Thursday, May 7, 2009

More torture at What's Wrong with the World

Jeff Martin (Maximos) at What's Wrong with the World believes the political right is careening into Unseen Chasms of Perdition over the waterboarding issue. I have begged to differ:


It seems to me you employ a great deal of purple prose in order to lay out a very simple thesis: so-called "social conservatives" are leaving the political right over the torture issue. When stated so simply, is the thesis true? Is it relevant? Does it make any difference?

I answer "no" to all the above. Anyone who would abandon genuine conservatism, the great treasury of tradition and metaphysical verity, over something as minor as this, must not understand what conservatism is really about; and must, frankly, have been looking for an excuse to leave. Sorry, I don't buy the "torture pushed me out of the party" line; nor do I believe that waterboarding and abortion are similar enough to warrant mutual inclusion under the generic heading, "dignity of life issues."

But if the social conservatives whom you speak about are so concerned about eliminating both - fine. Let them leave the political right. Let them become conservative Democrats, if that's their fancy. They will enjoy the company of Colin Powell, Scott McClellan, and Christopher Buckley; but I wouldn't expect even vestigial traces of their erstwhile conservatism to survive for very long in that acid bath.

Should the political right really care if they go? Should they fear the diminished (and doubtful, and at any rate temporary) probability of electoral success that may result from not having these clowns in the party? Not at all. We stand for a body of truth and ideas that we proclaim both in season and out of season; truths that will ultimately carry the day because they issue from the wellspring of life itself.

By all means, go off and enjoy it. Comfort yourselves with the nostrum that you've rigorously adhered to principle (we all know it was just an expedient for expressing sour grapes). The political right will still be here when your little fad has run out of gas. We'll even take you back when you come to your senses. We'll be more than happy to overlook your transgressions and restore your reputation. We're like that; we're the forgiving sort.

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