Recently I read a book by John Eldredge called, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. The author describes authentic masculinity as adventurous, risk taking, ready for any challenge. Men, created in the image of God, are “wild, dangerous, unfettered and free.” Men have an inherent desire to be the hero, to carry the day, to rescue the damsel. Too often men fail to be what they are called to be because they succumb to wounds given them by other men who are too cowardly to play the hero.
Liberty is adventurous; it is not safe. With liberty comes risk. Liberty does not suffer feckless, flagitious fools. Only those morally brave enough are man enough to be free. Benjamin Franklin captured that principle when he stated “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
Our Founders chose to be real men despite the risk. They chose the path of liberty over the security of monarchy. They yearned to be free and to break the yoke of tyranny. That yearning is the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is not found in prosperity. It is not found in bipartisanship. Happiness is the pursuit of liberty. So many real men gave their last full measure of devotion so their children can live in freedom.
In a twist of irony, conservatism is wild at heart. The word “conservative” can mean “disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.” “Preserving existing conditions” appears cautious. “Limiting change” does not seem to be adventurous. However, in the current political climate, “change” has come to mean government bailouts, government health care, government regulation, wealth redistribution. “Change” means tyranny. Conservatism’s wild nature seeks to preserve the adventures of liberty from a timid subservience to liberalism’s march toward a world without risks.
Choosing liberalism or progressivism is not adventurous. It is wimpy. It is gutless. Statist liberals and progressives trade the pursuit of happiness for an irrational hope of absolute security and government subsistence. That liberal transaction is why they push for health care reform and seek the approval of dictators. Rush Limbaugh constantly states that liberalism is “not an intellectual pursuit. Liberalism is basically the most gutless choice you can make. It’s nothing but emotion and feeling.”
The wimpy liberal chooses government health care, government welfare, social security, minimum wage hikes because he wants to feel safe more than he wants to be free. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The statist liberal is too timid to play the hero. He masks his cowardice in causes that “raise awareness.” “Raising awareness” requires nothing of him. The liberal coward lashes out against the hero with slogans and bromides. “Bush lied. People died.” Liberals called Ronald Reagan a warmonger, a cowboy, an idiot. “Violence leads to more violence” was the chant as Reagan ended the Cold War by extending the arms race so far the Soviets couldn’t keep up and feed their people at the same time.
Bromides require no intellectual pursuit. Bromides, in fact, prevent thinking. They stifle debate. After all, “the science is settled,” right? The statist liberal tries to discourage the hero so as to hide his own pusillanimity. If the hero succeeds, the liberal will be exposed as a “chickenheart.” A liberal prefers the destiny of masters rather than to master his own destiny.
In a speech at a Hillsdale College Churchill Dinner, Rush Limbaugh contrasted liberalism and conservatism. He stated “liberalism is the most gutless choice you can make. Liberalism’s following a cult figure. Liberalism is following a demagogue.” Liberalism is not about thinking. Thinking is hard. It takes effort. Liberalism is about feelings and following. Feelings are easy. Feelings just happen. Following is safe. Liberals feel comfortable when looking for a master.
In contrast “Conservatism sees Americans, sees potential, sees great opportunity, sees an opportunity for people to be the best they can be using whatever ambition and desire they have. Reaganism conservatism does not need to be adapted to issues of the day. There’s no such thing as the conservative version of Big Government. That is a sellout of conservatism.” Conservatism is about taking the lead, seizing the opportunities, facing the challenges, rising to the occasion, risking all for liberty.
Conservatives love the adventure of freedom. Self-sufficient, rugged individualism is his mark. He would rather see his business fail than take a government bailout. In tough times he prefers to accept the generosity of family and friends than rely on the forced charity of strangers.
In the gladiatorial arena of modern politics, Conservatism’s Maximus will always confront Liberalism’s Commodus. Not because he wants to, but because he has to. Maximus believes in freedom. He wants to live in peace, but he is not afraid of the tyrant. He is loved and honored. Commodus is controlling, manipulative, despised. He seeks the public favor, not by principled leadership, but by giving handouts and providing distractions. The liberal mob can be counted on to stand there idly with their hands out.
Not the Conservative. The Conservative is adventurous. He is wild at heart. He loves liberty more than life. He is dangerous. He is a real man. He is the hero.