Milo Yiannopoulos. A person relatively few had previously heard of, made a lot of headlines this week after he was uninvited to speak at CPAC due to comments he made regarding his apparent support for pedophilia. Now whether this and his subsequent resignation from Breitbart were justified or a witch hunt, it brings up some significant questions that conservatives must address.
First, who are we willing to ally ourselves with?
While “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” may be true to some extent, it does not mean that he is on my side. People like Yiannopoulos and other internet ranters may be fighting for freedom of speech and against political correctness, but that does not make them conservatives.
The reason this distinction is important is because the rest of America is watching. If they see “conservatives” being chummy with individuals like Yiannopoulos, they tend to assume that means that we approve, and they automatically lump us all together. We cannot control the assumptions of others. All we can do is control our own actions. This means making clear our own beliefs and staying true to those beliefs and not being blindly loyal to individuals.
Second, what does it really mean to be a conservative?
For years we’ve heard that we must be more inclusive if we ever hope to succeed. It is this mindset that has led to the transformation of the Democrat party. When an avowed socialist like Bernie Sanders actually has a fighting chance for the Democratic nomination, you know things have changed from what Democrats used to be. This is due to the fact that the Democrat party abandoned “self-evident truth” and instead bases most policy on what feels good.
Sadly, the Republican party is on that same road as evidenced by the election of Donald Trump. We have forgotten or ignored what is means to be a conservative. True American constitutional conservatism has 5 basic elements:
(1) Truth, (2) equal God-given rights, (3) government’s only job is to protect those rights, (4) the people hold the power over the government, and (5) the ability to alter government to fulfill its real purpose.
Third, can you be an amoral (or immoral) conservative?
One of Yiannopoulos’ claims to fame is is flamboyant disregard for basic morality. This begs the question, can conservatism survive without morals? This is not a popular topic these days, however conservatism will be diluted and eventually die if morals are no longer a prerequisite.
Conservatism (as defined above) has as its goal freedom and liberty. You can’t have freedom and liberty without morals. We must always question those who would promote our cause while denying the core values that uphold that cause.
“[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.” ~John Adams
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness…” ~George Washington
Conservatism recognizes truth. True conservatism recognizes the Truth Giver, that Creator Who gave us our inalienable rights. If you are going to promote “truth”, you must accept that there is a standard of truth. You must accept that there is a “final word” on the subject. As we move on after the Yiannopoulos debacle, we would do well to heed the words of Franklin and Washington:
“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.” ~Ben Franklin
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” ~George Washington