It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.
How do you trust a world when you can ‘t count on language? For instance, when you’re a baby, you experience, and then you feel. But you don’t have a sophisticated language for that experience. You just “are”. You just “are” in every moment. You just react, feel, respond.
Every moment you “mature”: you grow up, you “learn”. You learn to speak and to contextualize. To “understand.”
Which comes around to today’s puzzle — how to understand the word “conservative.” The GOP passes that world around like it’s something sacred. Something like “blessed” or “holy”, or at least “better than thou” especially when thou = liberal.
You’re puzzled. You’re not near your Webster’s dictionary. What do you do? You look up “conservative” on dictionary.com. Here’s what you find:
disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
( often initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to the Conservative party.
( initial capital letter ) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative Judaism.
You know, it’s just hard to get it. The word. Conservative.
You look at number 4, and you say, okay “conservative” does not equal “a Conservative”. So you surf over to Wikipedia and look up Conservatism. You discover an interesting quote by Viscount Hailsham (The Conservative Case) found in the Wikipedia introduction:
“Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself.”
Clear as mud, right? To bring things into focus, you study the entire page. Granted, this is not “The Bible” of conservatism. It’s just a bunch of people’s opinions about conservatism. The ones who care enough to write about conservatism, that is.
While scanning the text, you are reminded that there are many forms of conservatism: Liberal conservatism, Conservative liberalism, Fiscal conservatism, Green conservatism, National and traditional conservatism, Cultural and social conservatism, Religious conservatism, Progressive conservatism – and those are only the ones listed for the United States. There are other forms of conservatism in other nations.
Now, you try to put that information together with what you see and read coming from the mouths and pens (or keyboards) of Conservatives. That’s when things get really interesting. Because, as happens with most things you examine in this complicated world, you only come up with more questions. Like these, for instance:
How conservative is it to call one of your own party member a “selfish swine” as Anne Coulter recently said of Akin after his incredibly ignorant claim about women and rape? How conservative is it to sell T-shirts accusing a Supreme Court justice of being a “traitor” and a “coward” as Glenn Beck said of Justice John Roberts after the recent “Obamacare” decision? How conservative is it to spew vitriol and hate mongering as Rush Limbaugh liberally does on his nationally broadcast radio show?
Would your mama (God bless her lovely soul) say you were being “conservative” if you did those things? Or would she say you were being “a Conservative”? Wouldn’t she just wash your mouth out with soap and send you to your room to “think about it”? Even if your mama approves, don’t you have your own standards? Do you really want to associate yourself with such a level of “refinement”. Which isn’t to say that Democrats and/or Liberals don’t have their own ugliness. Your’re just wondering how, amidst the deluge of banality and lack of integrity, anyone would want to be called “conservative” or even “a Conservative”. You think it sounds like a Fraternity with a hazing policy that extends ad infinitum.
TheRespondicator does not want to be called conservative. Ever. Even when/if she agrees with an expressed “conservative” ideology. TheRespondicator does not believe this is an argument about political ideals. TheRespondicator thinks this has something to do with being a decent human being. About being a humanist, which dictionary.com says means:
a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.
a person devoted to or versed in the humanities.
a student of human nature or affairs.
a classical scholar.
( sometimes initial capital letter ) any one of the scholars of the Renaissance who pursued and disseminated the study and understanding of the cultures of ancient Rome and Greece, and emphasized secular, individualistic, and critical thought.
TheRespondicator is talking about definition number one.