Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Next step

Paul Weyrich wants a new Conservativism. He believes the current conservative movement, with the exception of the Christian Conservatives, has been co-opted by Washington. So he's looking for a new Conservative movement to arise out of the ashes of the current one. Kind of implies there's a crash and burn in store for the current Conservative movement, doesn't it?
The next conservatism needs not only a new movement, it needs a new kind of movement, a movement of people dedicated to restoring the old ways of living in their own lives and those of their families. The next conservative movement is perhaps best thought of as a community, one devoted to the old conservative virtues of modest living, hard work, prudence (which includes not running after every new thing), thrift, conservation, and living God-centered rather than man-centered lives. If we want to restore our old culture, we have to live by its rules.

There is one other reason why the next conservatism needs a new movement, and it is a promising one. I think the next conservative movement may be able to attract the support of many people who would never join a movement that is an arm of the Republican Party. . . . Lots of people who are not politically involved, or who may think of themselves as moderates or even liberals, are distressed and frightened by the sex and violence that dominates our entertainment, by divorce and illegitimacy, by the fact that school children don't seem to know anything, and by rampant consumerism and self-centeredness. The next conservative movement could potentially draw some of these people in.
It could - but I'm guessing the kind of movement you are talking about will continue to degrade and attack Liberals and the evils of Liberal culture, so I don't know how many liberals you are actually going to get. Rather I think this "new Conservative movement" will be a lot like the current Religious Right. And if there is any part of the current conservative movement that is totally invested in the idea that liberals are evil and should be rubbed out, it's the Christian Conservatives. So I don't know if they are going to be the best bridge builders.

I love his ending though, because it puts the rest of the article in context.
The question then becomes, how do we build a new conservative movement? Building movements has been one my specialties for more than four decades. In my next column, I will offer some suggestions as to how we might accomplish that.
I suspect the biggest problem with the current conservative movement, from Weyrich's perspective, is that he doesn't have a big enough piece of the pie.

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