Coming out as a conservative …

I tried to suppress my conservative tendencies at first. I convinced myself that they would eventually pass, like adolescent hot flashes. … I behaved like a 40-year-old married father who suddenly realizes that he’s gay, and doesn’t know what to do.
There were early signs of my tendency, and in retrospect they were clearly recognizable. [A] friend of mine from school, even claims that she has always known about it. When we talked about our younger days at a class reunion three years ago and I mentioned switching sides politically, she looked at me with pity in her eyes and said: “[Y]ou were never truly liberal. It was always just a pose for you.” I felt as if I’d been caught in the act, and yet she didn’t mean it in a bad way.
The hardest part about being a late conservative is coming out. It’s a moment you postpone for as long as possible. You worry about the way colleagues will react, and you don’t want to humiliate your parents. My mother will be 73 this year, an age at which she is increasingly unlikely to ever shed her prejudices against conservatives. She tries to be polite in conversation and not let anyone see how she really feels, but sometimes her prejudices emerge with a clarity that even I find shocking.

Jan Fleischhauer

Quote of the Day

The conservative revolution was supposed to be a revolution. It has not been. It has been an insurgency. And while that insurgency captured a vast swath of open territory, it failed utterly to capture the key citadels of American culture, beginning with American higher education.

Academics control the narrow neck through which America’s managers, writers, thinkers, bankers, politicians, and executives must pass, and that passage has acquired an atmosphere, no matter how self-pityingly the academic left likes to deny it, in which Left assumptions are set as the default positions

Conservatives made the disastrous mistake of assuming that if they abandoned those tedious and expensive plans to lay siege to the university, they would be free to move on to the larger and more easily-annexed plains of government and finance. They were wrong. Governments change, finances crash, but the faculty is forever.

Alan Guelzo, Conservatism’s Greatest Failure: The Academy

Politics and Education

According to this, voters with postgraduate educations supported Obama by 58% versus 40% for McCain.

This article suggests that the election results can be characterized as “the triumph of the creative class,” with “creative class” drawn from “Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the younger, go-go set in the financial world.”

For discussion: what, if anything, should Republicans/conservatives/libertarians do to increase their appeal to these categories of voters?

Let me get things off to a contentious start by suggesting that the “creative class” tag is more than a little presumptuous. Is a stock trader really more creative than a production control specialist in a factory, or a platoon commander in the Marines? (Indeed, I’ve seen research suggesting that the cognitive skills of a good trader and a good combat commander have a lot of similarities.) Is a computer programmer automatically more creative than a mechanical engineer? Is it really true that spreadsheet mavens on Wall Street are more creative than small businesspeople? Is a professor of electrical engineering inherently more creative than a practitioner of the same field who works for a defense contractor?

Maybe “credentialed class” would be a more realistic descriptor than “creative class.”

What say you?

Kesler: “What McCain did Right and Conservatives Wrong”

My friend Bruce Kesler no longer is a “regular” blogger but he has recently found the time for an occasional guest-post at Maggie’s Farm. It’s good to see Bruce back in the game even on a sometime basis and I’m pleased to point your attention to his following post:

Appearances and Mood

What McCain did right and conservatives wrong

By Bruce Kesler

Over the past four years, conservatives have debated whether the Republican Party is serving them and the country. This discussion was stirred by several proposals by the Bush administration — particularly not vetoing some budget-busters, the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and the immigration reforms that didn’t prioritize border controls – and the failure to fire back at the gross distortions and language by opponents.

Bush earned respect for his stalwart stance in
Iraq, but even there lost points for his failure to act earlier to change a troubled strategy and command. Seeming backpeddling and soft-shoeing on the threats from Iran and
North Korea, though following closer to the liberals’ playbook, didn’t earn him support from liberals or conservatives.

The debate among conservatives and libertarians after this election is likely to grow much more heated, whether McCain wins or loses.

Although conservatives have stood most strongly behind McCain, conservatives do not expect much thanks or loyalty from McCain if he wins, and do expect McCain to continue his practice of alliance with many liberal proposals, as he has in the past. That alone will add heat the pot. On the other hand, conservatives will welcome his Trumanesque temper and bluntness replying to the likely continuation of intemperate Democrats in the Congress.

If McCain loses, conservatives will likely place most of the blame on him and his campaign for failing to take more advantage of Obama’s coterie of radical mentors, to alert more voters of their dangers.

At the same time, in defense of McCain’s campaign approach, those most likely to hold these associations as important are aware of them. Meanwhile, in a campaign during which the overwhelming portion of the major media have utterly failed to research or expose Obama’s lack of record and record of shady allies, McCain would likely not have gotten much further in educating the wider public.

So, McCain has concentrated on trying to woo marginal voters. Those non-partisans react more to appearances and mood.

McCain earned none of the points he should have for trying to tackle the credit-economic meltdown, even by comparison to Obama’s passivity. Neither did McCain draw attention to the Congress’ tainted hands in creating it, but there are many Republican members who sat by and prospered from the false sense of well-being that preceded the deluge. McCain did not throw the Congressional Republicans under the bus, as Obama repeatedly did every time a mentor was exposed. And, McCain did exhibit a bully optimism in reacting to the meltdown and focused on quick actions.

It is that indefatigable optimism and sense of fair play that has been highlighted and redounded to his credit. This is in line with his military and political record of bravely meeting challenges. Despite every odd, McCain has fought the election to a near thing.

Conservatives must recognize that, for any of McCain or his campaign’s failings, it is among conservatives that reform must come. Much of our NY-DC commentariat are corrupted by overlong proximity to comfortable power and cocktail circuits, exhibiting callowness, lethargy or outright capitulation. Their lack of principle and intestinal fortitude must be replaced. Much of our bloggers have been consumed by editorializing and not organizing. The think-tanks we built and many major donors have been cringing or avoiding confrontation. Rank and file conservatives mostly looked to this inadequate leadership instead of to ourselves to step forward and fight.

It will take a major overhaul to revive the conservative movement. As in 1964, it will not come from the establishment, but must depend on openness to new participants and leaders. Of course, that does not mean fringe elements or ideas. The crucial role that National Review played post-1964 in guarding against that will require a new central forum of conservative sanity and principle.

No one can predict where they will come from. But they must be encouraged, welcomed and supported when they appear. Indeed, each of us must see in ourselves the willingness and determination to be those participants and leaders

Wise words.

American conservatism needs a substantial overhaul – perhaps even a 12 Step program – to recover it’s essence as an optimistic philosophy that profoundly empowers individuals and trusts them to make their own choices. Then, in my opinion, conservatives need to harness that spirit to a thorough comprehension of how globalization changed the world to operate in terms of metasystems and networks, so as to balance economic dynamism with resiliency (and learn how to get that point across in normal English). Then go on message and do not deviate.

The other side, if Senator Obama wins Tuesday, will be so consumed with jerry-rigging top-down, hierarchical, statist, solutions out of a fantasist version of the New Deal that they will inevitably overreach and create an opening for a new brand conservatism four years from now.

Or perhaps just two years. Time to get busy.

Those Who Live in Glass Houses…

The latest kurfuffle in this years election is how a Representative from Georgia, a Democrat, accused Republican John McCain of creating the same “hateful atmosphere” that was fostered by Gov. George Wallace with his racist and segregationist policies.

Someone needs to pull the honorable lawmaker aside and explain that George Wallace was a fellow Democrat. While they are at it, they might also mention that most of the truly ardent racists during the Civil Rights era were Democrats, while the Republicans were the people who did the most to advance the cause of equality.