I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.
– William F. Buckley
Most Americans will at least be familiar with the “telephone game“, a game where a message is whispered, one person at a time, until all the players have heard the message, then the last person reveals whatever they think they heard. The whole point of the game is that, as any message progresses through a crowd, it quickly degrades until it no longer even resembles a cogent sentence, let alone the original message.
It’s an analogy that’s often used, and this is hardly the first time it’s been evoked to describe the sorry state of the conservative movement. It is, however, an apt comparison, especially given the ignorance demonstrated daily by red capped rubes shouting expletive laced xenophobic nationalist rants about the “Deep State“, “Globalism“, “Fair Trade“, or whatever nonsense they’ve been told to parrot by their spray tan goon president.
What these louts call “conservatism” bears no resemblance to the philosophy once spearheaded by the alums of Yale (William Buckley), Harvard (Thomas Sowell), and Chicago University (Milton Friedman). It’s become a Frankenstein’s monster of hysterical nationalist rhetoric and nativist (if not outright racist) propaganda. We’ve reached the point where there is a serious question whether or not the word “Conservatism” means anything at all.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
– Ronald Reagan
Much like the “telephone game“, the degraded quality of any message is a function of its distance from its source, and conservatism is clearly a very long way away from its philosophical roots. The good news, however, is that the conservatism described by William F. Buckley and championed by Ronald Reagan lives on here and elsewhere on the internet, especially within the #NeverTrump movement on social media.
The ideology that was hijacked by washed up sports casters and profiteering radio jocks, often with little or no formal education, then paired down for mass consumption, is not lost to time. Yes, conservatism lives on, however conservatives have to want to recapture it. Abandoning the philosophy to the red capped rubes is easy. Do absolutely nothing, and it’s lights out for conservatism.
Plenty of cowards have already done that (though they were never really conservatives to begin with). If real conservatism, the kind that would be recognized by Buckley and Reagan, really be worth fighting for, conservatives should fight for it. I choose to believe that it is, and I will fight for it.
Liberty is For The Win!