Having lamented the sad disappearance of the Liberal in our politics, it is time to be Fair and Balanced and mourn the loss of the Conservative in our politics. ‘Twas Edmund Burke first advanced the notion that reform, although necessary and inevitable must be implemented slowly and with great respect for tradition. He was responding to the craziness of the French Revolution, where he saw for himself how Democracy can easily slide into grimmer tyranny than any King might provide with the enthusiastic support of the masses. Comparing and contrasting, he noted how the Americans got rid of their King, but kept their calendar, their religion(s), their English Common Law and their fine old English notion of keeping the Executive from getting over-frisky, and thus avoided the Terror and slaughter that the French got from their Revolution.

I think that nations are like an ecosystem, in that tinkering with one thing usually throws something else out of whack, and the best thing a gardener can frequently do is Nothing. Let it roll. If the aphids show up, the lady bugs are two days behind. There is no need to pull out the spray and Do Something, as that kills all the good bugs along with the aphids. Now, if one has poor soil to start with, sometimes the only thing to do is till deep and amend it: compost, minerals, cover crops. It can be done but it takes time and one has to work with what is already there, not nuke it and start over. The easy solution is no solution at all, and the only real solution takes time and cannot be short-cut. Nature limits what is possible, and ignoring those limits is disastrous. Measure twice; cut once.

Those garden illustrations of mine illustrate how a Burkean conservative looks at the world.

Now close your eyes and imagine any Fox News conservative advocating prudence and restraint. Go ahead, try.

The problem is that capitalism as currently practiced works by urging us to abandon prudence and restraint, which the Go-Getters among us deplore as Sales Resistance. Billions of dollars are spent to undermine prudence and restraint. Digging deeper, Karl Marx first described how capitalism uproots Tradition in the 1840s, and time has proven him right; the matrix of old relationships that Burke took for granted has been shredded by the very Free Markets fetishized by the likes of Fox News. There is nothing left to Conserve, and so-called Conservatives did it to us.

What passes for Conservative in America is either propaganda for corporatist Oligarchy, or a futile longing for a past that never existed. Either way, nothing there worth a minute of my time.


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