Archive for April 4th, 2009

Fear Itself

April 4, 2009

I seem to be on a Sullivan kick.  Lately he’s been part of a running conversation with other conservative bloggers (and some liberals) about gay marriage/civil unions.

This bit, quoted from a New Republic blogger, caught my eye:

First, as I noted above, he fears change. This is perhaps the most fundamental characteristic of the conservative temperament.

Bingo.

Fear is the core of conservatism.  Sometimes it is passive. It says any new idea or program probably won’t work, so we shouldn’t even try it.  Sometimes its fear is aggressive; then you get Dick Cheney and Daniel Pipes and Tom Tancredo; in earlier generations, Richard Nixon and George Wallace and Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin and Samuel Morse.

There will always be something to be afraid of, and for any given thing, there will always be some facet of it that’s scary.  Conservatism says we should live by that fear.

A man driven by fear killed Martin Luther King, 41 years ago today.