Two thoughts on the tenth anniversary of Andrew Sullivan's blog:
1. I have a close friend who was physically abused, quite severely, by his father as an adolescent. He grew up and became a strong dissenter of physical abuse, which is understandable. However, if you try to talk bad about his father, he is incredibly defensive of the man, and will not stand to hear ill spoken against him. It seems paradoxical, that he is so ardently critical of physical abusive parents, and yet is so vehemently faithful to his own abusive father, and refuses to acknowledge that his father simply is not a good person.
This, also, happens to be exactly how I see Andrew Sullivan's relationship with the Catholic Church.
2. When a word is misappropriated and overused in that misappropriated way, it loses its meaning. Eventually the word becomes basically meaningless, or at least its original meaning is completely lost. A good example of this is the word "gay" which originally meant "in a happy way", as in "he had a gay face as he opened his Christmas presents" but now you cannot say "I feel really gay today" and have a single person think you mean "happy."
This is what has happened to the word "Conservative," although Sullivan desperately clings to the "I'm still a conservative" mantra. But the meaning of the word conservative is lost. At this point, it has become a new word, a cloak really, that the GOP uses to label themselves. Sullivan somehow thinks he can be a conservative, yet be pro-gay marriage, pro-marijuana legalization, pro-Obama. But the new meaning of conservatism is so far in the opposite direction on these and so many other issues: conservatism now means being for lower taxes, yet larger government. Conservatism means a hardheaded, illogical refusal to accept defense spending as a flexible part of the Federal budget. Conservatism means an unwavering commitment to tax cuts regardless of the Federal fiscal situation. Conservatism means being a Christian, or a Jew...or at least anti-Muslim. Conservatism means that Israel is absolutely, positively, above criticism.
Andrew Sullivan is not any of these things. Neither are most of the people who in the late 80's and 90's called themselves "Conservative." Andrew may hope that somehow people get it together, and the conservatives go back to the values and beliefs that the conservatives of yesterday had. But alas. Andrew Sullivan's Conservatism is gone.
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