One of the great projects that needs to be tackled by the conservative movement is a thoroughgoing analysis of the movement's failure in the 20th Century. Many conservatives can point to the errors of liberalism with ease, but what many conservatives don't really tackle the subject of the Liberalism's appeal. The question to ask then is, why did Liberalism succeed? Indeed, its success has been so thorough that many of today's "Conservatives" would hardly of been considered conservatives by the Generation of 1880 at all. Chastity, which was part and parcel of bourgeoisie society, is now seen as a bit of an embarrassment. Divorce, which was seen negatively even in Victorian England, is a non-event. Mainstream conservatives seem to differ from liberals mainly on issues with regard to economic management and defense, otherwise they look remarkably similar. Part of the problem when voting now is that the mainstream parties are so alike that a voter has no real choice.
Every great heresy has some element of the truth in it, and it is my contention that Liberalism's success came about as a result from an exploitation of legitimate grievances in traditional society, grievances which conservatives would not, or intellectually not could address. These legitimate grievances were what I consider "weak points" in western society, areas of entrenched "structural" social injustice from which Liberalism earned its legitimacy.
Any reading of political history will show that a society's failure to deal with legitimate grievances, eventually leads to a radicalisation of the injured party. The Irish attempted for years to rid themselves of the British yoke through legitimate means, only to have the rules changed on them. The Irish civil war owed its birth as much to British intransigence as it did to Irish nationalism which was fueled by the former. The Czech and Slovak republic's separation was peaceful since the players were prepared to deal with each others grievances honourably, the Yugoslav separation was not, because the central government refused to ceded to the legitimate demands of the constituent republics. The problem with radicalisation though, is that the cause frequently attempts to do more than just right an injustice, it brings a whole new set of faults as well, faults which frequently are worse than the original injury.
The question then to ask is, what were these weak spots or fault lines?
In my view the main weak spots were:
1) The misunderstanding of women in society: This gave birth to Feminism.
2) The misunderstanding of relationship between capital and labor: This gave birth to Socialism.
3) The misunderstanding of race understanding of Race: This gave birth to Multiculturalism.
4) The misunderstanding of sexuality: This gave birth to modern promiscuity and familial destruction.
5) The misunderstanding of environmental responsibility: This gave birth to the environmental movement.
6) The misunderstanding of society privilege: This gave birth to egalitarianism.
There are other areas but these are the main ones that I can identify, and I hope to deal with these issues over the next few months and offer my thoughts as to where conservatism went wrong. The problem however is that many traditionalists can't even fathom that there was any problem with traditional society. They ignore the slums, the slavery, the economic and social injustice that were endemic to traditional society and that served as the wellsprings of radicalism.
Lately I've been following two discussions; one at Oz Conservative and another at Ferdinand's, both posts and their comments leave me cold. I for one, feel that women had legitimate grievances with traditional society, problems which conservatives failed to acknowledge or address, leaving the door open to Feminism and its poison. The question is what can we learn from this, or could things have been handled differently?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
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