Before I’m thrown under the bus for the title read the passage below.  It reminds me a lot of what Eric said back in May.

Dinesh D’Souza in his book Letters to a Young Conservative says the following:

Typically, the conservative attempts to conserve, to hold on to the values of the existing society. But what if the existing society is liberal? What if the existing society is inherently hostile to conservative beliefs? It is foolish for conservatives to attempt to conserve that culture. Rather, he must seek to undermine it, to thwart it, to destroy it at the root level. This means that the conservative must stop being conservative. More precisely, he must be philosophically conservative but temperamentally radical.

Why would we want to conserve a culture that is hostile to conservative beliefs?  We shouldn’t.

Thoughts?  What does being philosophically conservative but temperamentally radical look like?

HT: Blue Dot Blues

15 comments
  1. Being temperamentally radical today in a society which is culturally hostile to conservative beliefs sounds just like what being a liberal used to be long ago, temperamentally radical in a society culturally hostile to the same beliefs we hold to today.

    It's a matter of image, what kind of society we live in and what kind of culture we see. Our philosophical beliefs haven't changed; everything else has. And now, if you don't mind, I shall proceed to throw you under the bus.

  2. Morgan – who said anything about changing our beliefs (conservatives that is)? I didn't, neither did D'Sousa.

    I think our society's cultural shift is more than just image, could you explain that?

  3. When the statement is explained, it makes sense.

    That said, it *has* to be explained to be understood as the person means it, so it's not a very good phrasing; additionally, the phrasing plays into the standard “progressive” claim that we're all evil hypocrites.

    The phrase also assumes that because the loud ones believe X, which is counter to conservative beliefs, then there isn't a culture to conserve any more.

    It might be useful to study the “revolutionary” tactics, as applied to trying to sway “progressives”, but giving up on the culture as a whole is…well, defeatist and flat-out annoying, really. Right up there with the biologist that informed my mother that bald eagles only eat fish while just down the kill one was working on a dead calf.

    (Disqus doesn't seem to be letting me sign in, BTW)

  4. I don't think he's saying give up on culture, but rather stop playing defense… go on offense.

    I understand your point, but having read D'Sousa's stuff I know that isn't where he's coming from.

  5. I've no doubt he's not saying “change your beliefs”– thing is, I'm a sympathetic reader, and most folks *aren't*; part of the tactics of the left is to be very careful of your phrasing to keep from handing “enemies” a useful line like that.

    (Side note: given the “if you disagree, you're evil” tenancies of the left, I'm not to hot on taking their tactics.)

  6. Unlike the left, he's reasonable, so I don't think that's where he's going either.

    Read my friend's post (linked above) it dovetails nicely with this. When you really think about it, in a lot of circles we are going against the flow.

  7. The idea that we now should be “temperamentally radical” struck me as a matter of image. We're not at all radicals, not even temperamentally, but with the cultural shift you speak of, it seems like a change of image to me.

    I know neither you nor D'Souza said anything about our beliefs changing. I simply noted it as a comparison to our changing society and culture.

  8. Just a thought here… it seems like we've have this idea that liberals accomplished what they have in our culture through protest, etc. If you were to look at how secular progressive values permeated our culture… it wasn't through protest, rallies, etc. It was through subversiveness by making inroads in the things that contribute to culture – education, art, etc.

    Taking an evangelical slant to D'Sousa's statement here, he's not saying let go of the values, or even the culture, but to remember that this is a long-term campaign. It starts and ultimately ends for me as an evangelical via the Great Commission. Seeing Christ transform a heart transforms culture.

  9. A friend made a similar comment about this yesterday. I am part of a local Down's syndrome group in Austin, Texas. Which happens to be one of the more radically liberal cities in our very conservative state. Anyway, every time I made a post that defened conservative views or sarah palin, my posts were censored and kept from the group, while Palin bashers and other liberal posts were given free reign. For months I kept my mouth shut, and just figured it was time to get back in the closet with my conservative values.

    Yesterday I had enough, and made my stand that I refused to support a group that continued to do this. I told them I was disgusted with the way they censored family values and then claimed to be supportive of families with kids who happened to have Down's syndrome. Lo and behold, not an hour after I made my stand all of my conservative postings showed up in succession. Some were even a coupl of months old.

    My friend commented that she was surprised how tolerant I had been for months. She said that she found it interesting that I was actually the liberal one showing more tolerance than they would ever be. I was shocked at first, but after reading the article it makes much more sense.

    Hiding our heads in the sand and going into the closet with our conservative views may be the conservative thing to do, but it will be our downfall. I hate to admit it, but we need to fight for what we believe in. Even if it means getting ugly, and getting our hands dirty. We need to learn the rules for radicals and use them to our benefit. Either to counter act the manipulation used by the liberals, or to get our agenda heard.

    I do not advocate violence and I do not think anyone does, but we need to be pushing that envelope, or we have everything to lose.

  10. I think you misunderstood the point. One of the conservative values we have held on to for too long is that it is not cool to rock the boat. We believed that for the good of our country we should take the higher road and not try to fight, and never try to manipulate public opinion like the other side has done. While that appears to be the holy and pious thing to do, it has not helped one bit.

    Well, we need to start paying attention to how the liberals do things. We need to learn how to use a crisis situation to our advantage, without creating one of course. We need to study the Rules for Radicals and use them for good instead of evil.

    That, in no way, is changing our fundamental views. He does not want us to conform our values to todays culture, he wants us to learn better ways to get our views heard. If that means getting our hands dirty every once in awhile, then so be it.

    It is the basic interpretation of “the end justifies the means.” In other words:

    At the beginning of an action I might not be able to determine whether that action is morally right or wrong, but when the morally right goal is successfully achieved, then the steps which led to it must be morally right too.

    Morality aside, “the end justifies the means” teaches us not to shoot ourselves in the foot.

  11. I might have misunderstood the point, but your comment leaves me a bit unnerved.

    Fighting the Left is something we should be doing, but I honestly don't know if an ends-justify-the-means approach is a good idea. Nor do I know for sure if not trying to manipulating public opinion has been detrimental for conservatives. What you suggest strikes me as Machiavellian and deceptive.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Unlike Frank Luntz, I Have Hope for Millenials

Frank Luntz declared that Republicans have lost the Millenial generation, but those who engage, inspire and challenge Millenials will make inroads with them.

Defend Christian Businesses Against Lynch Mobs of Secular Groupthink

Future lynch mobs will target more Christian owned businesses for their refusal to defy secular group think. The Church will need to rally to their defense.

The Danger of Safe Abortions

The trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell was one of those creepy stories…

Fetal Farming (Updated)

I rarely frequent the Huffington Post, and now I remember why.  I…