Conservatives are often accused of wanting anarchy by their Statist friends. There is a fine line between anarchy and authoritarianism. We conservatives want to build upon history a society of ordered liberty. This is not insanity, chaos or disorder. It’s freedom – freedom and the rule of law.
We actually see how tyranny turns into chaos in that the “rule of law” becomes simply whatever the President governs. The rule of law is a person and not a system of checks and balances which is predictable, stable, and secure. In other words, the rule of law is a thing of the past; it is memory which grows more and more distant as time goes on.
President Obama took the unconstitutional health care law which he passed and changed major parts of its legislation without congressional origin – that is, he made law apart from the only legitimate law-making branch of government. Where does this end? How can he (or anyone else, for that matter) constitutionally do such a thing?
Furthermore, these Statists desire to expand the maze they’ve been engineering by saying, “You don’t want no government do you?” or “Well, you’ve got to have some laws,” like the nation just started yesterday.
And have you ever noticed that whenever flaws or discomforts concerning their utopian scheme that they have unleashed upon us are ever brought to their attention, they always seem to say something like, “Don’t worry, it’s nothing like what it could have been!”
On the other hand, brute force is what always replaces utter and total chaos and collapse. We shift from one end of the spectrum to the complete opposite without any respite in between. But there is another alternative, besides anarchy in politics and anarchy on the streets. It’s not like we are new to history or that we have never had systems of tradition that have been treated and tested by time that we have inherited from our grandparents and their grandparents before them. It’s not like we don’t know how to take care of our families or our own bodies. We, as a human race, have been at this since the dawn of our kind. Conservatives assent to these facts and acknowledge that all forms of civil government are subject to us as human individuals – not vice versa.
The Statist believes essentially that the government has almost divine qualities in that it’s all-wise, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-good. This can be seen thoroughly in the arguments for a universal, centralized healthcare system. The Statists repeatedly reprobated the “imprudence” and “selfishness” of the young among us for deciding not to purchase personal health insurance (one reason, among many, being that we generally do not need health insurance this early in our lives and would rather spend our limited fortune on something else). However, on our behalf, the utopian president and his fellow masterminds, forced us – along with every other American citizen – to buy health insurance anyway…claiming, as a government, to be more knowledgable about their citizens’ needs than the citizens were (and are) themselves. As the Great One is prone to say: this government acts as if we are smart enough to elect our own politicians but not wise enough to decide what kind of light bulb to purchase.
The alternative to unlimited government and an uncivil society is a civil society within effective structures that nurture it. I’ll let Mark explain from Liberty and Tyranny:
“Like the Founders, the Conservative also recognizes in society a harmony of interests, as Adam Smith put it, and rules of cooperation that have developed through generations of human experience and collective reasoning that promote the betterment of the individual and society. This is characterized as ordered liberty, the social contract, or the civil society.
“What are the conditions of this civil society?
“In the civil society, the individual is recognized and accepted as more than an abstract statistic or faceless member of some group; rather, he is a unique, spiritual being with a soul and a conscience. He is free to discover his own potential and pursue his own legitimate interests, tempered, however, by a moral order that has its foundation in faith and guides his life and all human life through the prudent exercise of judgement. As such, the individual in the civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous – that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable. He rejects the relativism that blurs the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, and means and ends.
“In the civil society, the individual has a duty to respect the unalienable rights of others and the values, customs, and traditions, tried and tested over time and passed from one generation to the next, that establish society’s cultural identity. He is responsible for attending to his own well-being and that of his family. And he has a duty as a citizen to contribute voluntarily to the welfare of his community through good works.”
Hardly anarchical, in my book. Nevertheless, Statists would have you believe that there would be total and systemic collapse unless if they reigned supreme – which, if you hear their arguments, according them their power over you and your wealth is never enough, has never been enough, and (like a broken record) will always never be enough.
The fair and inquisitive student must conclude, therefore, that Conservatism does not, indeed, argue that “every man should do whatever is right is his own eyes” (Judges 21:25) just as it also does not want the “man of system” to do whatever is right in his own eyes (Theory of Moral Sentiments); rather, it calmly yet boldly asserts that the government does and should exist…only by way of the amendable confines of a stable and predictable, thus secure, rule of law – the Constitution of the United States…and this all within the greater moral authority of God and the civil society.
How could one not like such a system?
The Conservative, therefore, must argue that he is not against civil law or politics but only against tyranny as seen in political utopianism.
Levin, Mark. Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. New York: Threshold Editions, 2009. [page 17]
Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 1790.