why i'm conservative
Soleil levant à Eragny, Camille Pissarro 1894
“Pissarro's house boasted a garden, where his wife Julie grew vegetables that provided food for the family's table. There was also a meadow that opened out onto the fields surrounding the village, where the painter enjoyed observing the countrymen at work. For Pissarro, these men represented the ideal life, in harmony with nature.”
When I was a kid, I entertainingly told my father that I wanted to become a politician. He said why? You’ll never do anything.” He meant that they never get anything done.
Now I’m older and have put any idea of becoming a public servant away. I came to that resolution because I don’t believe there is such a thing as “serving the public” in any political sense. That would denote the ‘positive’ service to a people—the act of giving, as though there were something to give or rather, that we were ever capable of having the power to give what one is already entitled to. This is why i reject “positive” rights. In order to believe that you can give people what they already have, it follows that you believe you may be powerful enough to take it away.
Of course, here I am not talking about charity or safeguarding that which already is, what is good and moral—the former only possible by the will of individuals, and the latter the chief responsibility of the government. But when charity becomes the chief concern of the government, the floodgates just beyond what is good are opened, exposing us to the vicissitudes of human subjectivity: our personal determination of what is important. And this determination is corruptible as it is willing to subject All to its idea, as though it alone conceals a revelation never before unveiled in all of our 300,000 years of existence.
Now that I’m older, despite my anger with God, I can’t help but still hold that if anything was ever to be truly good, it would have to be preexistent. What is good for man is immediately concluded with politics, they simply can’t be. This is why what is best for man is not a salvation sought in biblical texts of intellectuals; but, if to be sought anywhere, then in what is infallible.
And that’s why I’m a social conservative.
But with the philosophy of social conservatism comes a relativism, threatening to overhaul everything I just said, that we’re now forced to contend with…but that’s for another time.