April 24, 2007
The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I dont have to lie. I dont have to pretend that men and women are the same. I dont have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I dont have to say that everyones special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I dont have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I dont have to pretend that Islam means peace.
Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. Its not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.
Still, mannerly as we would rather be, truth-telling continues to be both compelling and ultimately satisfying. There is, after all, something greater than courtesy. Firmness in the right, Lincoln called it, as God gives us to see the right. We find ourselves at a precarious moment in an endeavor of great importance: namely, the preservation of Western rationalism and liberty. It does mankind no good to allow so magnificent an enterprise to slip away merely for fear of saying the wrong thing.
When my friends and family want their egos stroked, they ask other people for their opinions. When they want the unvarnished truth, they ask me. I've never had problems answering the following question honestly: "Does this (whatever) make me look fat?" I realize that it's supposed to be the one question that men are supposed to lie about, but I think that letting my lovely wife go out in something unflattering does her a great disservice. Hence, I tell it like it is.
A good friend - someone I've lost touch with over the years- once criticized me as being "brutally honest". I wear that comment as a badge of honor. For the record, I understand the meaning of the word "tact". Being honest doesn't mean that you have to be a complete dick about things.
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