I tend to mistrust a few aspects of contemporary society. Admittedly, one new trend that doesn’t help my over-all attitude is the rise of “conservatives” in quotation marks.
You know who I mean — the conservatives who, strangely, find conservatism distasteful; the progressive conservatives who hide behind the admitted oxymoron, only to come out later as ostensibly no different than their progressivist peers.
Do they have any idea of how demoralizing the phrase “no different” is? Salt is intended to be salty, is it not?
Perhaps it’s part of a broad cultural inclination: Republicans who aren’t very republican; Liberals who aren’t very liberal; individualists who are, actually, shameless slaves to what’s “trending” or are increasingly amenable to the power of the State.
Duplicity is the new integrity. Or so it seems.
In any case, I highly mistrust the kind of conservatives who think that social conservatism is just a political liability in the way of their march to power. I don’t care. If the New Democratic Party is unabashedly willing to spend the next few years talking about the Leap Manifesto, a document so fundamentally utopian it could relegate them to political obscurity for decades, then why should conservatives be so self-loathing as to prohibit even conservative conversations before the conversations begin?
Late last week, the Rebel reported that Rona Ambrose personally intervened against a motion that would have allowed the Conservative Party of Canada to revisit its “no abortion legislation” policy. To review the situation, then, Canada has a Liberal and NDP party where everyone must officially be “pro-choice-of-death” whether they are or not. Across the “vast gulf” to the right, Canada also has a Conservative party where no one can officially speak about the pro-life philosophy, whether they are pro-life or not.
What, precisely, is the political difference between a statist Left and a statist Right, when an imposed silence rules the entire roost?
Are parties being unduly whipped into amorphous homogeneity, or just hen-pecked by radical feminist apparatchiks?
How many “conservative” apparatuses in Canada, federally or provincially, are actually vetting-out true conservatives because their ideas or long-lost statements are too media-risky or politically inconvenient? This vetting process — be it the decision of what gets discussed publicly or what person gets chosen for candidacy — is the single biggest threat to democracy in this country. And conservatives (of a sort) are as guilty of promoting that existential danger as any other ideological party.
When we deliberately narrow the field on the right, we actually help shift the political spectrum (and our choices) to the left.
If the safest conservative policies are now just sentimental affirmations of the liberal status quo, then I submit that such conservatism is of no account. Canadian conservatism should not be mere progressivism made palatable for more right-of-centre tummies. Unlike other political demographics in Canada, I think we’re unnecessarily afraid to be who we are.
The seeds of political fear, in fact, started long ago, if the Conservative Party’s eleven year prohibition on abortion discussion is any indication. But conservative self-loathing only seemed to accelerate as the decade progressed.
In Alberta, I believe, it became fully manifest with the 2012 media crucifixion of Allan Hunsperger, a former candidate of the Wildrose party, whose unpardonable sin was apparently blogging about hell and homosexuality in the same paragraph. It is a “mistake” that I willingly replicate here.
For the record, since the secular liberal media in Canada are notoriously clumsy when it comes to analyzing Biblical theology, let us review his situation more accurately. Allan Hunsperger’s blog was both fair and Biblically honest. In the offending article, which (by the way) was publicly exposed by a progressive conservative in order to defeat a fellow conservative, Hunsperger sought to use parallelism for rhetorical purposes.
He highlighted the symmetry between the argument for innate homosexual orientation and the problem of innate sin in traditional Christian doctrine. He wasn’t separating his condition from other people’s. He was simply noting that if we all stay where we are (if we are not redeemed from our inherent sin) none of us will inherit the Kingdom of God. We will all be outside its gates — excluded inclusively.
Well, hell is, I suspect, a place of significant diversity.
And this is precisely why Hunsperger’s “infamous” quote read:
“You can live the way you were born, and if you die the way you were born, then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.”
This is Biblical Theology 101 for Dummies. That the liberal culture and media didn’t get it, or didn’t want to, is a shameful indictment upon our collective intellectual laziness. As a direct consequence, not only was a decent soul emotionally mauled by the Canadian media, but an entire generation of social conservatives have seemingly become muted and further confined to the public margins, which is precisely what political and theological radicals love to see.
Tragically, this disgraceful situation was further compounded by a public cowardice among conservative Christian believers, who might have rallied against the obvious injustice and media crucifixion, but, given the ambiguity of a partisan campaign and the vulnerability of their Revenue Canada charitable numbers, did not.
Either that, or no one cared.
Either way, we might remind ourselves that cowardice is another Biblical reason why some people will find themselves smelling sulphur somewhere near the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God help us.
In the spring days that followed four years ago, Allan Hunsperger suffered more than an electoral defeat. In some respects, his experience almost seemed to become a political metaphor for what not to do. Shame set in. Meanwhile, Hunsperger’s home was picketed, because (to their credit) at least sexual radicals act as if they really believe their ideology.
Now, there’s a new (old) idea. To permanently avoid those pesky quotation marks, perhaps “conservatives” should go and do likewise.