Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A conservative liberal?

In constitutional law we discussed the fact that the supreme court's ability to check the constitutionality of something (called "judicial review") is undemocratic, since they are not elected and cannot be held accountable for most actions. The response to this is: good.

It sees that the more democratic a governmental official is, by which I mean the more accountable he or she is to his or her constituents, the less reason is involved in decisions and votes. People become slaves to the mob and popular opinion.

Mind you, this is a great thing in many (if not most) situations. The problem is that popular opinion, especially in this world of 30 second commercials but probably since the dawn of time, has never been the most logical and reasonable thing to work with. A lynch mob isn't interested in philosophical discussion.

And so, while it is important to listen to the crowd, it is also crucial to consider centuries of logic, reason, and learning. Whether that background can save us from ourselves is never assured (e.g. Dred Scot, slavery, the rights of nonpropertied individuals, etc.), it remains our last, best hope.

So I've decided that I do actually have some conservative values. I think, for all that I'm a huge fan of swinging wildly liberal, I'm equally afraid of swinging wildly conservative. As this is the case, I'd rather be stuck in some unmoving middle ground than in a nation where rapid shifts result in instability. I believe that living at either extreme is dangerous and unhealthy for a population and a civilization. Consider communism in Russia and facism in Germany. Not the best of things.

Therefore, I'm going to revise my liberal opinion. Rather than being a straight progressive, I think I choose to be a gradual progressive. This means I can now call myself a moderate lib and mean it, rather than just saying it to pay lip service. I believe that I have tendencies to want to drift in the land of communism, and I'm going to guess that at least a few of those tendencies are improper.

All of this leaves me in a strange position that (surprise, surprise) works entirely to my advantage. I believe that the nation should remain in a state of gradual, start-and-stop progress. Yet I also believe it is my duty to speak for the more liberal side of the liberal party, because if I espouse moving toward the middle and both sides don't, then movement will shift to one direction or the other, which goes against my beliefs.

In other words, I should behave the way my gut wants me to behave, because my polar opposite (whoever that bastard is) almost certainly will do the same, and we need to offset each other.

Weird, huh? It's a little like state vote swapping, but on an individual level.

Luckily, my gut mostly doesn't want me to do very much and tends to suggest doing studies to make sure my opinion is right and is otherwise whiny and reactionary.

1 comment:

kay said...

Yay for conservatism!!!