To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it.
You need both, because some of what is good about our world is irreplaceable and has to be guarded, while some of what is bad is unacceptable and has to be changed. We should never forget that the people who oppose our various endeavors and argue for another way are well intentioned too, even when they're wrong, and that they're not always wrong.
But we can also never forget what moves us to gratitude, and so what we stand for and defend: the extraordinary cultural inheritance we have; the amazing country built for us by others and defended by our best and bravest; America's unmatched potential for lifting the poor and the weak; the legacy of freedom--of ordered liberty--built up over centuries of hard work.
We value these things not because they are triumphant and invincible but because they are precious and vulnerable, because they weren't fated to happen, and they're not certain to survive. They need us--and our gratitude for them should move us to defend them and to build on them.
Recently in Social Factors Category
#FreeJahar resists describing itself as a "fandom." Because #FreeJahar is mostly young and largely female, its habitués struggle with the perception that their interest in the Tsarnaev's case is mostly about Tsarnaev himself. "i've noticed the only thing the haters can say is: all the people on this tag are young horny girls [and] we are only defending Jahar because he's good looking," one blogger wrote. (The fact that dedicated #FreeJahar blogs routinely reblog posts calling Tsarnaev "the world[']s hottest terrorist" or collecting tweets about Tsarnaev's good looks doesn't help.)
Woman Calls 911, Asks Police for Help GettingRefund from Her Drug Dealer
After handing over her last $50 to a drug dealer for cocaine and marijuana, a Florida woman suffering from buyer's remorse called 911 and asked cops for help in securing a refund.
Katrina Tisdale, 47, explained to St. Petersburg police that she would be penniless until her next Social Security disability check arrived. Hence the pressing need to recover her $50 from the unnamed narcotics salesman.
Despite Tisdale's explanation for her two calls to 911 Monday evening, officers arrested her for misusing the police emergency system...Tisdale was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where she is being held on $100 bond.
According to jail records, Tisdale has been arrested many times over the past several years, including six arrests for cocaine possession. Tisdale was convicted in mid-2011 of calling 911 to falsely report that she had been robbed by her drug dealer.
There was something missing from President Obama's Wednesday speech in Denver about gun violence. He focused almost exclusively on passing gun-control laws, and not at all on one of the nation's biggest promoters of violence: the entertainment industry.
The president's campaign against gun violence has produced a stale debate marked by lots of speeches with little achieved. A more creative chief executive would have used this moment to widen the discussion by drawing attention to the increasingly graphic violence so pervasive in television shows, movies and videogames. Mr. Obama is particularly well positioned to challenge Hollywood because of his special relationship with the media world's elites. They might be more likely to heed criticism coming from Mr. Obama than from any other president or member of Congress.
The debate over gun control too often seems a matter of abstractions about the meaning of the Constitution and the permissible capacities of ammunition magazines. Why is so little time spent on a question of more immediate concern--namely, why are so many young black people using guns to kill their neighbors?* * *
It has become de rigueur in such discussions to briefly acknowledge that the tough sentencing reforms of the 1980s and 1990s are a substantial part of the reason but then immediately say something to detract from the import of that conclusion: "Most studies agree that increases in incarceration explain part of the decline in violent crime, though Solberg and many criminologists say the warehousing of young men convicted of nonviolent crimes causes as many social problems as it solves." But the people quoted in the story who actually live in a cleaned-up area don't seem to think so.
The result [of housing policies] is a very different population, said Joyce Robinson-Paul, a 32-year resident and the advisory neighborhood commissioner for the area. "The new neighbors are very quiet," she said. But "the real crime problem didn't leave until many of the dealers were arrested and went to jail."In California, where we have elected a Governor and Legislature who cannot remember history and are determined to repeat it, we are seeing the trend in reverse. In the FBI numbers for first-half 2012 versus first-half 2011 (a clean before-and-after on the realignment that took effect in October 2011), we see crime increases in California while national figures are flat.
Where does human savagery come from? The animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, writing in Psychology Today after last month's awful events in Newtown, Conn., echoed a common view: It can't possibly come from nature or evolution. Harsh aggression, he wrote, is "extremely rare" in nonhuman animals, while violence is merely an odd feature of our own species, produced by a few wicked people. If only we could "rewild our hearts," he concluded, we might harness our "inborn goodness and optimism" and thereby return to our "nice, kind, compassionate, empathic" original selves.The article proceeds to explain why that is baloney. The "conservative estimate" of violent death among chimps is 271 per 100,000, which is over 57 times the 2011 U.S. homicide rate, and the U.S. is high among developed nations. The article concludes:
A Texas appeals court has affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to hold Anheuser-Busch liable for an assault suffered by a bar patron. The suit alleged that the long-neck design of the bottle made it too attractive for assailants seeking a weapon; the court agreed with the brewer that the plaintiff had failed to make out a sufficient case to avoid summary judgment.