How to turn a Liberal into a Conservative

Of course if you mug a liberal you can turn them into conservative whereas you need to arrest a conservative to get a liberal. No need to speculate what happens when you mug a Conservative – nothing happens.  Interesting though to speculate as to what might happen when you arrest a liberal but now we don’t have guess as we have recently acquired a data point: in the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of Chris Huhne and his wife Vikki Pryce .  Both parties appear to have had their liberal suspicions about the futility of incarceration to effect moral improvement confirmed.  I am going to put a smiley face here 🙂

Now we have another prominent example of a liberal politician becoming a conservative.  We have David Ward the Liberal Democrat MP saying

“In these circumstances…..after the terror campaigns of Hizbollah/Hamas and Islamic Jihad in which hundreds of Israeli citizens were murdered and maimed in response to Israel’s peacemaking and withdrawal from the occupied territories, after 1600 Hamas rockets had rained down on them with the intention of murdering civilians and then the heart-breaking kidnap and murder of those three kids, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have cheered when  the IDF took on the Hamas terrorists with carefully aimed missiles”

Actually I am paraphrasing him, these, incredibly, are his actual words

“In these circumstances, if I had personally lived year after year after year, hemmed in by air, land and sea by a mighty military force, I might well resist. Wouldn’t you?”

Incredible because the whole point of liberalism is not to talk like this.  Liberals in Israel argue that Israel is bound by the rules of war to conduct its defence with legality and proportionality. Liberals in Gaza are murdered by Hamas so we need liberals not under duress to eschew vengeance and not counsel retaliation against civilians.  To be fair to Ward he has condemned the rocket attacks but fails to see that the Gazans have been hemmed in by Hamas’s policy violent aggression towards the Israeli state which induces the blockade enforced incidentally by that other mighty military force in the region – the Egyptian army.

In Gaza David Ward’s are Gazan Fox News commentary – the obvious righteousness of the ethnicity (In group loyalty) and it just order (moralised authoritarianism) in the shape of the state, the utter depravity of the enemy (out group contempt), the need to seek a just revenge (see vengeance needs and political conservatism) and do so immediately.

So how do liberals get to be conservatives?  The streak of anti-authoritarianism has them hostile to in group authority and its allies – the US and Israel and sympathetic to the enemy of my enemy – the Palestinians and not sympathetic the Israeli civilians.  The bifurcated moral sense there is Us and there is Them.  Nick Cohen documented liberal sympathy for things in the out-group which they condemn in the in-group in his book What’s Left.   David Ward has earned his place in the next edition.

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