There are all kinds of conservatives and all kinds of conservatism.
Some people say there are three kinds of conservatives: economic, social, and national-security.
Then there's Ken Blackwell's six-legged stool: social conservatives, Christian conservatives, Second Amendment conservatives, economic conservatives, philosophical conservatives, national security conservatives.
How many conservatives does it take to change a light-bulb?
But for my money, the guy to watch is John Hawkins. You could call him a by-the-numbers conservative. Today, he's got "Five Ways Liberals Misjudge the American People." That's a helpful thing to know when liberals are about to cram down a government takeover of health care down your throat. It gives you hope that, when they are actually asked what they want, the American people will want the monstrosity of ObamaCare repealed.
How do liberals misjudge the American people? Hawkins counts the ways:
- They believe the American people want liberal policies.
- They believe that many Americans don't know what's in their own best interests.
- They believe that the American people want to be treated like children.
- They believe that most conservatives are evil.
- They believe they can lie to the American people without consequence.
Hawkins does a nice job of tossing these notions up in the air and snapping at them. But let us step back a moment. When you look at the five things that liberals believe about the American people that ain't so, you realize something.
If you wanted to cram down your agenda on the American people then you'd have to believe these things. You'd need to believe them in order to convince yourself that your cruel, corrupt, unjust program is the soul of caring, compassion, and justice. Of course the American want liberal things, except for those (in Kansas) that don't get it. Of course the American people want to be taken care of, otherwise the eevil corporations will get them. Of course conservatives are evil: they oppose all the good things that liberals want to do.
And of course it's necessary to tell a porky or two. Didn't Plato condone the "noble lie" so that the Guardians could create and sustain their Republic?
What I find astonishing, given the wall-to-wall liberal environment in which we live, is that something like the Tea Party movement is possible. As Hawkins says:
Your kids are exposed to liberalism at school, Hollywood forces liberal ideas down your throat when you watch TV, the local paper leans left -- you just can't get away from it.
So how come you can get, all of a sudden, out of a clear blue sky, a Tea Party movement with people waving Don't Tread on Me flags? These are not profound intellectuals who have studied the classics off in a corner at Hillsdale College. These are bread-and-butter Americans who go to work, obey the law, and pay their taxes. Yet they have somehow picked up a world-view that collides head on with their liberal masters.
As the philosophers say: How is that possible?
Like liberals, I sometimes think that we conservatives don't understand the American people at all!