…it’s not because of my virtue or my vice….

The conservative position on freedom is, as I have always understood it (listening to actual conservatives rather than “conservative intellectuals”), that we must defend the freedoms of the virtuous. I have heard this principle brilliantly defined as “liberty is the freedom to do what’s right.”

Vice may — or even must — be suppressed!

This derails any substantive commitment to freedom, I argue, or to civil liberty.

I mention this not to rag on conservatives, whom I often agree with on many things, and whose arguments become less opprobrious to me as I grow older and grumpier — as I prepare to drop off into the Abyss.

It is to note that modern progressivism is conservative, in that today’s progressives have redefined virtue and vice for their ideology, and defend the freedoms of those they consider virtuous (or “victims,” the other v-word in this scenario, since it often stands in for virtue) and aim to suppress the freedoms of those who engage in vice.

Vice being wrongthink, from this point of view, the wrongthink centering, at present, on racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc.

When it comes to a listing of vices, I do think that most items on the progressives’ list have much to be said for them, as do most items on older lists of traditional Christian culture.

But I am largely uninterested in “values” politics, and the endless wrangling over whose vice we may suppress, via the State. Why? Well, because the rationality of these projects is so gossamer-thin, dependent always on which model of morality we are promoting this week.

I think freedom itself, as embodied in liberal notions of natural and civil liberty, provide a better guide to peace and justice than does any relentless virtue-mongering program.

Which is why I am not a conservative.

Which is also why I am not a progressive — they are basically just another form of conservative.