When Conservatives Behave like Liberals
September 23, 2008
Of the current financial debacle, we
can be sure there’s plenty of blame to go around both sides of the
political aisle. To the chagrin of main street conservatives,
however, a whole lot of the blame can be laid at the feet of
renegade conservatives who sit in the highest seats of government —
renegades, because they behaved like liberals.
An undeserved insult to those conservatives? No, because their
behavior with respect to the corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac can’t be distinguished from that of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd,
Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, et al.
Moreover, it is a fact that from Alan Greenspan to members of
Congress (except for a few such as John McCain and John Sununu) to
bureaucrats in the administration to President Bush (where the buck
stops), those renegades perfectly took their cue from the liberal
bible as they promoted the "housing boom” by cheerleading for it,
financing it, and turning a blind eye, deaf ear, and dumb mouth to
the Everest of sham "sub-prime” loans that fueled it — all in a
dream-world-hatched, grand governmental scheme to create an
"The ownership society or bust!” How’s that for an example of the
stupid, dangerous audacity of hallucinated hope.
Yes, like liberals, those "big idea” conservatives knew better than
ordinary, common sense citizens, who would never have approved such
madness at the ballot box.
Like liberals they knew better than ordinary Americans — working
people and business owners alike — who live basically conservative
lives as they hold up their end of the social contract by exhibiting
the moral responsibility essential to the well being of a democracy.
Like liberals they considered the realities of human nature
irrelevant to the creation of public policy.
Like liberals, they knew better than the CEO of a financial
institution who appeared on a cable business show to say that his
company was unaffected by the mortgage disaster because it had
strictly adhered to the rule of granting mortgages only to qualified
buyers putting 20% down.
They knew better. And the debacle came.
Well, at least now Sarah Palin Americans know that whether it is an
Alan Greenspan or a Joe Biden lecturing them that they don’t know
how Washington "really works,” the only sensible response is, "Thank
Turning now to the "make no judgment about the markets” ideology of
those conservative renegades, we find that it makes them
indistinguishable from sixties space cadets whose entire
understanding of social responsibility is summed up in the
selfishness of "do your own thing.”
"Make no judgment?” What sheer stupidity. As every responsible
conservative knows, a people form government, despite its dangers,
precisely to make judgments and take actions to protect the society
from harm, including protecting its members from numerous forms of
morally and socially irresponsible behavior, a truth Roger Williams
excellently illustrated in 1655 with the ship metaphor of his
"Letter to the Town of Providence.”
Interestingly, Williams felt compelled to write that letter two
decades after Rhode Island was established as a colony that
respected individual freedom because a number of Pollyanna radicals
were proclaiming that "it is Blood-Guiltiness, and [opposed to] the
Rule of the Gospel, to execute Judgment upon Transgressors, against
the private or public Weal.”
In response to those whom today we call anarchists or absolute
libertarians, he proposed the image of a ship populated by diverse
people living in liberty.
Then, to those who "shut not their Eyes” he argued for the
punishment of "Trangressors” by the ship’s "Commanders,” thereby
disassociating himself from the notion that "because all are equal
in CHRIST, [there ought to be] no Masters, nor Officers, no Laws,
nor Orders, no Corrections nor Punishments.”
Applying Williams’ argument to our time, we can say that
conservatives of the ship called America believe in a crew that is
as small and efficient as possible, a crew that keeps its focus on
its most important duties, and, yes, a crew that keeps its
collective power sucking nose strictly under control.
With that concept in mind, what should we call the conservative
renegade crew who sat by issuing "no Laws, nor Orders, no
Corrections nor Punishments” in the face of anti-social behavior so
profound that it had the potential of throwing the nation, even the
world, into an economic depression.
I argue they ought to be called kin to the empty-headed anarchists
of the Rhode Island Colony or the pot-headed, "imagine there’s no
Heaven...no hell...nothing to die for” radic-libs of the "Woodstock
Colony.” After all, what are they but foolish idealists who reason,
"I imagine realities; therefore, they are real.”
What are they except dangerous, new age radicals madly rushing to
breathe life into a stupidly idealistic dream despite the fact that
failure will leave the ship only two options: (1) do nothing and
cause damage and suffering that could be catastrophic (2) administer
a super-sized dose of temporary socialism to prevent a catastrophe —
in either case, a monstrous price falling upon the passengers,
ordinary persons who live their daily lives according to age-old
Sorry for the slip, but, in truth, the crew have allowed for a third
option: Allow communist China and Middle Eastern dictatorships to
buy huge stakes in our financial institutions, a solution to the
problem that would demonstrate to the world just how dedicated the
United States is to multiculturalism and just how wide-open its
Ah, the ultimate "ownership society.”
How fitting to end a commentary about what happens when
conservatives behave like liberals with that astonishing irony.