I work in the music business. In that rarefied atmosphere I am considered an arch conservative and an enemy of the people. I’m not certain the arty types are a genuine sample of popular opinion.
Am I a conservative?
As far as I can tell conservatives come in different stripes, but most hark back to a lost golden age, a time when our society had values and standards and generally got things right. I can see the appeal of that way of thinking, fantasy is a beautiful thing.
I look at the suburban train stations of Melbourne, edifices both grand and practical, built for the comfort and transport of the working class. I see Centennial Park in Sydney, a wondrous, enormous back yard for those who didn’t own estates. I hear of fiscally responsible governments, of public institutions, some fine social traditions, I am attracted to such things. I’m certain that is not the whole picture.
In the past my society tolerated the rape of children. Not overtly, but by respecting churches and institutions more than children we fundamentally tolerated the rape and torture of children. My society tolerated, even laughed at, domestic violence. Beating and ostracising homosexuals wasn’t frowned upon. For much of the history of my society racism was official policy. The golden age was not so golden, we didn’t get everything right.
I’m not a conservative. I often oppose change that is just for the sake of change and the disrespect shown to some of the great aspects of our past, but I don’t want to go backwards.Humanity cannot go backwards, the machinery does not have a reverse gear.
My theory is that most conservatives are afraid of change. Change makes them nervous, out of control. Many simply want to retain the benefits of privilege, to return to a time when their privilege was assumed. Privilege is essentially corruption, polite corruption.
The lefty, arty types I work and hang out with are often portrayed as dreamers, seekers of a fool’s paradise. That criticism can be equally applied to conservatives and their golden age. I’m not a conservative.