Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conservatism, Centrism, and the Right-Left Illusion

The Right-left continuum is a deceit perpetrated by communists who, wishing to distinguish themselves from national socialists, called them "right" wing. "Centrist" is another layer of the confusion.

There is only conservatism and fetishism. People who fetishize economic equality (for all save party elite of course) and detest traditional ways of life are socialists/communists/progressives. People who follow this suit but only tepidly are "centrists." People who aren't suckered by the fetish and the hatred are conservatives. They aren't to the right of anything. They embrace the large set of important values which they should. They don't abandon the set, either hotly or tepidly, because of a fetish or a hatred. Conservatives who think of themselves as "center-right" have been deceived into thinking of themselves in this way by progressives who wish to drive a wedge between members of the big tent of conservatism by leveraging disputes within that tent. And it is a big tent, what with all the squabbles over the large set of values. There are squabbles because the large set of values requires difficult deliberation and casuistry where their application is fraught with ambiguity. A fetish for one value, on the other hand, offers the illusory solace of simple ideology.

When a conservative, through deliberation over a particular issue, reaches the same conclusion as socialists do on that issue, this presents an opportunity for the socialist to drive the wedge, when in fact there is nothing at all anti-conservative about the conclusion reached by the conservative or about his political stance.

There is no right-left continuum. Don't say "leftist," as it promotes the confusion perpetrated by socialists, seemingly requiring the confused conclusion that somehow conservatives are "rightist." Say "socialist," instead of "leftist."

In sum, there is conservatism and those who have abandoned it for the surety of a fetish, nothing more.