Robert Lowry Clinton – An Orwellian Warning for Conservatives

Clinton is a conservative with a conscience and a gospel sensitivity. Although I have little sympathy for Clinton’s Republicans, and even less so to the Tea Party, I found in this text a number of ideas that could make conservative something else that what they appear to be today: a bunch of retrogrades.

Here are a few excerpts from a very important, I dare to say even a prophetic text addressed to conservatives.

Romanian conservatives, especially those of religious persuasion, would do well to pay attention to this call.

* * *

Supporting crony capitalism weakens the appeal of social conservatism; it is difficult to hold the moral high ground on abortion and marriage while defending exploiters of the poor and oppressed.

According to Orwell, “Socialism is too often coupled with a fat-bellied, godless conception of ‘progress’ which revolts anyone with a feeling for tradition or for the rudiments of an aesthetic sense.”

I am convinced that, regardless of the anathema on socialism among conservatives, we need to reflect on Orwell’s thoughts. This is especially true for cultural conservatives like me who believe that issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and religion in the public square are the most important for the long-term health of our society.

We need to think hard about what it is our opponents don’t like about us. Do they really believe that we are intolerant, medieval Neanderthals who want to turn back the clock to the Dark Ages? Do they really believe that we are boorish, rigid ideologues who want to keep women barefoot and pregnant?

A plausible “Orwellian” answer to the question of why we are unable to convince ordinary Americans to vote Republican is that conservatives are perceived as being in bed with some very controversial people.

Most Americans believe in free markets, but have seen enough crony capitalism mixed up with free-market rhetoric to render them understandably suspicious of such talk. Continuing efforts to justify state-sanctioned corporate plundering by invoking the nostrums of the free market are wearing thin. Leaders in the conservative movement need truly to be leaders and set this error right. They must call more strongly for congressional oversight of the financial services industry and aggressive prosecution of Wall Street criminals, and they must educate the public on the difference between crony capitalism and free-market theory.

We clearly have the moral high ground on these fundamental issues [abortion, same-sex marriage], but it is difficult to hold that high ground when we also seem to be defending exploiters of the poor and the oppressed. Young people may be more tolerant these days, but they are also very insecure economically.

Conservatives who want to preserve America’s finest ideals must divorce themselves clearly and completely from any worldview that appears to justify such behavior, remembering that human flourishing in the widest sense must be the goal of any just socioeconomic order. Accordingly, the means to pursue happiness must be advanced for all.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

2 thoughts on “Robert Lowry Clinton – An Orwellian Warning for Conservatives”

  1. @”Most Americans believe in free markets, but have seen enough crony capitalism mixed up with free-market rhetoric to render them understandably suspicious of such talk. Continuing efforts to justify state-sanctioned corporate plundering by invoking the nostrums of the free market are wearing thin”… Si cine credeti dvs ca sunt cei ce s-au imbogatit cel mai repede in ultimii 5 ani ne-conservatori? Crony democrats & Obama. Cei ce-au primit mari cintracte de asa zisele clean energy si care au falimentat dupa terminarea subventiilor fiind in continuare laudati ca mindria noilor surse de nergie, etc. Cei care au incasat sume mari ca experti consultati pt Obama care? Cei mai multi miliardari sunt democrati anti-conservatori. Solutia? evanghelia si nu socialismul care adduce cu el si favorizeaza alti crony

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    1. Nu va faceti griji, ca ajung republicanii flaminzi inapoi la putere, si apoi isi trag ei aceste contracte. Vorba romanului, ‘tot un drac’, numai cu alta fata.

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