A conservatism that warns against utopianism and calls for cultural sensitivity is useful. When it begins to question the importance or existence of moral ideals in politics and foreign policy, it is far less attractive. ~Michael Gerson
In other words, conservatism is acceptable to Gerson when it doesn’t get in the way of projects that he supports, but becomes annoying when it points out the moral bankruptcy of the policies he endorses. I am sick to death of the idea that apostles of aggression and warmongering have some claim to representing “moral ideals in politics and foreign policy.” Theirs is a fundamentally immoral position through and through, and their pose–and it is a pose–of moral superiority is the most infuriating of all. It isn’t a question of idealism vs. pragmatism, but one of corruption vs. decency. Gerson is a happy apologist for the former.
Gerson self-righteously writes:
It demands activism against sexual slavery, against honor killings, against genital mutilation and against the execution of children, out of the admittedly philosophic conviction that human beings are created in God’s image and should not be oppressed or mutilated.
What of the conviction that human beings should not be slain in wars of aggression, nor children ripped to shreds by cluster bombs (the “execution of children” is perhaps less abhorrent when the children are Lebanese or Iraqi), nor ancient communities uprooted and decimated by fanatics unleashed by ignorant meddlers? The victims of Mr. Gerson’s preferred policies are no less the children of God. Let him justify, if he can, the strange calculus by which he trades their lives and dignity for his abstract commitment to human dignity.
Gerson burbles still more:
Without a firm moral conviction that independence is superior to servitude, that freedom is superior to slavery, that the weak deserve special care and protection, the habit of conservatism is radically incomplete.
Yes, independence is superior to servitude, which is why conservatives deeply resent the immoral infringement on the sovereignty of other nations. The weak deserve special care and protection, which is why the Machtpolitik of hegemony is abhorrent to us. The only thing worse than the arrogance of power is the presumption that the possession of that power gives one a right to dominate the affairs of other peoples. A “moral vision” is necessary, and it is high time that Gerson and his allies acquired one that did not involve the shedding of other people’s blood.