Confusing the *method* of conserving with *what* is conserved

I just saw a clip of Santorum saying how the media “elite, smart people” and the universities would “never be on our side” (which he alludes to a little later, but does not define) because these people and institutions want to “tell you what to do” (like he doesn’t).

First off, he creates the strawmen of people & institutions wanting to tell you what to do as though such a thing  only exists in smart people and universities, or that these two things only want to tell you what to do (which he apparently confuses with the teaching of critical thinking).

He says: « Basic premise of America and American values will always be sustained through two institutions: The church and the family. And so economic conservative and libertarian types can say “ah well, we don’t’ want to talk about the social issues.” Without the church and the family, there is no conservative movement, there is no basic values in American enforced, and there is no future for America in our country. »

But what is this basic premise of values that apparently only the family and church can sustain; and what future is he referring to?

I often (relatively speaking) get into conversations about “finding oneself” or “remaining true to myself.” Invariably I will say something like: your current “you” is the accumulation and trajectory of all the decisions you have made to date. If you had made different decisions and, therefore, defined a different trajectory, you would be different — maybe even wildly different — but you would still be every bit “you.” Therefore, there is no fear of changing one’s position, making choices that differ from those that represent who you think “you” are at this moment in time.

I understand the premise underlying the word “conservative” — it is to conserve. I can therefore understand assertions that conservatism preserves [a certain category or set] of American Values. But the other equally valid American Values are progress in civil rights, invention, inclusiveness, tolerance of differences (diversity). These involve critical, progressive thinking. We change with the times and dress our values in modern clothes. We continue to improve the structure supported by our basic values. That they don’t look the same as they did in the 50’s doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

The point here, tho, is there is a “premise” he’s ignoring — nay — that he disallows.

Santorum and his ilk cannot imagine a cohesive family where the children learn to think and evaluate critically because they cannot imagine how, then, they could control what their children think & do — the very thing they accuse smart people and universities of trying to do. They imagine a family unit of chaos because, instead of children obeying their parents and thinking like their parents, they see the children rebel, the family collapse, and the strictures of their religious tenets erode.

So they fall back on cloning, homogenization, and church-control because that has worked in the past to maintain family units as units & “Biblical” living. That means progress is an aberration — people thinking outside the cloning box. Progress is sin because they can’t fathom a group path toward their god that involves thoughts they didn’t instill, in behaviors they don’t have to think about as possibly representing righteous steps on the path.

They can’t imagine the Good Samaritan doing what Jesus commanded, but on a different trail than the one he took when the story was told.

It’s this lack of imagination that forms the box in which they want to “conserve” family cohesiveness, obedient thinking, & their religious tenets. And they confuse the method of conserving with what is being conserved. They confuse the hard work they put into maintaining the discipline of their trappings with the hard work in progressing (maturing) while maintaining the core values.

In this sense, living a righteous life does not involve a maturation of the Body of Christ, but rather a regression — a type of stagnation where you live within the comfort of the confines of man-made strictures with the arrogance that you’re right. It’s like an adult saying, “I need not learn anything more than I have learned — expending the energy to spin in place, and to keep the maturation of a society plateaued — that’s enough for me,” ME being the keyword.  My children being an extension of ME.

It’s like management by fear: do only what you think is safe enough to assure your spot in Heaven. If you try something else, you risk damnation.  This is the perspective of the mind that seeks sanctity in formula, rather than Samaritan guidelines.  The perspective where you shake your Job fist at God for caring for people who live in ways different than you’ve been taught as “holy.”

What Santorum and his ilk have in mind is a subset of a larger set of values – obedient, religious, clone children —, which subset they want to rule our nation in a form that doesn’t require imagination or involve progress. When they refer to the destruction of America if we, don’t just conserve their box, but don’t make it the law of the land, they are referring to the diminishing of the trappings of their core beliefs, not those of the rest of the nation.

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