Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cleaning House

It seems appropriate, at this juncture, to set the tone for the discussion and debate this blog heartily anticipates. I think I can speak for all the contributors to "Case 4 for the Right" when I say that we categorically distance ourselves from the unthinking, visceral pontifications that so often pass for conservative thinking in certain quarters. By way of illustration, a few vows: I will never equate a measured criticism of existing American policy with lack of patriotism. Sometimes the most patriotic thing to do is to dissent, and this unfortunate fact cuts both ways. I will never focus attacks on peripheral issues or straw men, but will attempt to grapple with the essential nature of a given debate. I will endeavor to fully understand and empathize with the positions I critique, and I will always try to feel the weight of arguments directed against me. Our mandate is not to blindly defend the words and actions of all professing conservatives, but to articulate the tenets of an inclusive and "mere" conservative orthodoxy.

The contributors to this blog will perhaps disagree on a number of issues. Almost certainly some responders will disagree. The beauty of liberal democracy ["liberal" in the 19th century sense of generosity and liberty] is that we all agree to have our debates and elections and then go home. We don't bring our armies with us back to Rome. I believe that there is such a thing as truth and that there's only one of it; but I also believe that it's really big, with a lot of contours.

Incidentally, to my way of thinking, that's one of the reasons for smaller government. There are too many right ways of doing things for coercion and uniformity to win the day. (And yet, there is such a thing as error too. "If men were angels, no government would be necessary": let the debates begin!)


  1. "There are too many right ways of doing things for coercion and uniformity to win the day." Brilliant. Also, government control--of anything--is a monopoly, and monopolies become notoriously stagnant once the competition has been squashed.

  2. Definitely the spirit we'd like to maintain here. Given that topics like politics, religion and philosophy involve many deeply held personal beliefs, it's often difficult to distinguish between arguing ideas and personal attacks.

    That makes it even more important to stick to the former and avoid the latter. If we keep our arguments "above the belt" and stick to issues and ideas, I expect this place can be an excellent Conservative breeding ground.

  3. "Sometimes the most patriotic thing to do is to dissent..."

    Look for this argument, worn right through to the core by the Left, to amazingly become a bit passé during the next 4 years.