Conspicuous Conservative Conservationists

Conservatives are into conservation. It is no accident that Nixon initiated the EPA. Protection and conservation are both hands-off approaches to the environment. They are exclusive in the sense that human beings are to be shut out. Having been expelled from the Garden of Eden, humans presumably lost the right and ability to garden at all. Man as a part of nature is a foreign concept to conservatives. Perhaps it’s just a matter of not wanting to get their hands dirty, but conservationists, if they were honest, would have to admit that they just want nature to be left alone. Restoration and renovation are not concepts they appreciate. Which is strange for creatures of habit doing things over and over. But then, conservatives don’t do.

Anyway, conspicuous conservatives seems like an oxymoron, until one considers the meaning of “conspicuous” in the context of “look, don’t touch,” an injunction with which the ham-handed likely grew up. Which sort of brings me back to the sense of touch, but that’s not what I want to focus on today. Rather, that conservative politicians are conspicuous is part and parcel of their impulse towards showmanship, as well as their apparent dependence on superficial optics. Appearance is what counts. If they are not seen by the public, the cons are as nothing. Also, because the honest man assumes that deception would hide its face, being conspicuous is central to the con man’s spiel.

One is tempted to refer to them as the CCC, were it not for the historically relevant Civilian Conservation Corps, whose members actually did things with their hands and left us still-standing evidence of their environmentally constructive work. If anything, our contemporary conspicuous conservatives are their exact opposite. Then too, the CCC reminds of the Soviet states, which horrified our conservatives with their emphasis on manual work.

It seems sort of silly to be still dithering with a moniker after all this time. But the con words are all somewhat deceptive, perhaps because the prefix means both “against” and “with.” So, even the proposition that “you’re either with us or against us,” presents a false alternative. It makes sense. To contest is to employ force against; to exist in a constant struggle that is never resolved. War is a given and a constant. Which means that the cons are defined by their antagonistic stance. If they are not in conflict, they are as nothing.

What’s to be done about them? Nothing, but be aware of them like mosquitos, and wary of their bite. Not by their buzz shall ye know them, but by their sheen. Like preening peacocks do they strut about the capitols of both the nation and the states.