The blog where I rant about things that should be obvious to everyone

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is Principled Conservatism Wrong?

I used to be into principled conservatism.  But after stumbling my way into the manosphere, I’ve found that it’s a concept I no longer believe in.  The idea is that conservatives should have principles that they follow, and as long as they are followed, they’ll lead to better government.  This is true for both the voters and the politicians.  

Here’s the thing.  Communists have principles too.  And as a good conservative I learned to mock communists, not because their principles are wrong, but because communism doesn’t work.  It’s been tried.  Over and over.  And at the end of the day it’s a failed system.  

But why?  Why does communism fail?  As a former good conservative I know the answer.  It’s because human nature doesn’t work that way.  You can say “from each according their ability and to each according to their need” till you’re blue in the face.  Without extra incentives, you’ll be lucky to get people to do the bare minimum.  And everyone is going to claim to need much more than they do if it’s free.  So sorry communists.  Your system doesn’t work.  

The hard part is that we can turn that same logic on ourselves, and if you are still a principled conservative, it doesn’t turn out too well.  Let’s look at some.  One principle is that if you take the high road and don’t get into the mud with your opponents throwing around petty insults, you’ll win in the long run.  How’s that worked out?  Trump didn’t subscribe to that at all, and he steam rolled 18 “above it” contestants.  

Maybe getting into the mud like Trump did isn’t going to win every time, but it did this time.  And if you principles only apply sometimes, they are not principles at all.  

And that’s not all.  As a good conservative I used to believe that constitutional democracy was the best form of government, and that all people would prefer it if only they could throw off their chains and try it.  The Arab spring sure proved me wrong there.  I used to think that America had a transformational way of life, and that the huddled masses of immigrants coming here would be changed with a taste of freedom.  After looking at voter trends, I’ve been disabused of that one as well.  Of course as a Christian, I shouldn’t have been fooled anyway.  The Church, backed by the transformational power of the Holy Spirit, is nowhere near so powerful in making people change.  It was never so foolish as to claim to.  

So at the end of the day, what is the conclusion?  Principles are not worthless, but we are flawed when we form them.  Results remain important.  If you have principles that are contradicted by how the world actually works, they are wrong.  Even if they came from incredibly smart people like Mises or Hayak.  This is why the Alt-Right is superior to principled conservatism.  Being results based rather than principles based has allowed them to avoid the false principles that has caused conservatism to fail for as long as it’s existed.