Saturday, October 1, 2005

Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles, part 6

Kirk, again:

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems.

For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.


This is the principle of Kirk's with which I probably most strongly disagree. His notions of “preservation of classes” and “justification of inequality” spark a creepy negative reaction in me.

While I am certain that most conservatives have no desire to “keep anyone down,” this principle seems to help perpetuate the thought. “We need our happy slaves, after all.”

And, while I agree that equality and a just egalitarianism will not be seen this side of Heaven, the whole suggestion that, “The poor, ye will always have with you” has been used way too often to justify doing nothing.

I do agree with his suggestion that society requires honest and able leadership (now more than ever), but what's he getting to? It sure sounds like he's talking some serious class denigration or oppression or something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this one creeps me out.

As I have no doubt that most of our conservative friends don't wish to be oppressive towards “the lower classes,” I'd be glad to have someone give me a better interpretation of this principle, because the way he states his point leaves me very cold.


Eleutheros said...

Here is where classical conservativism breaks down. Alas, liberalism has nothing to offer in its place nor is there a solution to be found in libertarianism.

Kirk's sentiments are candid, and no, I wouldn't say that most conservatives don't want to 'put people down'. Not only conservatives but all who aspire toward wealth in the usual sense.

Conservatives and liberals alike make lousy economists. The liberal view of wealth is as if there is a pie that exists by fiat and all that is to be done is slice it up equitably. The conservative economist views wealtha a pie(s) that he has conjured out of thin air and is sharing with the rest of us. Both views are equally itiotic. But let me focus on the conservative view:

Conservatives use the term 'create wealth'. In our economic system at preasent that means 'creat debt'. If I had the readers here around the table with mugs of beer, I could expound this point to your satisfaction, but in our monetary system, money does not exist except in the form of debt. Therefore to the extent that anyone is wealthy, there is a proportional number of people who are indebtedt to them, that is, subservient to them economically.

Why do people allow that for themselves? Simply that in our culture we always think in the back of our minds that it could be us! Yes, a small adjustment in the scheme of things and *I* could be the rich one! And this because of viewing money as if it were real.

If you and your family want to eat this evening, your motivation for procuring a loaf of bread is very high. But the motivation is for procuring a second loaf is far, far less. The motivation for ten loaves of bread is practically nonexistent. Not so with money.

The economically conservaive DO want to keep people in a lower class and subservient. Eh .. but liberals do too, just under a different guise.

Dan Trabue said...