Well, the four days are up, and the first stage of my "Conservative experiment" is over. I had a huge amount of work this week, more than anticipated, so I was unable to post as much as I wanted to. Nonetheless, some very good things came out of this first experiment.
As PHers who were online from June 3 - June 6 know, in that time, I posted and contributed threads arguing only from the Conservative viewpoint. In order to separate this time frame from older theads and threads to come, I gave input during this time in this font and color:
"The voracious Conservative jumped over the lazy fox."
So, looking back, I and other members will know based on the font that I was arguing from the Conservative perspective.
During this time, I opened the following threads:
The thread over the 8-10 principles behind american Conservativism received the most traffic and the most responses. The mental exercise thread received minimal traffic and no responses at all. I found that to be most fascinating. I gave input on some other threads, but not all too many.
A number of Conservatives contributed some very, very fine and respectful thoughts on these threads, and I wish to thank them for it. Members like [MENTION=14724]Telecaster[/MENTION], [MENTION=22125]Rorschach[/MENTION], [MENTION=3865]Macduff[/MENTION] and [MENTION=20413]Angel of Dearth[/MENTION], among others, contributed some very, very fine thoughts and I wish to thank them for it. The thoughts they contributed, I am still thinking about.
Also, [MENTION=5452]Cicero[/MENTION] actually took up my challenge for people not directly from the Right to actually engage me in active debate just as vigorously as they would a "real" Conservative. And I thank him for this. I also thank [MENTION=1719]Babba[/MENTION] for her encouragement during this small project, it is much appreciated. Also, I thank [MENTION=14686]Rasselas[/MENTION] for some very solid and pragmatic advice.
I wrote that I wanted to do this project to gain more knowledge and more empathy with Conservatives, and for this part of the journey, the goal has been -somewhat- reached.
I also think this did some Conservatives here in PH good. Many of us claim to know what we believe, but when asked to put it in writing, we are sometimes hesitant. I wonder how many Conservatives knew that Russell Kirk was the father, so to speak, of modern American Conservatism. I wonder how many knew of his books and the principles he put down on paper, to guide a number of generations. Perhaps these "faux" Conservative threads are not as "faux" as some may think...
And I wonder how many Liberals have actually searched for or made their own list of guiding principles. You know, ideological and philosophical laziness doesn't know and electoral map color...
So, what did I learn?
1.) Conservatives, just like Liberals, are not monolithic. There are differences of opinion among Conservatives as well, and it behooves us all to recognize and respect this. It is therefore not right to lump all Conservatives into one boat. G-d knows it angers many Liberals when Conservatives do this to them through word and deed. I am going to redouble my efforts refrain from any blanket statements about Conservatives as a monolitic group.
2.) Treated with respect, many Conservatives give the same back. So, sorting out the obvious asswipes from both groups (Liberals, Conservatives) out of the rat-pack, I have decided to go a much more neutral and also a friendlier approach to Conservatives in PH.
3.) As is the case with Liberals, Conservative philosophy does indeed espouse principals that are worth pondering. I wonder how many Liberals here have actually taken time to sort out Conservative principles in their own minds. My biggest problem is not with the principles of Conservatism, per se, but rather, the application thereof. And here is where agressive but respectful debate can be helpful, I would think.
Liberals, too, have varying sets of principals, and in the next days, I will be comparing them to the Conservative principles, making a table of the two side-by-side and researching them. I suspect that this upcoming thread will see a healthy amount of traffic.
Finally, I think it is worth remembering that our Union has known both great Liberal and great Conservative presidents. It has also known fair to mediocre Liberal and fair to mediocre Conservative presidents, and yet, our Union still stands. This alone is proof-positive that our similarities as American citizens outweighs our philosophical and ideological differences. I didn't really need to do a "Conservative Project" in order to deduce this, but doing it did strengthen this belief of mine.
Phase II will be conducted at the end of August.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for contributing.