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Wayne Lutz

Mr. Lutz is the editor-in chief of The Tocquevillian magazine. He is also a freelance journalist and editor, and has written extensively on health and fitness topics, and on men's issues.

He is a member of the NRA, the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Heritage Foundation, and Judicial Watch. In his spare time he helps old ladies cross the street and is kind to children and puppies - habits which, admittedly, belie his unusual appearance.

Mr. Lutz is available to conservative organizations for speaking engagements, and may be reached at

    Reason Vs. Ideology
    by Wayne Lutz
    June 12, 3003

    I happen to be a fan of the Don Imus radio show (a fact which leaves many of my friends and family members bemused). I see it as a painless way of getting my morning news and keeping up with what the politicos and the chattering class are doing. The show is, pardon the expression, liberally dotted with telephone interviews with liberals who have a book or an agenda to push, and while Imus tends to bend over for most of them, he does have his moments. Such as the time he told Sen. Joe Lieberman, "You're going to hell, Senator!" in response to an embarrassingly obvious game of fast-and-loose from that swinging Presidential candidate.

    But I digress, already, which is a bad sign.

    Recently Paul Begala made a fascinating appearance on the Imus show. Begala is, of course, a partisan liberal democrat's partisan liberal democrat. So far from a pillar of objective reason, Begala is a man who sees all conservatives as the "kook right" and "judgmental blowhards of the right" and regularly refers to the current Commander-in-Chief as "Junior." He remains a die-hard defender of all things Clintonesque, incapable of discussing any conservative or conservative cause without adding a cute insult, like "spokesmouse for George W. Bush," "Bush's faith-based missile-defense system," "gasbag," "Lardbutt," - and all of that in only a single op-ed in which, amazingly, he bemoaned the partisanship of .Republicans.

    Begala is, then, not a man to be taken seriously, to put it gently.

    Even with that, however, Begala plunged completely out of bounds during this appearance on Imus. Railing against the failure (to date) of the United States to find large quantities of WMD in Iraq, Begala sank so low as to assert that the American soldiers who died in Iraq died for the sake of a Bush Administration lie - that they died in vain, that George W. Bush knowingly sacrificed American lives for political gain. A more egregious insult to the honor of our armed forces and to the families and memory of our war dead would be hard to imagine.

    Imus let the bottom-feeder get away with it, but fortunately Mrs. Imus, who had been listening, wasn't quite so mellow. While I didn't hear this exchange myself, I learned later that she called in to the show and rightly tore Begala a new one.

    In discussing the Begala appearance later, Imus himself mused on the question of how an educated and seemingly intelligent person could see the world through such a distorted lens. An interesting question; and one to which I, of course, have the answer.

    To understand the ability of liberals to say and do things that cause the jaws of reasonable people to drop, it will be helpful to understand the fundamental difference between conservatism and liberalism as it exists in America today. Conservatism is not an ideology, but merely a natural way of viewing the world through the clear lens of fixed principles, learned and passed down through the accumulated wisdom of countless generations. Russell Kirk, in his seminal work The Conservative Mind, writes;

    "Any informed conservative is reluctant to condense profound and intricate intellectual systems to a few pretentious phrases; he prefers to leave that technique to the enthusiasm of radicals. Conservatism is not a fixed and immutable body of dogmata; conservatives inherit from Burke a talent for re-expressing their convictions to fit the time."

    Liberalism, in contrast, is an ideology, and one that has already been repeatedly proven a failure at that. Because liberal ideology (which is nothing less than a degree of Marxism) consists of a fixed set of dogmata, any bit of reality observed through liberal eyes must be made to fit that ideology. If it doesn't, rather than reason that the ideology might be flawed, the square peg of reality will be pounded into the round hole of ideology with whatever force is required to make it fit. Sometimes that force consists of relatively harmless verbal contortions like the outrageous lies spewed by Begala above. Unfortunately for the rest of us, however, it more often consists of force or threat of force. The realization of the liberal dream of utopia <i>requires</i> strong central government - government big and powerful enough to apply the necessary force to the square peg of human nature.

    For that reason alone, liberalism is antithetical to the principles upon which the United States was founded and through which it became the greatest nation the world has ever seen. The liberal ideal of "equal rights" and confusion of "rights" with "desires" cannot withstand the scrutiny of reason, which, when applied by a mind free of steel-trap ideology, leads to the understanding of an essential condition attached to every true right; that each one is married to a correspondent duty. Thus, as Kirk pointed out, if one man has the "right" to rest (weekends off, three weeks vacation, parental leave, etc.), then another man must have the "duty" to support him.

    "If rights are confused thus with desires, the mass of men must feel always that some vast, intangible conspiracy thwarts their attainment of what they are told is their inalienable birthright," writes Kirk, which explains nicely the Democrat voter base.

    Paul Begala got one thing right in the screed referenced above. He wrote, "Democrats are children of the Enlightenment. They believe in the perfectibility of humanity." Indeed, in attempting to catalog some of the common principles of liberalism (which he called radicalism, it its various forms), Kirk noted that liberals believe in "The perfectibility of man and the illimitable progress of society: meliorism." Given some of history's more notable believers in those same principles - Marx and Stalin leap to mind - I'm almost surprised by Begala's candor. Almost.

    But liberals never learn; they can't, because their minds are shackled by ideology, unable to reason. Stalin had the right idea, he just didn't do it right. We'll get it right this time around is a common delusion among liberals.

    The next time someone tells you that conservatism and liberalism are merely two opposing ideologies, set them straight. The conservative belief in, and, as Kirk wrote, "affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems," is arrived at through the application of human reason, unfettered by radical ideology.

    The Conservative Mind
    From Burke to Eliot
    by Russell Kirk

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    © 2003 Tocqevillian Magazine