Saturday, May 3, 2014

Everything you need to know. About this ring. I guess.

How Conservative is Conservative? How far right do you have to be to be considered for admission to this ring? Let's start by saying that trying to play lawyer with me is not going to get anybody anywhere. I've seen people dust off Hilary Clinton's old campaign rhetoric, claim that it is the very essence of what the founding fathers would have hoped we would all be saying someday, and on that basis demand acceptance as conservatives. Common sense says that they're nothing of the sort, and as a real conservative, I won't hesitate to use that common sense without apology when somebody attempts to give me a snow job. This is not a courtroom or a democracy, it is a benevolent dictatorship, this little ring, and "I'm not going to define conservatism for you, but I know it when I see it" is as much of an answer as I owe any applicant. But nice non-creampuff that I am, I'll give you a few of the details, one of which should be readily obvious to anybody who entered this ring through one of my sites. Given that the ringmaster (me) is from a partially Jewish multiethnic background, I think that you can probably guess what I think of white supremacist or racial hate sites. Don't wsste your time or mine by submitting them.

You don't have to far right or "purely conservative" to join. REAL Centrists (and I'll be the judge of who qualifies, thank you), Libertarians and those whose personal ieologies fall somewhere in between these three are conservative enough. If the PCers don't like you, and you're not liberal, you probably meet this criterion.

You don't have to belong to the "America, love it or leave it" contingent to join this ring. You absolutely can be a critic of the direction this country is taking; many conservatives are. Patrick Buchanan certainly is, and I have yet to hear anybody refer to him as a liberal. Indeed, if you want to get on this ring, odds are that you should be at least a little critical, otherwise do you really even have anything to say? Nations do not find good paths for themselves through history through pure chance. They succeed in doing this because like a man tracing a path through a forest, they periodically look up, take an assessment of where they've been and how they seem to be getting them, make a few adjustments, and get themselvs onto a slightly better path; to do otherwise in the name of "feeling positive" is to end up wandering around in the dark. It is also the absolute antithesis of genuine conservatism, with its focus on values. If we never re-examine the path we're on, then in what practical way do any of the values we claim to embrace impact on our actions at all? Real conservatism requires thought, not loudly shouted rhetoric. One will not see real conservatives going to a great many political demonstrations, not because we do not believe in the people being heard, but because when the people are heard, we would hope to see to see them elevate the tone of the discussion, not drag it own to the sound bite defined lowest common denominator. The point of democracy is not that the antics and attitudes of the crusty, undignified, uneducated European serf of old should be seen to be just as good as those of the educated leadership, but that the common man can and should find within himself the dignity that those with power have so often tried to beat out of him down through the centuries, and become more than he has been conditioned to think that he can become.

Yes, social criticism is allowed and encouraged. The question is, as you criticize the status quo, what kind of ideal are you trying to nudge it toward, and what kind of values are displayed by the nudging, and do either bear any connection to that which could seriously be argued to be traditional? A bedhopping society of public aid recipients whose children are being raised more by the state than by themselves, the West as a 60s era commune on a grand scale, may appeal to some, but the vision is a nightmare to us. All of those boring, staid notions of family, community, honor, the desire to live through one's own efforts and own work are things we take very seriously. To take the example I brought up before, that of Patrick Buchanan, note the difference between how Buchanan responds to the loss of American jobs (courtesy, largely of currency exchange rates) and how some of our liberal democratic friends do. He doesn't call for an increase in the payments made by welfare, he calls for tariffs so that the advantage given to third world products by the exchange rate will evaporate, giving Americans back the chance to honestly earn a living. In his view, mom and dad aren't being handed the keys to a brand new sparkling McMansion for free, with the kids being left to wonder why they should respect these older people who are no less dependents than they. He just wants mom and dad to have a fair chance to stand on their own two feet, earn their keep, and make their own future. The future he envisages is not some science fiction utopia in which all good things are free, as if such ease would be a blessing, but a turning away from the decline into a future of slack, back toward that which made America and the nations of the West flourish, not so very long ago. One who criticizes our society on terms like that, I may welcome to this ring; the Rainbow society, I will not.

I do screen sites for quality, and that involves my (gasp!) actually reading them, and not just looking for the navbar. For this reason, your application is not going to get processed instantly. I keep the ring closed most of the time, anyway, as a practical matter, because legitimate applications are few and far between these days, and spammers if anything are growing in numbers. But, aside from that, this next step I require of you as an applicant achieves three worthwhile ends.

  1. It ensures that you're going to get my attention and speedier service than you otherwise might, just sitting in a queue.
  2. If you're willing to stick around, it gives you the opportunity to become part of a community being built among the ring members. The Internet's been getting a little too impersonal lately. Let's try to turn a little of that around.
  3. It discourages mass joining of rings. We've been getting a bit of a prisoners dilemma situation going on Webring of late, with so many people joining so many rings, that the traffic per ring has dropped to the point of forcing people to join more and more rings, just to get their sites visited. The problem feeds on itself, and it's time that some of us started trying to put on the brakes.

    Why bother to make the effort in the case of this one ring? Because the ringmaster's willingness to make people make the effort if they want to join means that the sites you see on this ring won't be the ones you see on hundreds of other rings. For all of the screaming about the uniqueness rating, a ring that offers sites that you don't see everywhere else is a ring that visitors have more of a reason to want to travel. Being on it is going to mean more, if people give the idea a chance.

What do you need to do? Two choices, actually: Register for a board named Arrrggghhh!!! (appropriately enough), and start a thread in the section of that board dedicated to this ring, in which you talk about your site and mention your interest in joining this ring. Or, if you prefer, you can sign up for Conservative Midwestern Pagans, become an active member of the group, and THEN mention your site, but not before. Either way, be sure to mention the url for your site, and please keep it clean, because this is a non-adult board. Be patient. Ring members are encouraged to look over your site and share their views and reasons for those views. If I decide that your site would make a good addition to the ring, I'll open the ring for you so that you may join. This is not an easy ring to get onto, so don't take it personally if I say "no".

I think that should cover it, so let's go to the ring.