Liberal Pieties and Conservative Prejudices

 

I’m a conservative and I’m prejudiced, I admit it. This isn’t something I’m going to take to the confessional though, since judging certain things to be worse than others or downright bad in themselves isn’t just natural to humans — it’s necessary for human flourishing.

I prejudge the killing of innocent babies in their mothers’ wombs to be bad. It would be an evil whether the mother wants the child or not. Similarly, I judge the chemical or surgical mutilation of children (or anyone at any age, really) to be wicked. It, too, would be an evil whether the person is in mental and emotional confusion about his biological sex or not. [Remember when we used to be repulsed by the castration of men?]

But, mostly, and vehemently, I’m prejudiced against liberal pieties, progressive ideology, political correctness, “wokeism,” or whatever the latest corruption of language is used to describe the Left. And the Left is just as prejudiced against my beliefs (or more), although adherents cast it as my being a “____ist” or “____phobe” rather than admit their bigotry, since not being a bigot is one of those liberal pieties they’re so proud of. Pride being the deadliest of deadly sins.

Roger Kimball writes about writing about Russell Kirk in the new preface to his book, The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia for his American Greatness article, A Just Prejudice. Now, I’m not particularly well-read in these matters and am unlikely at this point in my life to “catch up.” I have at least 100 books I’ve started and likely will never finish. Which is why I so appreciate articles like Kimball’s familiarizing me with Kirk and others, and I find myself saying out loud — “Yes!” — when I read things like this:

John Stuart Mill had once referred to conservatives as “the stupid party.” Kirk’s book helped restore conservatism’s patent of intellectual respectability. A brief introduction outlines the six touchstones of Kirk’s conservative vision: “belief in a transcendent order”; “affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence”; a commitment to ordered liberty; a recognition that “freedom and property are closely linked”; faith in prescription against the putative expertise of the “sophisters, calculators, and economists” that Burke memorably anathematized in Reflections on the Revolution in France; and the understanding that change is not synonymous with betterment (Kirk would have liked Lord Falkland’s observation that “when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change”).

And this:

It was from Kirk, I believe, that I first absorbed Burke’s idea that prejudice is not, as we have been taught ad nauseam, synonymous with bigotry but, on the contrary, that “a just prejudice”—a “prejudging” based on convention, custom, and tradition—is a good thing because it renders a man’s “virtue his habit,” a nugget of wisdom whose lineage goes back to Aristotle’s teachings about prudence and habit in the Nicomachean Ethics. 

And this:

The philosopher Roger Scruton once observed that Kirk showed that conservatism is fundamentally not an economic but a cultural outlook, and that conservatism “would have no future if reduced merely to the philosophy of profit. Put bluntly,” Scruton said, “conservatism is not about profit but about loss: it survives and flourishes because people are in the habit of mourning their losses, and resolving to safeguard against them.” I think that is correct. It is an observation whose relevance can be discovered throughout the pages that follow.

[Emphasis mine]

Coincidentally (or not — God speaks; do we listen?), the Gospel reading for this Sunday’s Mass was Jesus’ three parables of losing and finding according to Luke: the one in a hundred sheep, the one in ten coins, and the most famous of which is the Prodigal Son. The meditation accompanying the Gospel in the Magnificat devotional magazine is from Saint Peter Chrysologus (+450) who says, “Finding something we have lost gives us a fresh joy, and we are happier at having found the lost object than we should have been had we never lost it.”

That strikes me as profoundly true, whether the finding is a sheep, a coin, or a lost son. And it gives me great hope for the America that has lost its way so far down the road of “progress.”

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  1. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    “when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change”

    This reminds me of Chesterton’s fence, but in a short, simple phrase. 

    Excellent post.

    • #1
  2. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I believe all the progressive actions to remove Christian influence from the lives of Americans and American culture are without doubt the greatest threat to our people and all the people on earth. The Court decision to remove the killing of the babies from any federal oversight is an inspiration to those who have opposed legalized abortion.

    • #2
  3. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I believe all the progressive actions to remove Christian influence from the lives of Americans and American culture are without doubt the greatest threat to our people and all the people on earth. The Court decision to remove the killing of the babies from any federal oversight is an inspiration to those who have opposed legalized abortion.

    Yes, Marxists have always known Christianity is the greatest obstacle to their aims and have long sought to supplant it with the religion made in their (fallen) image. This will not end well without a eucatastrophe (I’ve been waiting all week to use Tolkien’s word since the Rings of Power was released!!). 

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I believe all the progressive actions to remove Christian influence from the lives of Americans and American culture are without doubt the greatest threat to our people and all the people on earth. The Court decision to remove the killing of the babies from any federal oversight is an inspiration to those who have opposed legalized abortion.

    Yes, Marxists have always known Christianity is the greatest obstacle to their aims and have long sought to supplant it with the religion made in their (fallen) image. This will not end well without a eucatastrophe (I’ve been waiting all week to use Tolkien’s word since the Rings of Power was released!!).

    We need to find a way to reach all the people who have been deluded by the presence of fake Christians leading our government down the progressive’s path of non-believers. We have yet to elect a national leader who does not profess tp believe Christian teaching but that coming from those now leading us is the actual big lie of today.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I believe all the progressive actions to remove Christian influence from the lives of Americans and American culture are without doubt the greatest threat to our people and all the people on earth. The Court decision to remove the killing of the babies from any federal oversight is an inspiration to those who have opposed legalized abortion.

    Yes, Marxists have always known Christianity is the greatest obstacle to their aims and have long sought to supplant it with the religion made in their (fallen) image. This will not end well without a eucatastrophe (I’ve been waiting all week to use Tolkien’s word since the Rings of Power was released!!).

    We need to find a way to reach all the people who have been deluded by the presence of fake Christians leading our government down the progressive’s path of non-believers. We have yet to elect a national leader who does not profess tp believe Christian teaching but that coming from those now leading us is the actual big lie of today.

    I mostly agree, except for maybe Donald Trump. I think he honestly portrayed himself as Christian-adjacent (as the kids say), rather than a professing Christian. 

    • #5
  6. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I believe all the progressive actions to remove Christian influence from the lives of Americans and American culture are without doubt the greatest threat to our people and all the people on earth. The Court decision to remove the killing of the babies from any federal oversight is an inspiration to those who have opposed legalized abortion.

    Yes, Marxists have always known Christianity is the greatest obstacle to their aims and have long sought to supplant it with the religion made in their (fallen) image. This will not end well without a eucatastrophe (I’ve been waiting all week to use Tolkien’s word since the Rings of Power was released!!).

    We need to find a way to reach all the people who have been deluded by the presence of fake Christians leading our government down the progressive’s path of non-believers. We have yet to elect a national leader who does not profess tp believe Christian teaching but that coming from those now leading us is the actual big lie of today.

    I mostly agree, except for maybe Donald Trump. I think he honestly portrayed himself as Christian-adjacent (as the kids say), rather than a professing Christian.

    I don’t think my position requires that a non-Christian be a progressive but the Marxist progressive doctrine is not acceptable to a Christian, it can be unacceptable to non-Christians as well.

    • #6
  7. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    To “discriminate” ….

    1. recognize a distinction; differentiate
    2. make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, sex, age, or disability.

    Synonyms (for #1): differentiate; distinguish; discern

    Clearly, in our cancel culture environment, definition number one has been cancelled and prohibited from ever being utilized or defended. It also requires the use of one’s intellect, reason and logic, which are also banned due to their inherent racist elements. You must not think for yourself, just do whatever your government and Dear Leader tells you to do.

    However, as the post recognizes, a conservative is compelled to think for themselves. They understand creation and the order of the world created by the Divine Creator, in whom they believe …

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Such knowledge requires and compels one to make distinctions and differentiate between good and bad, divine and evil, as well as human pride and divine virtue. Liberal pieties are the antithesis of this distinction and differentiation, and are rightly to be discarded on their face. They are made purely of emotion, human pride and all of its vices, and rather than being voluntarily accepted they are forced down the throats of an otherwise free people by an evil and prideful government and its supporting institutions.

    • #7
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Interesting post.  It makes me wonder what you — and Kimball — mean by “prejudice” and “bigotry.”

    As an example, what is the difference between: (1) a person who is manifesting bigotry, and (2) a person who is demonstrating the courage of his convictions?  Merriam-Webster defines bigotry as “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices.” 

    Merriam-Webster defines “prejudice” in several ways, with the definitions that appear most applicable to the present post being: (1) “an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics,” and (2) “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.”

    In usage, though, “prejudice” or “bigotry” seem to be used to condemn any negative opinion about any person or group, whether such opinion has a basis or not.

    Are we not allowed to form negative judgments?  Are we not allowed to believe that we are right? 

    All of this rhetoric seems, to me, to be tied to the idea of “tolerance,” which generally seems to be presented as an unalloyed good.

    • #8
  9. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    We use the word conservative because socialists stole our word when socialism lost its cache but conservative simply doesn’t fit American constitutional liberalism, designed to survive the universal, historical concentration of power, political and otherwise.  Conservative is a good word but it fits anywhere and any person who is comfortable with personal, political, or economic status quo that eases forward comfortably whatever that status quo is.  It’s good we can call them socialists, marxists totalitarians again because unlike the term conservative it is a specific thing and it ends up the same, always everywhere.  

    • #9
  10. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Interesting post. It makes me wonder what you — and Kimball — mean by “prejudice” and “bigotry.”

    As an example, what is the difference between: (1) a person who is manifesting bigotry, and (2) a person who is demonstrating the courage of his convictions? Merriam-Webster defines bigotry as “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices.”

    Merriam-Webster defines “prejudice” in several ways, with the definitions that appear most applicable to the present post being: (1) “an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics,” and (2) “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.”

    In usage, though, “prejudice” or “bigotry” seem to be used to condemn any negative opinion about any person or group, whether such opinion has a basis or not.

    Are we not allowed to form negative judgments? Are we not allowed to believe that we are right?

    All of this rhetoric seems, to me, to be tied to the idea of “tolerance,” which generally seems to be presented as an unalloyed good.

    Bigotry is irrational. Personally, I prefer the word discriminatory, taking root in the same place as discernment. The ability to differentiate what is right and wrong, good and evil, wise and foolish.

    • #10
  11. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Interesting post. It makes me wonder what you — and Kimball — mean by “prejudice” and “bigotry.” SNIP

    Merriam-Webster defines “prejudice” SNIP: (1) “an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics,” and (2) “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.”

    In usage, though, “prejudice” or “bigotry” seem to be used to condemn any negative opinion about any person or group, whether such opinion has a basis or not.

    Are we not allowed to form negative judgments? Are we not allowed to believe that we are right?

    All of this rhetoric seems, to me, to be tied to the idea of “tolerance,” which generally seems to be presented as an unalloyed good.

    The cancel culture will not at all allow for anything but the exaltation of “tolerance” into a special status of unalloyed good, as you expressed it.

    Nothing will convince a member of the Truly Progressive to abandon tolerance and allow it to step aside even when condemnation is demanded of the situation.

    Yesterday on social media, a TikTok of an assault against a young HS student by another male, clearly older and taller and 2 and 1/2 times his weight, went viral.

    The diminutive white boy walks into a school bathroom, is pummelled by the older person, who is also an African American. the pummeling of the kid taking the beating is rather boring for the attacker, so he whiplashes the kid;s neck and head into the side of a tiled wall. Then with the boy prostrate below him, he stomps on various arts of the boy;s body.

    Satisfied the quarry is almost lifeless, the perp grabs the boy’s back pack, and flanked by two pals, he leaves the restroom.

    Most comments were what you would expect. People expressed horror and shock. Some mentioned that 6 or 7 seconds into the vid, they had to click out of it – it was too horrible.

    But one young woman demanded we consider in holding off on judging the assailant. After all, she mused, what if the smaller individual had made a racist remark before the assault began? She then let us know that “since it was possible” the younger boy used the “n” word, his extreme beating was a very very deserved result.

    The woman positing this evil tirade appears in her avatar to be a sensibly dressed 20 something suburbanite. I suspect she has never spent a day outside of suburbia. Any younger students attending a HS with older, gangsta styled black students are going to use street smarts and make sure they don’t make racist remarks.

    I made the comment that even if this young boy had made the remark, a slap across the top of his head by someone bigger would be punishment enough. But this woman truly thinks that almost being killed is exactly what anyone using the “n” word would deserve.

    • #11
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