So I would not describe myself as a radical conservative. It would be more accurate to say, as I did recently on Twitter, that I am not a radical conservative, but rather a moderate who failed to move with the times.
And failure to move with the times is a mortal sin these days. You can’t be too careful. Imagine a modern day Rip Van Winkle going to sleep in 1958, when sodomy was a felony in all fifty states, and waking up yesterday, that day being a fair day in June when Google was snarling rainbows at absolutely everybody, exhorting us all to get with the anal program. I here use the definition of exhort provided by Ambrose Bierce when he said that such an activity consists of putting the conscience of another upon the spit, and roasting it to a nut brown discomfort.
I mean, think about it. When Obama was first elevated to his seat at the Resolute Desk, he did so as an opponent of same sex mirage. There was one saving grace in this for him—in that everybody knew he was lying—but he took that position because it seemed like a moderate one to take at the time. But if he had taken that moderate position, and then for some reason refused to budge from it, then we would have no choice but to tag him as a seething purveyor of hate. Like the rest of us moderates who have somehow failed to move it, move it, move it.
Now mainstream societies have always had their utopians, mystics, fruitcakes, extremists, and more. But usually these were people who wanted to usher in a brand new order, a new state of affairs, the broad outlines of which were established by a Swedenborgian theologian who had just taken three hits of acid. Their visions were sometimes, um, not all that realistic. And these extremists could easily be identified—they wanted us all to blend in with something that looked like a pastiche of Salvador Dali, Hieronymus Bosch, and a few wood cuts of William Blake exercising his talents on the theme of Dante’s Inferno. We just checked in to see what condition our condition was in.
Or maybe perhaps something like the platform put forward by Marianne Williamson after a few more Democratic debates make her look like the sane one up there.
My point is that extremism used to be easy to identify by virtue of being, you know, extreme.
But who is an extremist today? He is identified as someone who continues to hold to the plain old vanilla positions he was taught as a lad in the sixties. He was taught these things by his mom, his nurse, the public school system, and by “these things” I am including stuff like that XX and XY business.
So the U-Haul business in California is now red hot because thousands of normal people (who remember when California used to be a wonderful place to live), but who have taken notice of the feces and needles covering their sidewalks, not to mention the high taxes that are needed to support such luxuries. They decided, as any number of reasonable people might do, to move to Texas, Idaho, or Montana. Walking down the Main Street of their new town, they take grateful note of all the things they don’t have to step over, and they breathe in deeply, filling their lungs with some real high mountain air extremism.
Here in our neck of the woods—Spokane, to be precise—there was one of these state-sanctioned grooming events at the public library. You know, where the drag queens read to the little kids in order to find out what condition their condition is in. Some hundreds of protesters, moms mostly, showed up outside to protest this travesty of a pig’s breakfast, and so, naturally, there were 30 or 40 cops there to protect the drag queens, along with two SWAT team snipers on the roof, also there to protect the sacred mission going on inside.
Now let’s pretend one of these moms had moved from San Francisco to get a little distance from the Crazy, and because of her husband’s line of work, they settled on Spokane first. But because of these and other recent developments, they are starting to look hard at properties near Priest Lake, Idaho. And why? Because people who moved from California to the Pacific Northwest in order to find out if there is any clean oxygen outside the asylum are obviously extremists of the most twisted and dangerous kind.
The extremists running the asylum don’t have to worry about that label because they are deemed Respectable by the inmates running the newsletter media department for the asylum. That, and Romans 13.
We are talking about Christians, on the one hand, who represent two millennia of Christian teaching, doctrine, development, history, and application, and four millennia of God’s dealing with the history of Israel before Christ. Over the course of all six millennia, taking the blood of innocents has been abhorred, pursuing the perverted practices of the cities of the plain has been detested, and dishonest weights and measures have been considered a loathsome abomination.
Compare that to now, where this generation’s sense of history can be measured by the time an erection lasts, combined with whatever length of time it takes to memorize the slogan you plan on chanting the next time a conservative speaker tries to formulate an argument on your campus.
So about sixty seconds of reflection should show us that the word extremism is being used a bit loosely in our time. It is appropriate if talking about a thinker who is out on the skinny branches, swinging back and forth like a rhesus monkey, finding new insights every minute. We have always had those guys, and we need words like extremist to describe them. But it is a bit thick to be called an extremist when you are hugging the trunk, and the rhesus analysts for MSNBC are worried about the fact that your great-great-great grandfather was hugging the trunk also. Hidebound bigotry, they call it.
A bit extreme, perhaps?