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In episode 342 of the Ricochet podcast, James Delingpole said, “I don’t even know why anyone even cares what conservatism is anymore.” And I’m so glad he did. This is exactly what I was getting at when I wrote There’s No Philosophy In It two weeks ago.
You see, James Delingpole is at war. He says so explicitly. David Limbaugh says the same in episode 340. And they are right. There is a war. They are at war. But I’m not.
This war they speak of is not my war. This is not a war between the philosophical left and right. It is not a war between liberals and conservatives. It is not a war between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. It is a war between the Democrat mob and the Republican mob.
And as Chesterton said of mobs:
This popular spirit may take a good or a bad form; and a mob may cry out many things, right and wrong. But a mob cries out “No Popery”; it does not cry out “Not so much Popery,” still less “Only a moderate admixture of Popery.” It shouts “Three cheers for Gladstone,” it does not shout “A gradual and evolutionary social tendency towards some ideal similar to that of Gladstone.” It would find it quite a difficult thing to shout; and it would find exactly the same difficulty with all the advanced formulae about nationalisation and internationalisation and class-conscious solidarity.
That one mob is preferable to another in a strict binary sense might be true. But it’s the mobbishness I deplore.
What good are conservative policies if effected by a mob? What good is a wall if built by a king? What good is winning a race to the bottom?
I genuinely don’t see any good in it and the topsy-turvy arguments to convince me otherwise only make me dizzy.
We have grown used to a habit of calling things by the wrong names and supporting them by the wrong arguments; and even doing the right thing for the wrong cause. We have party governments which consist of people who pretend to agree when they really disagree. We have party debates which consist of people who pretend to disagree when they really agree. We have whole parties named after things they no longer support, or things they would never dream of proposing.
Tomorrow I’ll begin my Lenten Ricofast. I intend to sink deep into higher things and leave this exhausting war talk behind. I hope to return to calmer waters (both on and off Richochet) and to bring something fresh and new to the table. (And I hope to return to a Pirates 12 game winning streak.)
May your Lent be blessed and joyful. And may Ricochet be well.