Monday, October 11, 2004
The Big Tent
no "small c" I see that Ben and Flea and a few others are taking a swing at a group Blog called Urban Conservative. I think this is a great idea and I wish them every success. The new blog is not what I want to write about here, however. Reading it over only reminded me of some thinking I've been doing about North Western Winds. When you start a blog, you have some ideas of what it might be and who might be interested in reading it. You expect it might not turn out just like you thought and you might find yourself changing things just a bit as readership information comes in. There have been surprises indeed. I'm surprised that I seem to enjoy doing longer posts, even if I can't do them every day. I'm surprised - and pleased - that people seem to enjoy those longer, more philosophical posts. I still plan to do the short ones, just maybe not three or more in a day. I'm surprised that I've hooked up with a likeable group of conservative Canadian bloggers, proving that Canadian-ness and conservative-ness are not ideas in opposition. I'm surprised that no one has lashed into me on a socially conservative post. I still think that last concern is a real one and that it is coming, given where our courts are. They are so confident that they can overturn a centuries old institution- marriage- that they just dismiss concerns put before them. Their questioning of conservatives defending the status quo indicates that they think it is the defense, and not the rebellion, that needs to meet the burden of proof. I think they are justified in their reading of the Canadian public and that is why I feel a lashing is inevitable. The pillars of this blog are, as I see them: 1) the life of a tail end Gen X male, living on the west coast 2) of Canada. 3) The conversion of that male from an agnostic public school education that was hostile to religious ideas, which he did buy into for 25 years or so, to orthodox Catholicism. 4) The intelligent defense of religious ideas, by showing that in thought and action some sort of a religious base is always present, even if it is not acknowledged. 5) Demonstrating that tradition, and not rationalism, is the best base from which to generate the necessarily religious axioms that are the fertile soil of a free society. I'm not trying to turn everyone into a 'papist.' That would take more wattage and charisma than I can muster even on my best days. I am trying to show that Canadian conservatives need to think in terms of the "Big Tent." For conservatives to begin to reform Canada will require a reformation of the culture. That and only that will substantially change the politics. The opposite approach can't properly be called conservative, even if it favours traditionally conservative ideas of small government and so on. It's the old ends justifying the means problem and any success found that way is bound to be short term - possibly as short as one election term. Change the culture and you fundamentally change the terms of the debate. A changed culture will put the brakes on what your opposition can do even while they are in power. North Western Winds is a a bit of an odd bird. It has a good number of Canadian readers, but not too many religious ones (that I'm aware of). It's a bit of a struggle to try and appeal to mainstream readers by defending social conservatism. American readers are much more tolerant but often not very interested in Canada or Canadians. Keeping those three things tied together promises to be a challenge. In the end, though, it's about a culture in which one doesn't have to resort to the euphemism of "small c" conservativism. That kind of culture requires that we don't forget where we come from or what we stand for. In my own small way, that's what this blog is about.