Before the parade passes by
Before it goes on, and only I’m left
Before the parade passes by
I’ve gotta get in step while there’s still time left
I’m ready to move out in front
Life without life has no reason or rhyme left
With the rest of them
With the best of them
I wanna hold my head up high
I need got a goal again
I need got a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again
Before the parade passes by…
I apologize for my absence this last fortnight but Sue and I both came down with the same bug within hours of each other and neither of us has been able to shake the damn thing. I don’t know what it is but it has made sitting at a monitor all day a test of manhood - or an exercise in stupidity, depending on your point of view. The time of my day that I usually write has been given over to lying in bed trying to sleep which is where I should be now except a personal milestone was passed on September 23 that I failed to note at the time and thought that since I have devoted such an enormous part of my life to this undertaking, I should acknowledge it in some way.
As of 9/23, I have been blogging for six years. I have written nearly 3500 posts, as well as a couple of hundred articles at Pajamas Media, American Thinker, FrontPage.com, and other sites.
Even without this forced hiatus due to illness, I don’t write much anymore. I try to tell myself that I don’t have the time but the truth is found in the lyrics of the song from “Hello Dolly” above.
The parade is passing me by and I have fallen out of step with most of my conservative friends. When I write now, I write for my own amusement or to clarify my own thoughts about a particular issue - something that I have tried to do for the last six years. It’s amazing how shallow one’s thinking truly is unless you force yourself to justify yourself to yourself in writing. “Reading maketh a full man, conference, a ready man, and writing, an exact man” said Francis Bacon. I have tried, within the limits of my own feeble intelligence and failing will, to live up to those words, thus attempting to fulfill what philosophers refer to as “An Examined Life.”
Oddly, while my examination of the underpinnings of my conservative beliefs has led me away from what I suppose is the “mainstream” of what passes for conservative thought these days, the primary goal I set when I began blogging - becoming a commercial success as a writer - has been achieved beyond my imaginings. Ironically, far fewer conservatives read and agree with what I have to say these days then when I was making no money at all. There’s a cosmic lesson to found there - I just haven’t been able to determine what it is yet. Perhaps it’s that the gods have a cruel sense of humor and, like the elf Puck says in Midsummer’s Night Dream, they spend much of their time in rollicking laughter at “…what fools these mortals be.”
It’s lonely being a fool. As I have struggled to find a way to reconcile a robust, philosophically coherent, and consistent conservatism that has meaning for America in the 21st century with the riot of conceits, resentments, paranoia, and narrow mindedness that much of the right has become, I have found myself standing on the curb watching the clowns, the garish floats, the brass bands all roll by, marching toward the precipice and willingly - joyously - jumping over the cliff, trying to take the whole damn country with them.
“To what end?” I wail. “RINO!” they scream at me incoherently as they disappear into the maw of history. At a time when the tenets of conservatism, if applied intelligently and consistently to governance, can help revitalize the United States and this wonderful experiment in self government and individual liberty, the right chooses to eschew governance altogether in favor of a putrid ideological war “to save America.” Just how they intend doing so by trying to implement an agenda that’s 30 years old while immolating lawmakers who dare suggest that working with the opposition to come up with solutions to address our massive problems is necessary, I don’t see. I don’t believe they’ve gotten that far in their thinking yet.
How have things changed the last 6 years? Perhaps it’s me that has transformed but that can’t be the entire reason for my alienation from many on the right. What’s amazing is that despite the differences between us, we both still hold to certain principles of conservatism. That fact used to give me hope until I realized those with an excessively ideological bent have a somewhat cloudy notion of the application of those principles to the real world of politics and governance.
For instance, how you can reconcile a Darwinian free market with the need for a “well ordered society” gets lost in the translation. Regulation of markets is necessary, although certainly not to the extent that the massive, radical, and imprudent Financial Reform Bill takes the concept. But you can be certain that any financial reform legislation, no matter how sensible or necessary, would have earned the enmity of many on the right simply because it came from the left. That kind of mindless partisanship that sees consorting with the enemy as the greatest sin of all could doom us in the end.
It is with mixed feelings that I enter my seventh year of blogging. More changes are coming soon that will affect this site. I will probably go back to daily postings of original content in the next year. My usual plans to redesign the site are in place. Whether they come to fruition is another story.
And I suspect I will still be a lonely spectator over the next year, set apart from the crowd by choice and circumstance, watching the parade go by and idly wondering if the show was even worth watching anymore.