George Will wrote, in a recent column, that the reason conservatism is valid is that “by definition, most new ideas are simply wrong.” Statistically, he’s correct. But he neglects a corollary… or should I say he adopts an assumption… that puts lie to the “certainty” that conservatism is viable or better: he (and many conservatives) assume that the status quo that has been implemented in any given situation is good or best.
If this were true, we would never evolve. We would not have new models of cars. Granted, the conservative impulse (to drag one’s heels to avoid being pulled over a cliff by excited liberals pursuing a far out claim) has its uses. But I think it is essential to be conservative about what one knows works best.
Examples? When I was 8 or 9 years old I saw a TV chef (Chef Tell… “Very eezy, very zimple!!”) demonstrate a method for dicing onions. 35 years later I still dice onions using his technique because I haven’t found a better one. My grandmother taught me, at age 4, how to wash a counter with a dishrag while ensuring no crumbs hit the floor in the process. I still use that method, because I have not found a better alternative that achieves both goals (washing, and keeping crumbs off the floor) so elegantly.
But at age 43 I read an article in Runner’s World magazine that led me to this site. http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/knots.htm
I now tie my shoes exclusively using “Ian’s Knot.” There was no good reason to continue using the method I had been taught in kindergarten, and many good reason’s to change.
So I guess the summary of this post is that I am a Liberal Conservative… I will preserve that which works well and is justified, and I will seek out improvement and make changes when the existing methods aren’t working. NOTHING stands on its tenure only, or on the authority by which it is promoted.