Saturday, December 17, 2011

David Cameron's Christianity, or: why conservatives can support the Occupy movement

Much twittering about David Cameron's speech, accusing him of hypocrisy - after all, how on earth can a Conservative be a Christian? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Well, no. It's perfectly possible to be a Conservative and be committed to, inter alia, social justice; 'conservative' does not equate to 'apologist for an abusive status quo' - although, obviously, in some cases that is accurate.

To bring out what I am describing, ponder the Occupy movement. Some 'conservatives' might criticise it for being a petulant protest, an army seeking to destroy the goose which lays the golden egg of prosperity. That's just shallow. On the other side, of course, there are elements in the protest which are indeed, childish and irresponsible (and gross). Yet it seems to me that the core of the protest is an assertion of moral values, most especially a rebellion against the idolatry of greed and an idea that justice must be done, that criminals should be punished, and that subsidising the wicked is no way to run an economy. Which seems exactly what a conservative would support - so long as the conservatism was thought through, and not simply tribal. I suspect that tribal criticisms from the left are not the best way to bring conservatives to such a realisation though...

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