Does the Rational Conservative Movement Exist?

This website is devoted to science fiction and fantasy. It is also a lifestyle site for people interested in those topics and it serves these things in a conservative, libertarian, and objectivist framework. Objectivists and libertarians have well defined movements with leaders, forums, and even national conventions. In the case of the libertarians there is even a political party that caters to their particular political beliefs. Conservative is a much broader category encompassing a more diverse group. Depending on who you ask in that group some will say the conservatives/Republicans that enjoy science fiction and hold rational philosophical views are not conservatives at all. Those who will tell you this are more often than not the group I have labelled the “irrational conservatives”. 99 times out of a 100 they are the social/religious crowd. That group purports to be guided politically by faith in their religion, often taking their vote and going home if they are not placated in some way. They are the opposite of the Dwarves C.S. Lewis describe in The Last Battle.

“They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

I love C.S. Lewis as a writer, but he was wrong here. Belief blinds intellect, not the other way around. What a wonderful world Lewis lived in where faith trumped reason. Alas it is not the world we live in and no amount of belief, wishful thinking, or magical incantations will make it so. Of course, while many but not all on the religious right fall into this trap, a large majority (I would even suggest that most) on the left are stuck fast by wishful thinking as well. It is a trap of self righteousness where your belief trumps reality and any who stray from your path must be corrected or destroyed. I fear both of these groups, but I only align myself with one and not because I agree with them on matters of faith.

There is a very personal reason I can never be a liberal. Most liberals believe that they will be on the top of the heap when their kind take over. They will be the party official sitting in luxury taken away from the fat cats and entrepreneurs. They will command the vast unwashed masses to work in the cogs of the socialist state machine. You may not believe they think this way, but I have heard them when they think they are alone with their own kind. As an archaeologist surrounded by liberals I have had many chances to keep my mouth shut and listen. Most people would be aghast at the things I have heard. I also know that even if I toed the party line to the hilt I will never be invited to be an elite. So I cherish my neighbor’s freedom as much as my own in hopes that my small endeavors will prevent the liberal “utopia”.

I have far too many things going against me to be invited to their party

Liberals by nature are creatures of social hierarchy. They believe that there are workers and masters and that some people belong on the top while others must be relegated to  the ditch diggers of the world. They rarely will tell you this, but it is an ingrained belief. All of them think they should be the master and the rest of society their slaves. They are all smarter, and braver, and more worthy than the rest of us. If the entitlement state is not a symptom of this kind of thinking, nothing is. Even though they all want to be on top they do order themselves into a hierarchy among those in the “know”.  You climb the ladder of that hierarchy by being a member of certain demographics. If you do not fit their vision of an elite or you are outside of the demographic you are not one of them. No matter how smart you are, or how hard you work. I don’t fit that vision. I am not particularly handsome (looks get you everywhere with liberals). While I am intelligent and hard working, I am a hillbilly intellectual. I come from the mountains of Appalachia. Being a hillbilly is a death sentence when it comes to the left. The hillbilly is the most despised class on the Earth to these people. I have seen it first hand when I lived in New York for two years. You could not say the things about other types of people that were said  to my face. If I had not been physically intimidating I really believe I would have been in a fist fight every few days. As it was I was constantly in confrontations with people who felt perfectly happy calling me “Boy” and asking me how many slaves I owned, or if my parents wore shoes. The people who found this acceptable were other archaeologists, supposedly intelligent people. They were so confident in their smug liberal beliefs that they did not realize what bigots they really are. I ended up threatening one with a shovel after a particularly heinous series of insults. It was all I was able to take and I was the one in the wrong. Of course I am not suited to be part of the liberal elite, I am a violent stupid hillbilly.

No conservative had ever treated me the way liberals have treated me. No Christian had belittled me in front of my co-workers. That is why I choose to align myself with the right. That is why I work to create a world that gives the most people the most freedom of choice and the most freedom of action. I fear the alternative. I have seen where that path leads.

I give myself a variety of political monikers. These often change depending on what crowd I am talking to. With other science fiction fans I am a “Heinlein Conservative”, when I am with other political wonks I describe myself as a “Rational Conservative”. Which brings me to the meat of this article. Does the Rational Conservative movement that I so long to be a part of actually exist? While I have never been accosted to my face by the members of the religious right I have seen what they think of the rational conservative. It isn’t pretty, and they are sure we are all RINOs. Is there a place for me in the Republican party?

I think I have found that place working to move the party away from irrationality and towards a rational coherent philosophy of economic and individual freedom. If that means that the religious right are no longer part of my vision of freedom then I will work to move the party away from them. I may not always be correct but I will not support a group that has an irrational need to peek into the bedrooms of free people and make laws based on a religious text. I know there are many like us. If we work together we can take the party down the road that leads to the stars and away from the road that leads to theocracy. The religious right is welcome to come along as long as they realize the Republican party is a big tent party and that our issues are economic and individual freedom not the slavish adherence to a 2000 year old book. The future of the Republican party is Atheist, and Hindu, Jew, and Christian working together to give our children freedom to make their own choices.

I am not an Objectivist and I really have some major disagreements with the Libertarian party. I am a Republican and a Conservative. I believe in the military. I am anti-abortion on humanist principles. I think the borders need to be closed and we must protect our traditional freedoms and culture. I want to legalize drugs only because of the cost to individual freedom of the war on drugs.

If you are wondering where the rational conservative movement is and where you can find other Rational Conservative Republicans here are two places on the net to meet them.

Darwin Central

The Conservative Atheist

Both of these sites put me in mind of another quote from C.S. Lewis’ novel The Last Battle…

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

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This is one of the reasons I have different things I call myself depending on the company I am keeping at the moment. Heinlein Conservative is my preferred as I consider myself a student of his ideas and have modeled my life since I was a teen on the kind of person I believed was his idea. (Of course no one can live up to a Heinlein protagonist much like Ayn Rand’s they are super men) Of course calling myself a Heinlein conservative brings a blank look outside of the scifi community and that is sad as much of our society and it’s technology owe it’s existence to his juvenile story’s influence over the scientific community.

Although in retrospect, I don’t think they know what a libertarian is either.

I may not be rational and I’m not an atheist. I’d most likely label myself a classical liberal, though I usually say “libertarian,” since I don’t think many people know what a classical liberal is.

I like your work; you’re a beautiful writer.