A Conservative Recants

A reader writes:

"Actually, I don't consider you a conservative anymore either, for the same reasons I don't consider myself one anymore. In this day, in this country, to be a conservative is to buy into a program of relativism and deconstructionism (scientific knowledge in evolution and climate science is just one "perspective" or is totally unreliable because scientists are a bunch of liberals and science is just a political agenda). To be a conservative is to believe that good government rests on the personal character and godliness of an unshackled executive, not on the time-tested processes and institutions of democracy. To be a conservative is to let your worst enemies dictate your moral values. To be a conservative is to believe that insufficiently conservative judges are enemies of America and should be eliminated or marginalized as illegitimate.

Above all, to be a conservative is to use the power of the government to Christianize Americans and the US government to the greatest extent possible.

Andrew, today liberals are the better defenders of the enlightenment. Conservatives are the enemies of the enlightenment. So you want to cut entitlements? Pardon my French, but big fucking deal. You want to cut entitlements because you have weighed the evidence of their effectiveness and found it lacking. You're still part of the democratic machine and you still respect democratic reasoning.

Conservatives aren't as quaintly obsessed with evidence and balancing costs and benefits as you are. They want to cut benefits on principle, no matter what. They want to slash taxes as a first principle, expensive wars and basic human decency be damned. They are not rational decision makers in the sense that they distinguish between effective and ineffective programs. The slash taxes, period - no thinking required.

And - this isn't a minor point - they don't actually cut entitlements. They expand them. So there goes that argument.

My choice - and yours - is to join up with a reality-based community that trusts expertise, democratic processes, and established institutions and makes fact-based decisions (these days called liberals), or to join up with a community of relativistic mystics who are not open to reason or persuasion, distrust democracy, reject standards of behavior because they believe themselves to be inherently godly, and have no use for traditional democratic institutions. These tradition-despising relativistic mystics we call conservatives.

Andrew, you and I have much more in common with the liberals. Because they're more conservative."