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Conservatives: The Next Generation


I’ve been hearing from a bunch of younger conservatives who take issue with my column today (which was written rapidly in the immediate aftermath of the Lott announcement). They complain that they shouldn’t have to feel any guilt or shame about what conservative did or didn’t do forty years ago, since they weren’t born. They are simply taking the colorblind position, as they would have in the 1960s, and therefor they have nothing to apologize for. It’s certainly a fair point and I pretty much agree with it. That’s certainly how I feel most of the time. I was born in 1969, but I’m supposed to be responsible for what people did or didn’t do in 1964?

I guess my answer to my own rhetorical question is yes and no. Shelby Steele made the case more eloquently than I could about why this is so. But I will make one point he didn’t. Conservatives need to be forthright on race because of the paranoia and silliness of so many liberals. Racial liberals are so quick to assume racism on the part of their opponents conservatives have to work extra hard to show that we’re not. Why should we care about the misconceptions or obtuseness of liberals? Well, because politics is about persuading people. And if conservatives are right about race — and I think they are — they need to persuade liberals why they’re wrong. It’s really as simple as that. Is it unfair? Of course it is. But conservatism is the philosophy which recognizes life isn’t fair.