About that road less traveled...

Jonah Goldberg published a superb article in National Review, "Staying on the Path," that gets at the fundamentals of conservatism briefly and pointedly.  It discusses an old Bill Paxton movie, A Simple Plan, and has to do with following the received wisdom of right and wrong in both the moral and the not moral senses.

That's the path, and it seems easy enough to stay on until you think about how many times you told a tiny fib (moral) or sloughed off taking your daily exercise (not moral), or whenever you don't do what you know you should.

Staying on the path may be the most conservative concept there is.  "What is conservatism?" asked Abraham Lincoln.  "Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried?"  People who think conservatism is opposed to all change miss the point entirely.  Paths go places.  They might not get us where we want to go as fast as we would like.  But the conservative is deeply skeptical of shortcuts and simple plans to save time or effort.

The essence here is the efficacy of tradition.  Nations, institutions, and individuals follow similar trajectories when they follow or deviate from inherited traditions – perhaps especially America, whose traditions derive from moral principles based on Judeo-Christianity.

Goldberg cites a John Podhoretz tweet noting that had the FBI followed its own procedures and SOPs, today's catastrophe would have been completely avoided.  The problems began when powerful men decided they were their own moral authority.

Hence James Comey's arrogance in presuming his had a higher loyalty.  Rather than follow his oath of fealty to the Constitution and FBI traditions of honesty and disinterested service, Comey's higher loyalty was to himself.

In America, in high government service, that's just not good enough.

Jonah Goldberg published a superb article in National Review, "Staying on the Path," that gets at the fundamentals of conservatism briefly and pointedly.  It discusses an old Bill Paxton movie, A Simple Plan, and has to do with following the received wisdom of right and wrong in both the moral and the not moral senses.

That's the path, and it seems easy enough to stay on until you think about how many times you told a tiny fib (moral) or sloughed off taking your daily exercise (not moral), or whenever you don't do what you know you should.

Staying on the path may be the most conservative concept there is.  "What is conservatism?" asked Abraham Lincoln.  "Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried?"  People who think conservatism is opposed to all change miss the point entirely.  Paths go places.  They might not get us where we want to go as fast as we would like.  But the conservative is deeply skeptical of shortcuts and simple plans to save time or effort.

The essence here is the efficacy of tradition.  Nations, institutions, and individuals follow similar trajectories when they follow or deviate from inherited traditions – perhaps especially America, whose traditions derive from moral principles based on Judeo-Christianity.

Goldberg cites a John Podhoretz tweet noting that had the FBI followed its own procedures and SOPs, today's catastrophe would have been completely avoided.  The problems began when powerful men decided they were their own moral authority.

Hence James Comey's arrogance in presuming his had a higher loyalty.  Rather than follow his oath of fealty to the Constitution and FBI traditions of honesty and disinterested service, Comey's higher loyalty was to himself.

In America, in high government service, that's just not good enough.