Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Conservatism Can't Win

It's a disposition to encompass many important values into the fold of moral deliberation and public policy. So, it can't have a slogan because slogans epitomize and it has no epitome. It's for carefully sifting through the facts and determining the most coherent application of the array of potentially relevant values. So, it can't prescribe simple rules or decision-making algorithms or appeal to simple triggers of enthusiasm. It's for people who will consider what happened in history in order to determine what should be done now, not for people who simply want to charge off with a favorite finitely codifiable doctrine and have everyone else comply with it. It's for carefully making one's way forward while preserving what is precious, not for explosive and dramatic shifts into a set of new ways which we don't clearly understand or have good reason to prefer. It's for keeping government power severely limited, and it is in principle against corruption and crime amongst government officials because it doesn't have any end which could be used to confuse an electorate into believing such means justified. So, it can't do politics as usual, which is what you need to do to win nowadays.