It is important that we continue to think.
Conservatives must rigorously apply the full capacity of our reason and intellect to evaluate any substantial idea. It’s possible that this is one reason why conservatism has lost so much ground over the past three decades. At some point along the way, we stopped challenging and defeating the failed ideas of the Left; either because we took it for granted that Americans understood the worth of conservatism, or because those with the best means of conservative communication weren’t equipped to fulfill that task successfully.
Even today, despite the fact that we have a number of large, articulate voices fighting the good fight, we continue to allow flawed logic to pass as if it was valid. Any time we allow the discussion to move forward under illogical premises, we lend credibility where there should be none.
Thus modern liberalism, founded on the failed political fallacies of generations past, has staked its exclusive claim to be the default setting for American intellectualism, thereby drawing young minds as moths to a funeral pyre. Overwhelmingly, it’s the conservative who is painted as a luddite; this despite the fact that modern liberalism still drives the same broken-down ideological Yugo with nothing more than a fresh coat of Kool-Aid-red paint. Somehow we are idiots because we don’t believe in ideas which have failed whenever they have been implemented. And we allow this slander to stand.
The Neo-Utopianism of modern liberalism is a perfect example of an idea which must be strenuously challenged and defeated. This concept of a unified, benevolent government which triumphs over greed, corruption, and ignorance to create a blissful and progressive utopia has been selling t-shirts in this country ever since Dear Leader won the Democratic primary in 2007. It has become so prevalent (and powerful) that many of the feckless, so-called conservative politicians have decided to adopt this ideology instead of fighting it.
If it weren’t for talk-radio and a handful of reliable, conservative writers and filmmakers, we might be neck deep in Michelle’s Government cheese (lactose free!). Lord knows the ones who should be protecting us from totalitarian utopianism want nothing more than to get their hands on the soft-tyranny machine known as the government of the United States of America.
Why does Utopia fail? Why is it such a bad idea, apart from the fact that it has never worked? For the same reason in each and every case: some people suck. In a sense, we should agree with Jean-Paul Sartre when he wrote, “Hell is other people”. Conservative thought says that this is true, but not in a misanthropic sense. Sartre is correct because the downfall of Utopia is humanity itself, more specifically a subsection of humanity which will never buy into the namby-pamby idealism which Utopia requires to function.
During a recent trip back home, I wanted to provide my family with an authentic glimpse at the weird underbelly of Oregon. Our last night there, I booked us a room at a popular hotel east of Portland. The facility is a former “poor farm” of the county, which began housing and feeding the area’s paupers in the mid-19th century. Since then, it was purchased and rehabbed into a hotel by a successful Oregonian brewery. The site boasts a brewery, a winery, a handful of restaurants, an outdoor concert venue, a small movie theater, and even a seven-foot tall bronze statue of Jerry Garcia.
As we arrived and walked around the property, it was apparent that the facility was alive with a bohemian spirit of jubilance which is quintessentially Oregonian. We walked through the gardens, picking and eating berries from the wild berry bushes on the property. Then we dined on food at the main restaurant which had been grown in the same gardens we had just perused. Finally, we headed up to our room, which was decorated entirely with a hand-painted mural, depicting a local folk hero. It was a blissful evening and a truly unique experience and I was proud of myself for introducing my true-blue Midwestern family to the best of Oregon’s eccentricities.
Shortly thereafter, the compost hit the fan.
After obtaining the keys to our domicile, we discovered that the bathrooms were communal, there was only 1 bed in the room for the 3 of us, and our windows opened directly onto a sun porch where I swear Cheech & Chong were reliving the good old days. (This is what happens when you hire hippies to run the reservation desk of a hotel.)
Once we had taken a few trips up to the front desk, to get our reservation straightened out, we noticed that the hallways smelled like a cross between an aquarium that should’ve been cleaned out three weeks ago and poop. Those fun-loving bohemians who were inhabiting that peaceful community of love and peace spent the entire night running up and down the halls, puking in the communal bathroom next door, and screaming the lyrics to Phish songs in the courtyard outside the window of our new room.
This is why Utopianism fails and will always fail. There will always be those who selfishly exploit a situation for their own benefit, either through malice, ignorance, or selfishness. There will never be a time when everyone will willingly follow the rules to the benefit of all. That’s why utopian paradise quickly turns to dystopian totalitarianism; because some people won’t stop peeing in the pool. History and common sense demonstrate the foolishness of such ideology and yet it lingers in the air like the smog from Al Gore’s private jet.
In the 80’s, conservatives like the Gipper, Margaret Thatcher, Solzhenitsyn, Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley, and others worked to deflate the intellectual viability of communism. They combated it so successfully that for a time communism became a laughing-stock amongst all but the most die-hard apparatchiks. If we mean to eliminate the progressive utopianism taking root in today’s America, then our burgeoning ranks of conservative political leaders would do well to follow in the footsteps of our conservative predecessors.
Upper Image: http://thecollaboratory.wikidot.com/philosophy-of-thought-and-logic-2011-2012