March 13, 2009

Alas, Babble On

There's discussion of John Derbyshire's How Radio Wrecks the Right.

Not twenty years ago the Republicans were the party of ideas.  The party of the future.  The party of insight. Now it's the party of Rush Limbaugh and Mike Huckabee.

What happened?  A Christian conservative poet might have an explanation:

...Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What's not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
Into weak hands, what's thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

I don't turn Limbaugh off when I chance on him, but I don't seek him out either.

IMHO serious conservative and libertarian thought acknowledges the necessity of difficult compromises between legitimate but conflicting values and aspirations. You don't win elections or a mass radio audience by talking about the tragic sense of life, but a political movement that ignores these things altogether will ultimately be trivial.

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