Before the election of Donald Trump as President Of The United States and the Presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, politics in the United States was about the interplay between Republican Party conservative views and Democratic Party liberal views. There was little room for anything else, but variations on conservative and liberal.
Conservative means to save what you have. Liberal means we have to do better. Conservative thought is that if you try to do much with what is, it will only make matters worse. Liberal thought is that things can get much better through progress.
Conservatives believe that the world used to be much better in the past. Liberals believe it could be better in the future. Conservatives consider how we have lost our way. Liberals want a new way.
As a young man, I was opposed to the war in Vietnam and to war in general. I was convinced that their must be a better way for men to settle their differences. I was against poverty, including poor people starving to death. I believed that pollution of the Earth was bad and needed to be stopped. I believed that electing people to political office to fix these things wasn’t enough. Power needed to be given to the People to get things done right. I considered my world view to be radical.
With the popularity of Sanders and Trump, the political label of Populist has come to describe something potentially powerful. Sanders seemed to have the backing of many people, but not powerful people. Trump got both. I sense that nothing much has changed. Sanders is still best described as a liberal and Trump a conservative. Trump can be described as being the new Hitler or the corporate businessman who has eliminated some of the middle people in governmental “paying for play” gaming or a sign of the cultural decay of America, what ever makes you feel like you have a way of handling a new playing field, but I think that confines of the field maintain the same restriction of dimension as before.
As a younger man, I thought that society needed changing and that change needed to be informed by science. I didn’t believe that any religion knew what they were doing. What bothered me most about religion was that they believed that they did.
That was then. The way I see things now is that science’s best guess that there has always been war, poverty and not knowing what to do, no longer works for me. The idea that step by step bit by bit, science will provide solutions to human misery is for the immature.
The more that science discovers, the more mystery is revealed. State of the art science believes that we create what is discovered by making a discovery or observation is what causes that which is observed. That’s just great.
In one way of looking at it, science now thinks that it makes stuff up the way that religion does. This reads like the Garden Of Eden myth. When Adam and Eve saw an apple, it was game over. Where once it was just eat and enjoy, now you could go get an apple for dessert.
The allure of thinking that we know things, is the appeal of thinking that through knowing we can make things better. We can make apples grow where we decide. We can make many forms of better apples by our design. This is liberal thought. The conservative critique is that we were better off not knowing, that ignorance was indeed bliss.
We live in a time, where more than ever we believe we had better stay informed, because we want a warning as to what might be coming to get us. There are so many culprits that we increasing deem some threats as being nonsense conspiracy theories, supported by “fake news.” Popular natural and social science says we need to beware of new viruses, the Russians, Donald Trump, climate change and bad immigration policies. There is much cultural support for ruling out the need to worry about aliens from outer space, artificial intelligence take over, and the return of the anti-Christ. Access to many high quality You Tube videos are eroding public confidence as to these and many other exclusions.
Most people worry about weird stuff happening for fun and stay focused on threats such as what might happen if they can’t pay the rent or make the mortgage payment or put gas in their car and other things they might be able to do something significant about.
In a practical way conservatism suggest that we are best to focus on self and family needs and the needs of our local communities, while still understanding how the distant can impact the local.
One often neglected strong likelihood is that we are all going to die. Technology may deliver us from death, but I don’t think we are wise to count on that. Better to think about the affect of letting go of the need for the next moment to be as good as or better than the last one. This is the essence of conservatism and a fine home for old men.