Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Jonah Goldberg's column today was a fantastic analysis of the role of conservatives in the broader culture. Sample this rather lengthy quote:

"But the real agenda must include an attempt to persuade. As with the so-called war on poverty, the real goal for the conservative movement should be its own obsolescence. The health of the conservative movement shouldn't be measured by the fullness of think-tank coffers and Republican seats in legislatures, but by the overall direction of the country. It seems that some right-wingers who've gotten rich off of winning shouting matches (in the minds of their fans at least) have abandoned even the hypothetical goal of persuading their opponents. Meanwhile conservatives who attempt to persuade or deal with liberal arguments on their own terms or influence events in the realm of the possible are routinely denounced as sell-outs, opportunists, approval-seekers, courtiers, or closet liberals. I may not always agree with The Weekly Standard, but that doesn't make them any less conservative."

What a simple point, yet one that is not often brandished within the conservative movement. Our goal should not be a separate conservative paper; it should be a paper that everyone can trust. Our goal should be broad influence that does not limit us to a conservative ghetto. Hugh Hewitt hammers this point home on his blog constantly, and most distinctly in his book In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition.

It's also an important point for Christians to remember. I'd go a step more, saying that's even more imperative for Christians, for obvious reasons. Broad influence is not, by default, the same thing as compromise. Remaining in a Christian or conservative ghetto increases the likelihood that we're all reduced to another special interest group, another band of ideologues and dogmatic people who demand to be rewarded after every victorious election. Conservatism will never flourish in that scenario, and Christians are called to a higher idea. See this quote from Chuck Colson, courtesy of Rooftop Blog:

"Some fear limiting ourselves to a quid pro quo relationship with Caesar. Says Charles Colson, a former Watergate insider who now heads Prison Fellowship, ‘I disassociate myself from anyone who says, ‘Now we voted for you, it’s payback time. Give us our due.’ That’s what special interest groups do, and we’re not a special interest group. We vote our conscience and what we believe is in the best general interest.”

Points well worth pondering as we proceed into the heart of the next Bush administration.
7:23 PM :: ::
<< Home
Matt :: permalink