BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Red-pilling Corbynites is not that complex a sport – far fewer parameters than fly-fishing and certainly less taxing than golf. Just sidestep those lost cultist zombies who require professional deradicalisation by Prevent (or, my preferred therapy, a few months in one of Chavez’ socialist barrios in Caracas, from which they will emerge, I assure you, Friedmanite). Best hone in on targets with grey matter still exposed to logic and red pill them with role play:
“So, here I am standing before you as your future PM, and I promise you a free house, a free education, cheap food, free healthcare, free public transport, nationalisations across the board, and greater take-home pay. What do you say to that?”
“Bollocks. Why should I trust you capitalists?”
“I’m not asking you to. I’m just promising you the impossible. It’s impossible right?”
“So why on earth would a bright fellow like you be so gullible as to trust in this endless list of Corbyn and McDonnell freebies?”
Every now and again an erudite Corbynite (odd though that sounds) appears, who works out that your political fulcrum is a conservative one:
“You small c conservatives are fools. You whine about the decay of traditional values, yet enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently, it never occurs to you that you can’t make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values. A technological society must weaken family ties and local communities if it is to function efficiently. Conservatives can’t hold back progress.”
Sound argument. On the surface. (This is hardly an excuse to be a Corbynite, but it is a useful retort to a conservative if you happen to self-declare as a progressive, which, extraordinarily, many Corbynites do).
So what should a conservative’s defence be?
The unwritten rule of conservatism – whenever in doubt or under pressure, turn to Burke or Sowell.
In this case, let’s turn to Burke.
Edmund Burke talked of conservatives having “an ability to perceive truth, argue for justice and combine a disposition to preserve with an ability to improve”. You cannot get much better than that definition of conservatism (although Sir Roger Scruton, in a podcast last year with the writer James Delingpole, described conservatives as people who “love something actual and want to retain it”… the “love” mention by Scruton is convenient in our time as anti-conservatives today tend to cynically use the appeal-to-emotions trick as a way of portraying conservatives as heartless).
It is with the Burke “improvement” retort that the positives of technology get seen to be embraced by conservatism. Progressives can then be probed on how their progress is managed without conserving existing institutions in a climate of justice and exposing of truths.
Never doubt being a conservative. Never doubt your adamantine soundness, even when you’re spat at in the face by those who are misguided or confused.