Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Big Tent Philosophy

I conceptualized something about conservatism over the past few days that highlights a profound distinction it has from other forms of political thought. Many of the supposed elite in the Republican Party want the GOP to incorporate a “big tent” philosophy which requires no adherence to any ideology and accepts a vast array of viewpoints. However, the big tent party philosophy is in most respects antithetical to conservatism, and here's why. Conservatives espouse the idea that certain principles and values, when followed by individuals and governments, lead to peace and success. In order for these principles to yield future achievement, however, they require prospective adherents to manipulate their thoughts, words, and actions so as to coincide with those principle and values. It requires huge efforts from the individual and huge restraint from the government. Be it understood, though, that conservatism does not necessarily discourage varying perspectives and diverse thought. It simply admonishes that these perspectives not contradict the aforementioned values and principles. For a succinct list of these principles and values, click here.

However, liberal ideology promotes the idea of a big tent, all inclusive kind of political party. On a side note, however, all viewpoints are welcome inside the tent provided they are not conservative. Those in the tent seek to marginalize others with a conservative point of view by using ad hominem attacks and labels such as right-wing-extremist or terrorist, tea bagger, nazi, and hatemonger, just to mention a few. However, this big tent philosophy seems to be so wildly popular among liberals and progressives because more is expected from the majority in securing the individual's success rather than more being expected from the individual.

Inside this big tent, minority groups are neither required nor encouraged to forgive the culture and the individuals who systematically oppressed their ancestors, and they are also not required to forgive those who continue to mistreat them. This has gotten so out of hand that even language from a white person in this big tent is to be straight way censored and the white person swiftly punished in the event his or her language honestly criticizes individual members of other races. The responses to Rush Limbaugh’s involvement in a group interested in purchasing the St. Louis Rams exemplify this reality. They branded him a racist for bigoted things he never said, and they also hammered him for other things he said which weren’t actually racist. Therefore, this philosophy is more focused on promoting a culture where the extreme and superfluous censorship of many is preferred over teaching and expecting others to forgive and to be humble.

The all inclusive, all loving big tent of liberal thought also discourages the belief in a supreme being from whom all human rights originate. This view point is repellent in the big tent because it also teaches that the right to marriage extends only to one man and one woman. They hate and disparage this point of view, and they label those who have it as hate-mongers, homophobes, and religious extremists (among other things). As a conservative maintaining this belittled belief, I neither hate nor am fearful of anyone who participates in a homosexual relationship, and I am not deluded into regarding myself as superior. However, I reserve my constitutionally protected right to vote according to my conservative value system, and I respect the right of others to vote contrarily. Though some may be fear-mongers and hateful, the vast majority votes according to the peaceful dictates of its individual consciences. But according to the big tent philosophy, these many are expected to abandon their principles and values in order to accommodate the desires of a few, thus again requiring much from the majority while requiring nothing from the minority.

The big tent philosophy will ultimately fail those who desire cozy residence therein, and it will fail the nation it now seeks to fundamentally change. This illusion of this all accepting, all inclusive, and all loving philosophy will fail because it ventures away from the simple mandates of the constitution; big tentism ventures away from the security and anchor of sound principle. The Declaration of Independence refers to this idea as the laws of nature and of nature's God. Accordingly, the constitution has provided the freedom that produced the most exceptional, successful, and flourishing nation ever designed (Like it or not, conservatism is the only ideology left that champions the constitution and intentions of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, etc). No other nation's story in the annals of history compares to the greatness of this one, and its success can only be renewed and replicated by quickly abandoning "big tent" thinking and by strictly adhering to constitutional principle. Unfortunately, our current administration refers to it as a charter of negative liberties and laments that it limits the government's power and doesn't enhance it. Go back over the last few years, and you will see that our government has acted contrary to the constitution, and we are and will be the worse off for it if we allow them to continue.


Anonymous said...

Very cool Lamm. I didn't know you had this blog, but I'll be checking more often.

Lauren Noll said...

I hope you know I respect you and think highly of your intellectual prowess. However, the gay marriage thing I can't leave alone. I read recently that D.C.'s same-sex marriage bill was being revamped to include a very specific "out" for religious organizations and leaders, that they cannot be forced into participating in any way (whether it be by performing them or holding the ceremony on their premises) in these same-sex marriages. I think that's awesome because in no way do I wish the religious right to feel infringed upon, just as I don't want to be infringed upon myself. I know their beliefs are as important to them as mine are to me. So why isn't that ok? I'm really just trying to wrap my brain around how we can achieve common ground because it's not like I want the other side to be dissatisfied with the situation this leaves them in, but I'm also not going to give up until my relationship is equally protected under law. I don't understand how that means that nothing is required of the minority. The organizations I've volunteered for are SLAVING away for this legislation, pouring every ounce of their time, money, and heart they can give to it. And I know the other side is, too, but I don't understand how it affects them, I really don't. Especially if their religious freedom is protected. I know you don't fear homosexual people or hate them. While there are certainly a number of homophobes and bigots out there, most of the people I know are like you. They just have a religious explanation for homosexuality. I know people are up in arms about religious freedom being under attack, but I don't get it. That is the last thing I want. I don't want people to be restricted from choosing where they'd like to attend worship on Sunday (or Saturday) and actually making the trip there to do it. I don't want people to be restricted from teaching their religious views in their families and talking to others about it. I just want to be able to marry the person I love, file jointly for state AND federal taxes, be considered "next of kin" when medical decisions are being made or when death takes one. I'm tired of people telling me I should be ok with what I have. It's not them that has to be ok with it, it's ME. And I'm not ok with it. It's really frustrating to be told what you should accept in terms of the validity your country gives to your relationship. I wouldn't accept that in any other aspect of my life. I wouldn't accept putting four years into a degree and being given a "certificate" instead of a diploma because my belief system isn't the same as the majority of the others at the school.

Lauren Noll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren Noll said...

It goes the same way for adoption. I understand that many believe a child should be raised by a mother and father (and not only religious people believe that), so do it in your own homes and teach it to your children, by all means. But the MAJORITY of children in the U.S.A. don't have that luxury. There are a lot of orphanages and single parent homes out there. Why can't we just let them do the best they can? If a couple that happens to be comprised of two men or two women want a shot at raising a child and instilling in him/her the values they live by (which probably aren't "I hope you grow up gay." but might include, "Be true to yourself."), then why can't they try? I don't want to tell other people how to lead their lives and how to teach their children, so why should I accept that they can tell me what I won't be able to do in mine?

This deeply saddens me because I understand that people consider their religious beliefs their backbone, and it is very much a part of who they are, so if someone is asked to vote on something that their religious beliefs don't coincide with, I understand the dilemma. I guess that's why I don't believe the rights of the minority should be put up to vote on. The Supreme Court is to protect those rights, just as it should protect religious freedom. But to suggest that NOTHING is required of the minority is kind of absurd to me when I look at the fight I've been through to recognize this portion of who I am and to love myself for it. And then to look at the community as a whole and the efforts that have been put into being legally recognized and treated equally. Being married requires A LOT of effort, as I understand it, so I'm not going to sit here and insinuate that because you are straight and American, your marriage requires nothing of you. But because you are straight, you do get to reap the legal benefits and protections of that marriage that you put so much work in to. Every day, I put a lot of that same effort into my relationship that I consider to be of equal weight and committment as a marraige, and I do get a lot of the good with the bad even without the legal recognition. Love is the best benefit. But, you know, a tax break would be nice, too.

And I wouldn't even step a foot inside your church to get in the way of anything that happens there. I promise. I'd like to leave that to you, understanding it's significance in your life, without interfering one bit.

mush said...

Hey Lauren. Thanks again for taking the time to hop in here. One thing's for sure. I am amazed at how quickly you are able to put your thoughts into writing. It takes me tens times as long to do what you do, I swear.
One misunderstanding I should clear up is that I don't think the work leading up to the changes you seek is insignificant in anyway, just that no change or accommodation is required in the event those changes come about. And about the Supreme Court, they are to protect the rights of minorities through judicial review insofar as those rights are guaranteed by the constitution. My thoughts on that matter are probably obvious, but what are yours?
I appreciate the concession on leaving religions alone should this initiative pass, and I think that very could be what pushes this issue to your side's favor.