The Dual Life of a Conservative

I suspect that many conservatives who write about politics lead two lives, as I do. One life is the life of intellectual engagement. The other life is the business of life itself: marrying, raising children, working, paying bills, taking the car in for service, buying groceries, and the thousand other things that make the years seem to roll by so quickly.

I suspect that I’m a typical conservative in that my mundane life isn’t politicized; for example:

I don’t choose the companies that I patronize because they support or oppose divestiture of Israeli bonds or oil-company stocks, unisex bathrooms, “green” energy, or any of the other causes du jour. I choose the companies I patronize because they deliver good value for the money I spend or invest there.

I certainly don’t patronize a grocery chain because of its owners’ politics. Why would I waste money at Whole Foods just because its founder, John Mackey, is supposed to be some kind of libertarian?

I didn’t send my children to private schools (of the right kind) so that they could avoid the left-wing indoctrination that prevailed in the public schools where they grew up.

I listen to music and read books composed, performed, or written by persons whose left-wing views are widely known and often evident in their works. Though I won’t tolerate outright preachiness (shut up and sing), I enjoy that which is good on its own merits and disregard the politics of those who create or present it.

I watch most of the shows presented by PBS on Masterpiece, despite the subsidies it receives directly and indirectly from the federal government. Again, it’s a matter of quality over politics. For the same reason I eschew bombastic “conservatives” like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, whose shtick is as boring to me as that of any left-wing commentator.

I have absolutely no interest in the political leanings of the people I meet, and recoil when they insist on exposing their leanings (as leftists are wont to do). I take people as they come; that is, I evaluate them on the basis of their demonstrated competence, honesty, reliability, sense of humor, and likeability.

Most importantly, my marriage remains strong and happy despite the disparity between my wife’s political views and mine.

In daily life, then, my conservatism reveals itself as non-ideological and pragmatic. Non-ideological because conservatism isn’t an ideology, it’s a disposition. Pragmatic because the conservative disposition prefers the demonstrated value of a person or thing to the symbols of virtue or “correctness” which may attach to that person or thing.

Related posts:
More about Conservative Governance
The Authoritarianism of Modern Liberalism, and the Conservative Antidote
Economically Liberal, Socially Conservative
The Internet-Media-Academic Complex vs. Real Life
Rescuing Conservatism
If Men Were Angels
Death of a Nation
Libertarianism, Conservatism, and Political Correctness

4 thoughts on “The Dual Life of a Conservative

  1. This is a timely post as I’m about to publicly stick my neck out on this matter tomorrow, “I have absolutely no interest in the political leanings of the people I meet, and recoil when they insist on exposing their leanings (as leftists are wont to do).” I’ve finally decided that it might be time to do what I can (while being as professional and non-offensive as possible) to prevent myself from being trapped working at organizations with politically active (leftist) cultures.

    Just to give you a preview on the direction I’ll take with my 3 part rant on my own blog, I will explain how assimilation is better than multiculturalism in the later sections.


  2. I’m having a difficult time trying to be pragmatic as a lifestyle approach as you outlined. Where do I draw the line at not patronizing or utilizing convenient or useful products or companies. I happen to like Whole Foods and find it convenient to shop in yet I agree with your characterization of Mackey and now even worse Bezos. Do I not use Amazon in spite of its tremendous convenience and how about Google (I’m using Duck Duck Go but it’s really not as good). Anyway I also have a difficult time with many of the people in my world (NY metro) as you must in Austin when any discussion turns political with climate change, immigration, education, etc. All told I like your approach and I’m really enjoying the blog. (Btw my son had Prof Wax last semester and I’m trying to get his take on her op Ed however I’m expecting he won’t agree with my assessment). One more thing, my business partner is extremely conservative and opinionated and always blasts celebrity types for their views yet continues to patronize them as you do, however I suggest he draws the line at the ones who actively campaign, promote, and raise money for their projects, what do you think?


  3. I do eschew films and other entertainment if I know that they promote (or are likely to promote) a left-wing cause. Example: My wife wants to see “Hidden Figures”, which may be all right but which is also likely to be a distorted piece of anti-white male propaganda. I have studiously ignored her request. I can’t stand that kind of preachiness, from left or right. But it would take some effort on my part to keep track of celebrities and their causes, and then deliberately shun them because of those causes. My time is better spent blogging, which in some very small way may help to counteract the lunacies of the left.


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