Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Conservatism has very little to do with politics. As a matter of fact, the natural conservative inclination is to not get involved in politics because of its corrupting influences. The conservative instinct is to always try and prevent most things from becoming part of the political process. That ought to be the natural position of the conservative, that the things we want to preserve we want to preserve through divinity. We want to preserve through obedience to the unenforceable. We want to preserve through acknowledgment and a life lived in acknowledgment of the Transcendant. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: John Boehner goes to the same restaurants that Joe Biden or Steny Hoyer goes to. Remember Angelo M. Codevilla’s piece about our ruling elites? He described that your average Republican in Mordor and average Democrat in Mordor are indistinguishable. They went to the same universities. They were taught by the same professors. They go to the same cocktail parties. They go to the same Christmas parties. They talk about one another as “my friend on the other side of the aisle.” They pretty much subscribe to a corrupt form of what we call government today. The things that distinguish them, I think, in most instances, are very minor and probably not enough to distinguish one political party or ideology from another, especially when neither one of the two parties seems to have any aversion whatsoever to spending huge, unbelievably huge amounts of other people’s money. If it’s a lifestyle, what kind of lifestyle is it?
AG: Idealistically, it’s a way to live your life and make life decisions through the prism of conservatism. Has it been co-opted and turned into a brand or product? I would argue yes. At least in my mind, I look at it as influencing what you do. I don’t necessarily see it as a product, I guess.
Mike: So a conservative then can vote to unbalance a government budget. A conservative then can vote to spend the next generation’s money. A conservative can vote to continue printing fake currency that comes from the treasury in the form of paper that is not backed by a gold or silver coin as the Constitution mandates. A conservative can have a non-Christian just war-based theory of national defense or common defense and can instead pillage and invade the entire planet. If it’s a lifestyle, I’m having a hard time distinguishing it from the lifestyle of the early 20th century progressive. If anything, the progressive was probably more conservative than today’s conservatives.
AG: I agree with you. I think the ideal aspect of it as a lifestyle has left. People could claim they live a conservative lifestyle, and our politicians might try to make that argument through the examples you laid out, but it’s not true. They are falsely claiming that as how they live their lives and make their political decisions. I think at its root it should be considered as a means to live your life.
Mike: Yes, you are right. When the Tea Party says tea party conservatives, are they talking about a means to run their life or are they talking about political process, politicians, and political action?
AG: It’s branding.
Mike: Thus the perversion of the term. You’re right, and that’s exactly what Russell Kirk wrote about. Conservatism has very little to do with politics. As a matter of fact, the natural conservative inclination is to not get involved in politics because of its corrupting influences. The conservative instinct is to always try and prevent most things from becoming part of the political process. That ought to be the natural position of the conservative, that the things we want to preserve we want to preserve through divinity. We want to preserve through obedience to the unenforceable. We want to preserve through acknowledgment and a life lived in acknowledgment of the Transcendant, as Brad Birzer calls it. That’s the conservative way of life. The conservative way of life is not to look at the corrupt perversion of our system of government and seek to manage it in a more frugal manner. You’re just a little less liberal.
AG: Would you say, though, that Kirk’s ideal form of conservatism would now be considered libertarianism or is that going too far?
Mike: No, it wouldn’t be considered libertarianism. I guess my point is that the term conservative once was the proper terminology; it no longer is.
AG: Has nothing replaced what that originally --
Mike: We’re working on it. See: republicanism, federalism.
AG: And the main problem with libertarianism in that comparison would be what exactly?
Mike: Libertarianism, especially today’s libertarianism, tends more towards anarchy than it does any sort of an order. I know I’m going to get hate mail for this now. Most libertarians that I know are not very religious people. They’re going to scream and yell and holler and send me hate mail and tell me they can be fine, moral, upstanding people or good citizens without having my stupid Christianity-based or moral-based code of behavior and law. They, for the most part -- this is not a blanket statement -- reject the transcended, moral order of things. Everything can be ordered through some form and administration of property rights. That will solve all if we just acknowledge property rights.
One of the things you people that preach this stuff, this absolutism about property rights and natural rights and liberties, one of the things that you don’t know -- maybe you know it but you refuse to acknowledge it -- is that many of your heroes in the libertarian / anarchy movement are devout conservative Christians. I’ll give you just one example: Jeffrey Tucker. You know Tucker writes for major Catholic publications. Google him if you don’t believe me. Go to BigPulpit.com and type in Jeff Tucker and see what comes up. Yes, it is that Mises Institute Jeff Tucker. I could say the same thing of Lew. Lew hides it very well but Lew is a Catholic, a practicing one. While they may not publicly acknowledge it because it may not be good for business, certainly in their private lives they are.
Look at the great Austrian economists that are lauded and the ones that are not lauded. Von Mises is lauded because he was Von Mises. He was pure. He didn’t have any stupid religious affiliations. I really haven’t studied that part of Von Mises’ life, but I do know a gentleman that was every bit his equal in intellect and in theory and certainly in writing accomplishment, a gentleman by the name of Wilhlem Roepke. Roepke was a devout Christian, Catholic. Roepke’s work on the humane economy is easily the equal of Von Mises. I’m not denigrating Von Mises. Please do not misunderstand.
End Mike Church Show Transcript