David's politics blog

The hazards of studying conservatism

7 September 2020

What hazard?

by David

When I talk about the “hazards of studying conservatism,” fair question: what hazards am I talking about?

Hazard #1

Having so many thoughts that I pour hours into creating a blog.

That is the first and most important hazard.

I suppose there are a few others.

Hazard #2

When I started studying conservatism, the world was a tad more orderly. Hillary Clinton was on her way to winning the presidency, Brexit seemed unlikely, Bolsanero was a punchline. I figured the stuff I was studying was quaint and at the margins of society.

Sometimes what seems marginal becomes central.

This is one thing that’s tricky when studying any movement that seems extreme or marginal: is it? Might it become centrally important?

Worry.

Hazard #3

This follows from #2. The news cycle has been like a firehose ever since 2016 and I have mostly just tried to stay away. I study conservatism and I consume as much news as I can, but I feel like I need to live under a rock. I Googled “cancel culture” this morning, for instance.

Hazard #4

Essentially what I do is political mediation. And like any mediator, I am not neutral but I also need to empathize with everyone. It is tricky to bring the perspective of the right when I think about the left and vice versa. I’m critical of both in my way, to varying degrees. Everyone can end up seeing me as “one of them.”

Hazard #5

Following from #4, mediation is lonely work sometimes and yet such a privilege. Alternating between self-pity and profound gratitude on a daily basis.

tags: hazards, about