Why are conservatives unserious?

Because, Alan Roebuck explains, in a society totally dominated by liberal modes of thought, being a serious conservative means being a radical.

Mr. Roebuck writes:

A couple of recent items at VFR (e.g., here) have discussed the failure of conservatives to deliver the goods. This reminds me of my American Thinker article, “Seeker-Sensitive Conservatism,” in which I make an analogy between a certain type of liberal pastor and typical conservative pundits: Both groups give people a popular message that they want to hear rather than a challenging true message that will anger and frighten the audience. Some excerpts:

But what does [the “Seeker-Sensitive” church movement] have to do with conservatism? Doesn’t the conservative movement stand in unambiguous opposition to the foolish and destructive ideas of the left? Don’t conservatives suffer the hostility and sometimes the persecution of the liberals and leftists who have de facto control of the universities, the media, and much of the government? How could conservatism be “seeker-sensitive?”

By failing to stand on principle. As I have argued in Liberalism 101, liberalism (i.e., the worldview of the left) has almost complete control of America. It is our “unofficial state religion.” But since liberalism is largely false, John Q. Public senses (even if he cannot articulate it) that something is seriously wrong with the ideas and policies he is relentlessly taught by the schools, the media and even, God help us, by many clergy. This being the case, there is a major market for “conservatism,” that is, articulate opposition to liberalism. People have a felt need to have their intuitions vindicated.

But whenever there is a popular product, its producers will be tempted to modify their product to suit the desires of the consumer. There is much profit to be made in giving people what they want, rather than what they need.

And although John Q. Public senses there is something wrong with liberalism, it is mostly the specific policies of liberalism he opposes: same-sex “marriage,” mass immigration and socialized medicine, for example. Most people, even most conservatives, do not wish to identify, let alone challenge, the fundamental way of thinking that makes liberalism what it is. Opposing the obvious insanity of treating a homosexual couple as fully equivalent to a married man and woman is one thing. It is something entirely different to admit, as I have argued in Liberalism 101, that the real problem is America’s general acquiescence to an entire worldview based on the nonexistence of the God of the Bible, and which therefore means that God is not the supreme being, but rather man.

Opposing the utter dominance of liberalism throughout our society, a liberalism that feels comfortable because of its familiarity, is both intellectually challenging and practically difficult: For one thing, it requires thinking deeply about the most basic facts of reality: Remember, “liberalism” in this context means the entire worldview of the left, especially its intellectual foundations. Furthermore, those who are convinced of the need to take action against liberalism itself (not just its specific manifestations) hardly know where to start. Since liberalism is everywhere, it seems to have no vulnerable points, and it seems impossible to dislodge from our way of thinking.

Therefore the supplier of conservatism is seriously tempted only to give his consumers what they want (psychological relief by way of vindicating their intuitive sense that liberal policies are foolish and destructive), without troubling these consumers with the deeper issues that are the real problem. Call it a “seeker-sensitive” conservatism.

[End of excerpt.]

Although the above analogy will make the most sense to those familiar with both Seeker-Sensitive Evangelicalism and standard-brand conservative punditry, I think the basic case is clear even to those unfamiliar with Rick Warren and his followers: Temporal glory comes from giving man what he want, not what he needs.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 23, 2009 11:30 AM | Send

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