Friday, December 09, 2016

A Liberal Discovers Conservatism

 I came across this piece in the New York Times recently, written by Mark Lilla, a humanities professor at Columbia. Here is an excerpt from the latter part of the piece.

"As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale. (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)

Teachers committed to such a liberalism would refocus attention on their main political responsibility in a democracy: to form committed citizens aware of their system of government and the major forces and events in our history. A post-identity liberalism would also emphasize that democracy is not only about rights; it also confers duties on its citizens, such as the duties to keep informed and vote. A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension."

That is an explanation of the conservative approach. The author, of course, does not see it that way. He thinks he is suggesting a whole new way of looking at liberalism.

Which reminds me of this hilarious article to which I think I have to linked before. The key paragraph being:

"So the story here is that a hippie accidentally stumbled upon the concepts of division of labor and trade and the science of economics. He came across all of it as if it were some weird new revelation that no one had ever thought of before, because clearly he has never thought about it before (and probably won’t, even now that he has stumbled across it)."

 A liberal who finds the outcome of our recent election "repugnant" has "accidentally stumbled" onto the key concepts of conservatism. Hopefully he will be able to persuade his audience to follow his lead. Pretty soon we will all be conservatives and having a much more peaceful political and cultural life.

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