Since Jul 22, 2003
I'm a conservative in my sensibilities and instincts, though not a partisan, in any country or for any party--including French Royal Legitimism, which I admire but to which I cannot adhere dogmatically. Politics is pragmatic; it's not a religion. I wish Anglo-American conservatism would take more cues from European history and French hard-right conservatism such as Joseph de Maistre and Charles Maurras; we have a lot to learn from the mistakes and failures of Europe (yet also from the many good points of this great, old, Christian civilisation) and I worry that we seem determined to repeat all of them.
I'm a Roman Catholic. Perhaps 80 percent of French people (not counting the Muslim immigrants...) are willing to call themselves Catholics, but of course the rate of practice cannot be higher than 15 percent. It's going up, though, slowly: you can only decline so far before the nonbelievers kill themselves off, mostly through contraception, abortion and frankly apathy about transmitting their agnosticism to their children ("Hey, you've found religion; whatever suits you!"). Traditional Roman Catholicism is definitely stronger in France--both in numbers and in percentages--than in any other country. The old Catholic French order is lamentably reduced, and forced into quasi-hiding, but it is alive!--and it is magnificent. That's another reason I've stayed.
I like to think of myself as German-American in my mentality and tastes, despite a fair amount of Norwegian and Celtic admixture. I identify strongly with the Germans as a "people" but I'm too many generations removed from the ancestral lands to put my political loyalties with the German state and I definitely do not support Anschluß anything idiotic like that.
I do not think Barak Obama will be the death of my country of birth, but I do believe many of his idiotic precedents will be continued and built upon for the worst, no matter how (rightfully) angry American voters become with him or with the Democratic Party. I worry the U.S. is approaching the point where the only way its wholesome and defining elements could be salvaged is through military dictatorship. Political instability is in America's future. If I could recommend one prescription, as a young sociologist, conservatives need to cling fervently to kin--family and good, trustworthy friends consciously bound through deep bonds--for the times ahead.
I am deeply interested in educational theory and educational models in terms of the role they play in society. I do not support uniform compulsory education for all citizens. That is a clear propagandizing method on the part of a centralized government and a trampling on the rights of parents. In the near term, high schools need to be split in two, with a first diploma at age 16 (to remove the stigma of "dropping out"; not everyone needs to finish high school) and a second at age 18 for those whose careers will require a university degree; such students should be required to complete intensive A.P. programs (to prevent public funds from being wasted on keeping in school youths who for whatever reason have no chance of success in higher education if they get admitted at all). All countries train an elite, but I find the prices of American universities to be an outrage and believe the hypocritical lefties running them should be held to the fire for their wastefulness and their grubbing of ordinary American families. Of course I also think there are too many students in most American universities and that the quality is suffering as a result.
On Europe: despite its larger welfare budget, American derisions of "Euro-socialism" are somewhat unjust (though clearly there is much room for improvement, and it is probably true that France and Germany handle nationalized medicine better than, say, Britain). That is not to say that what works for some European countries would work for America. As for the Euro, it would have been an irreproachable idea had it been confined to France, Germany, Austria, BeNeLux and any Nordic country that wanted it. Elsewhere the business culture, economic situation and work ethic is just too different and creates tension by exposing all countries to the individuals' risks. Italy, Spain, Greece, etc. have greatly profited off the European Union--almost entirely at the expense of France and Germany. Now they're running to the end of their ropes, starting with Greece. Irish Catholics will hate me for this, but from a long-term view it probably would have been wiser to stay on the punt.
All-in-all, my political worldview can be summed up as follows: I believe in Christian, aristocratic society, rooted in the soil and in kinship but respecting of one's neighbors and conscious of the cosmopolitan dangers, challenges and necessities of the 21st century. But I get tired of politics pretty quickly. It's only a means to an end, and a French hymn sums up that end quite well:
« Vive Jésus ! Vive sa Croix ! » ("Long live Jesus! Long live His cross!")