterile laboratory of the mind over ideas forged in real world experience, over time.  An ideologue seeks to graft the abstract onto the concrete.  To be an ideologue is to ultimately desire the tearing down of the existing order and the re-engineering of the society.

As for conservatives, I think Russell Kirk said it best: ‘…conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order’.

So…what we have is a war being waged with two different types of weapons and it is imperative that we realize that our weapons are not the same as the Left’s and must never be the same as their’s.

The Left has an unlimited variety of weapons they can employ because they are not bound by any Morality, feel any debt to our ancestors and the struggles they waged, or believe that any restraints should be applied to the means they employ.  The Left believes that the ends they seek — call it Utopia, Heaven On Earth, Egalitarianism, or what you will — are so wonderful, so noble, so good that anything — absolutely anything — that helps bring about the end-goal is permissible.  That this Paradise they seek requires all existing institutions [the products of learning from thousands of years of triumph and failure in the Real World] to be destroyed, the slate wiped clean, gives the Left license to do whatever it takes to speed the way to Nirvana.

This license permits the Left to ‘fight dirty’.  One way you do this is to take advantage of your opponent’s sense of honor, respect for tradition, and belief in The Golden Rule.

This is what they do.

Conservatives do not believe that the end justifies the means, that it is permissible to use any means necessary to achieve their goals.  Conservatives are bound by the strictures imposed by Morality and Tradition and Prudence — Right Reason — because they know that a free and prosperous society cannot be maintained without self-imposed restrictions on behavior.  They also understand that no society can remain free unless there is established government consisting of The Rule Of Law [not of men] and an honored covenant between the people who reside in it to maintain order.

For conservatives to fight the Left’s ideological weaponry with our own form of ideology would require us to lose our souls, to play by their rules, to betray experience to the Judas of ideals.

The fight to preserve our God-given right to self-defense [especially against a Tyrannical government], of which bearing arms is a large part, has nothing to do with a system of ideas [ie: Ideology].  The fight to reduce government expenditures to levels where they fund only those things that are Constitutional, gains no ammunition from ideas hatched in clean room.

By agreeing with the Left that both these battles are ideological, we agree to play by their rules and, therefore, they control the game because they invented it.  And, therefore, they will ultimately win in the end.  The odds always favor the House in gaming.

This war is about whether Mankind will be governed by the deluded guardians of a fantastical dream or live as free men with Free Will under God, adhering to ‘custom, convention, and continuity’, guided by prudence, believing in an enduring Moral Order, understanding that man is not perfectabile, and looking to our ancestors for guidance as we work to prepare the world for our posterity*.

No conservative [or Classical Liberal] wastes his time with Ideology because it is a dead-end, a circle of Hell.

SIDENOTE: Mr. Babbin, who from his resume appears to be in his early sixties, is part of the Baby Boomer Generation that came to Right Wing politics in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  These were the people who led the New Right, as it was called.  They came of age during the rise of the Modern Left In America, who were rabid Ideologues and these young  Right Wing people absorbed the spirit of Ideology that permeated all things, especially discussions, and falsely began believing that to be on the Right meant that one had to view conservative ideas as a system of ideas [the very definition of ‘Ideology’].

I think Mr. Babbin understands this difference deep down because, in the first quote, he writes of ‘conservative principles’ versus ‘liberal ideals’, but, it seems, he has refused to consult his ‘gut’ in his deliberations, refused to question his fundamental premises.

*Inspired by Russell Kirk’s Ten Conservative Principles
found in The Politics Of Prudence, and by Edmund

  1. 08 January 2013 @ 20:34 20:34

    Republicans cant fight back with ideology because they have no ideology but for one of convenience.. they are of no matter any longer but to our common enemy, the domestic version, and they deserve the same accord.

  2. M. Thompson permalink
    08 January 2013 @ 20:36 20:36

    Bob, I have to disagree with you here. This is a system of ideas. However, where most ideologies seek to supplant the natural order of things, conservative ideology (in our society) seeks to let society grow and change, perhaps in a fashion closer to it’s ideals.

    It is not the all encompassing sort of leftism, if from Marx or not, but it still is a way of thinking about how to solve problems.

  3. 09 January 2013 @ 08:43 08:43

    The ideals of conservatism are simply an expression of the principles by which conservatives live. At the moment, the GOP has no ideas or principles. They simply have a desire for power so they give goodies to their supporters. I saw this as a Republican Public Official in Ohio. The GOP is the original crony capitalist party.

  4. theo9geo permalink
    09 January 2013 @ 14:29 14:29

    I think Bob’s point(s) is subtle and potent. He is not saying conservatives have no ideas or ideals. He is saying conservatives revere the eternal verities because their validity and utility are guaranteed by long experience as the happiest doctrines (morality, knowledge confirmed and agreed by deep experience) for living. Conservatives do not hatch ideational structures from dreams or impulses, as if in clean rooms, bereft of direct experience in the world, and then march forth into the world to concretize those structures by imposition and regardless of what the world thinks of them or how the world reacts to them.

    Conservatives react to the world and act therein, in constant dialectic/dialogue, wherein exists moral living. Moreover, conservatives feel the pull of the transcendent in all events. Leftists only act in the world, having already decided as the prius of activity that they know what the world should look like and can make it so and so will. Leftists are ideologues with ideologies. They pre-design a template for life, while away from life, then labor to stuff life into their template. They are never happy because life is never compliant to their template. That is ideology by ideologues. Moreover, and conveniently, they fancy themselves a morality-and ideology-free zone.

    Bob is right. There is no conservative ideology. Conservatives have the sources of authority he mentions. Because these accord with the structure of being, they are sufficient to overcome the pretensions of ideologues when they are summoned and deployed against those ideologues’ ravings. An appeal to life, to existence, and its embedded eternal verities is sufficient to the task and term ahead. And not in words only.

    Conservatives refine truth out of life by throwing ideas and experience into the crucible of activity in history and observing developments. What remains in the crucible is true, moral, dependable wealth. Leftists enter life with a prefab, a-historical ideational structure of their own devising and throw that at life to control it. Truth does not interest them. Mohammedans do likewise, and that, as many have noted, explains the Leftist-Mohammedan alliance, which is impermanent because both are totalist.

    I concur with Bob’s point(s) here and consider them salient. Calm is needed, to enhance vision and intensify action.


  1. Theological Geography | Ideology Versus Experience

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