A few notable excerpts from Conscience of a Conservative.
We are only as good as our information, and if we lose our sense of objective truth, we lose everything. We must protect and preserve our healthy public sphere--that civic space in which we vigorously debate and negotiate, agree and disagree--or else.
Giving away one's agency and becoming captive to such outlandish and vile alternative facts would be bad enough were one an average person, quietly living his or her life. But giving away one's agency to such a confusion of fact and fantasy when one has power--well, that is truly dangerous. And it is something else, too: highly influential. Bad information propagated by powerful people spreads like a contagion, infecting vulnerable people in its path.
I really appreciated the concept of giving away one's agency related to dishonesty.
From a very young age in ranch country, you also get to know immigrants intimately and honestly. You learn through experience how indispensable they are to making things work in America. It seems that once every generation or so, we have these spasms of immigrant resentment and scapegoating, if not outright hatred. We are at our worst when we give in to these impulses and resort to a device that can be emotionally satisfying, perhaps, and politically expedient but very self-destructive--the impulse to look for somebody else to blame for our problems. If only these people weren't here, we would be much better off. The nativist impulse is always destructive, always comes with a cost, and never ends well.
Seemingly overnight, we became defined not by the limitless aspirations of a free people but by our grievances and resentments and our lowest common denominators. . . . The quick answer: We did it because it was cheap and easy and the real world is hard and defending a principled position to voters is harder still.
Far from conservative, the president's comportment was rather a study in the importance of conflict in reality television--that once you introduce conflict, you cannot de-escalate conflict. You must continually escalate.
Reading this comment during the weekend of white supremacist violence and the President's sociopathic, racist response to it made me even more frightened for the future.
What is best for the country is for neither base to fully get what it wants but rather for the factions that make up our parties to be compelled to talk until we find policy solutions to our problems.
As I said in my review earlier this week, a worthy book.