I probably shouldn’t have used the word “conservative” to describe myself as I did in this morning’s posting; people will get the wrong idea. I am small-c conservative in that I am risk averse. The larger the system at stake, the less I approve of risks. It’s best if a new system can be bootstrapped in parallel with or on top of an old system…
Politically I am a Trudeau Liberal and always have been, since Trudeau showed up. I believe in the redemptive power of the collective in a mixed economy. I am pragmatic but I don’t think that means unimaginative. I think any nerd who spent his thirteenth summer at a world’s fair would be awfully churlish to deny the possibility that government can be a force for growth, creativity and human dignity. I realize this is hopelessly out of fashion, but I;ve never been a creature of fashion.
In American parlance a “Conservative” can often be someone who doesn’t believe that the collective will is a meaningful proposition, and that any attempt to embody a collective will in government is therefore a form of tyranny.
This isn’t just not to my taste. It is utterly delusional.
I just picture somebody with an advanced degree in economics from a state university driving down a federal highway sipping coffee made from municipal water obtained from state water projects and beans purchased under terms of international trade agreements agreed to by his senate as he approaches his zoned community using a gasoline supply stabilized by various military endeavors. Such a person can easily be imagined zealously making this argument that there is no collective, and that government is tyranny, perhaps to his attorney or investment advisor, or perhaps even to his children’s nanny who has a dubious immigration status and lives in terror of being shipped back to some blighted land where there is no embodiment of the collective will. A person arguing in this stunningly reality-oblivious way is not “conservative” in the sense of risk-averse, nor in the sense of protective of the hard won resources to which we owe thanks to our ancestors and predecessors, nor even in the unsavory sense of protective of inherited privilege.
To call him conservative is an abuse of traditional uses of the word “conservative”. No, the word for such a person is “idiot”.
I respectfully disagree with those who want to keep the role of government to an absolute minimum on economic reasoning. But the idea that the minimum is ideally zero is just historically ignorant. I always wonder where those people, who somehow think private cars are the ultimate expression of their freedom, think the roads they drive on come from.