We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The selection of Sarah Palin as Republican vice-presidential candidate has revealed a serious chasm in conservatism, a chasm separating conservative elites ľ opinion leaders, pundits, spokesmen -- from the vast population of center-right Americans they purport to represent.
As a more-or-less elite, prosperous, hyper-educatedáNortheastern conservative, I think he has a point - but it doesn't apply to me. I have an F-150, Iálike Palin, and I get a kick out of Rush (though I rarely have time to hear him).
I feel this boils down to the definition of the word "conservative". I would guess that most of the conservative intelligencia views conservatism in the Goldwater sense, while the other "conservatives" are NOT in fact conservative. To quote Jeffrey Hart:
"Like the Whig gentry who were the Founders, I loathe populism, most especially in the form of populist religion, i.e., the current pestiferous bible-banging evangelicals, whom I regard as organized ignorance, a menace to public health, to science, to medicine, to serious Western religion, to intellect and indeed to sanity"
This is reminiscent of a recent blog by Megan McCardle about the ideological rift between the coasts and "flyover" country.
I think it boils down to a rural versus urban mindset. Or in a related concept, to the old social classes. There was a time that conservative meant "wealthy." Prep school. Ivy League.
Those days are long gone. Conservative now contains the best of American independence and stubborness, self-reliance and work ethic, individualistic. And that, my friends, describes most folks who make a living off the farms and ranches across that "flyover" country.
Elitism doesn't cut it any more. We've seen that electing elites doesn't get us good government. Intellect is nice, but it doesn't fill the bill. We need more grit and temperment than we do PhD dissertations. These self-anointed conservative intelligentsia are about as outdated as the Electoral College; they need to get the chip off their shoulders and become a little more egalitarian.
I may spend my first and last hour of the day out in the barn feeding and watering cattle. I may clean stalls and spread manure on my fields. I sweat every summer getting my hay crop in, and take the chainsaws out in the woods in the fall to cut my firewood for the winter. I'm more likely to be welding on equipment or changing the bearings on the kicker on my baler than I am to be reading the NYT or National Review. I'd rather be taking my kids out to target shoot than being in the "know" about inside politics.
But you know what? I've got three engineering degrees (2 from MIT) and a law degree. I don't need to be told what to think. Just point out the facts; I can draw my own conclusions.
I've met plenty of folks with Ivy League degrees, and they aren't particularly better or brighter than the blue collar guys I used to work with in the chemical plants. And frankly, they aren't as nice. Or as trustworthy.
We don't need first class intellect and second class temperment in the Executive Office. Common sense and a "show me" attitude are the right tools.
We should vote for someone that we'd be comfortable sharing a foxhole with, not someone with the biggest stack of diplomas. Because the important part of the job is a lot closer to picking a business partner than it is picking a college president.
Even though I'm a New England conservative, I see what he means. Perhaps New Hampshire is slightly exempted because of its rural character until recently. I see both the old-strain and new-strain conservatism up here.
Assistant Village Idiot
Rural Counsel, I'm down with that. I'm a northeastern country boy now living in the DC area, with an elite job - a very little influence, not enough pay for what I do. ;-) I'm still conservative, love Sarah Palin, hunting and fishing, and my 'redneck' stuff like cooking barbecue and fixing my own car, etc. I'm going to pay the piper for maybe another decade, put enough equity in our vastly overpriced house to buy a decent house in the real world, put a few more bucks in the 401(k), dispatch the last of the student loans - and then we're looking to move to somewhere a lot more country than this place. And I don't mean fake country, where all my very urban-minded peers are semi-retiring, with drum circles and overpriced crafters.
Your comment on the Ivies is so true I can't even begin to tell you. I've gotten to the point where I have an active anti-Ivy bias in hiring. I'm a practitioner, not a law school dean, I need to know how to help the clients resolve problems, not how to consider critical race theory as it pertains to a purchasing contract or a minor regulatory problem. They understand the theory of the world's engines, they just don't know how to turn the nuts and bolts. I fear my kid will grow up this way so I'm emphasizing teaching him how to do things with his hands. Life (and even the practice of law) is about getting your hands dirty; knowledge means nothing if it cannot be applied. Any joker can talk about electrons, but the guy who can wire your home addition makes $75 an hour. I think the elite haven't considered the notion that despite all of Derrida's and Saussure's and Chomsky's arguments over meaning and the struggle between the written and the spoken word, maybe words don't mean as much as we think they do, in the absolute sense.
If you enjoy politics you'll enjoy northeastconservative.org. The best darn conservative wevbsite out there. Politics these days are tough. People are divided. At its core, conservatism is really about allegiance to a republic founded on the governing principles of individual sovereignty, private property and the rule of law.
Creating policy and legislation that furthers those principles is the best way to produce prosperity for all and the only way to ensure justice for all.
Unless we as a state and a nation protect everyone´┐Żs individual sovereignty, everyone's private property, and provide equal protection for everyone under the rule of law, we cannot guarantee our own ability to live by the values we choose to live by.