Aesthetics, Purpose and American Social Conservatives
Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.
So, what is best in life? It’s a trick question. It’s almost as hard as a shorter and trickier one. Why?
What is best in life? We all have our opinions. These opinions drive who we are. They serve as a measure and a touchstone. We make estimation as to what those goals are for other people. Based upon this estimation, we form an opinion about the others who surround us. In the case of Social Conservatism in America, people form that estimate based upon bias and caricature. As a result of this bias and caricature, the estimate formulated is predictably wrong.
When people try and estimate what Social Conservatives believe is best in life, they do so based upon their prejudices and what the media tells us about social conservatives. Gavin McInnes of Takimag describes how the Hipsters are taught to view social conservatives.
We like to scoff at pro-lifers as uptight old fuddy-duddies who want a woman to keep the retarded baby she got from when her dad raped her.
What they deliberately miss here is that social conservatives are pro-life for reasons both moral and aesthetic. Life has a purpose and every life has a potential beauty. To deliberately snuff that human life like an unwanted puppy is to offend the natural order in two distinct ways. It defeats the purpose of procreative activity and debauches it down to just a spasm or a stress release. But worse yet, and discounted more by the critics of social conservatism, it destroys the beauty of a natural, heavenly-ordained order and makes our world an uglier, crasser, meaner place to inhabit.
There is a reason for the opponents of social conservatism to obscure all mention of the beauty of life. They need this side of social conservatism to be starved of all oxygen and to be the target of ridicule on The Daily Show every time it emerges in public debate.
The second has been the spread of ultrasound technology: women who see their gestating children are much less likely to abort them. The third has been the ability of pro-lifers to show the extremism of the other side, as dramatized through the battle over partial-birth abortion. The second and third forces are visceral, not intellectual. They are grounded in everyday human sentiment: a love of children and a horror of violence.
In other words, social conservatism wins when, social conservatives; not Conan the Partial-Birth Abortionist, define what is best in life. Contra Susan Sontag, and Gloria Steinem, nobody in the social conservative movement really wants to hear the lamentations of the women. Brett Stevens of Amerika.org gives us a good bullet-point list of what social conservatives would tell the Mongol General is best in life.
• You grow up in a stable home.
• Your society has a moral code.
• You are challenged.
• You have a magic love of your own.
• You are not bored in your job.
• Your nation is going in a good direction.
• You live in peaceful surroundings.
• Defective behavior is not encouraged.
• Rebellion is anticlimax.
Mr. Stevens goes on to classify Social Conservatism as a Hedonism. His argument on behalf of “Hedonistic” Social Conservatism follows below.
This is the type of hedonism at which social conservatism aims: hedonism of a whole life lived so well that when you look back on it in your twilight years, it seems to glow with golden potential.
I enjoy this turn of argument for its validation of my core philosophy of life. I also crack a wry grin at his valiant recapture of the debauched word “Hedonism.” That, right there, is a form of intellectual aesthetics.
He then goes further and describes the alternatives to social conservatism. Modern Liberaltarianism works as follows.
You could throw that out and instead demand quantity, as we do now. Stimulus not enough? Have a ton of drugs, alcohol, video games and casual sex. Keep trying to stuff something in that hole in your soul.
That hole in the soul gets really obvious and glaring in appositional contrast to the man in whole. The modern American man in whole is not a product of Dartmouth, the coffee house or of three-bong-hit chic Post-Modernism. These places teach some facts and make some valid points. But they fail in the end as their defining contradictions lead to a discorporation of the soul, mind and body.
So what makes us whole? What is best in life? An integration of spiritus, animus and corpus inspired by a profound appreciation for life, its purpose and its inherent, God-given beauty is what is best in life. This profound appreciation, resplendent in the philosophy of social conservatism, is like a quickening shot of fire-water for the soul.
Son, the philosophy of social conservatism will put hair on your chest. It will make you a man. It is beyond hedonism, better than a deontology and more awe-inspiring than a profound code of the aesthetic. Social Conservatism is a humanism.
Thus, we must wade into the brutal, bloody political battlefield and fight for it bastard-swords swinging. Then we can crush our enemies and see them driven before us. Then we can hear the lamentation of the Liberals. We will not need hope and change, because we ARE hope and change. A new and better America shall emerge from our wake. As Ronald Reagan evoked in his 1980 prayer at The Republic Convention; “Let us begin our Crusade!”