“If liberals refuse to be a part of the dirt of history, conservatives refuse to even see the dirt — at least in their own group! They hunker down and call their evil “good.” The conservative response is usually the common person’s first response to reality: “What is in place already should probably be trusted. It must be true, because that is the way it is.” Its basic sin is lack of courage, but also lack of exposure or education. It usually does not “know” about the dark side, the other side, the view from the bottom, or even the view from the top. Sometimes it is innocence, often a false innocence engendered by fear, but always a costly innocence for somebody — maybe even for themselves. It confuses loyalty to systems with loyalty to God.
Conservatives, in general, are so enamored with presidents and popes and precedents that there is never any room for prophecy or honest self-criticism. Their truth is often too small and too self-serving. Almost always “separatists” in some sense, they are usualy on the run from some painful or unworthy place in themselves.
It seems to me that conservatives are enamored with past evils which they too easily call “good,” whereas liberals are enamored with clever new evils which they think will destroy evil once and for all. Neither of them is willing to carry the burden of living tentatively in a passing and imperfect world. So the contemporary choice offered most Americans is between unstable correctness (liberals) and stable illusion (conservatives)! What a choice! We see this in the present war against terrorism, although those who want stable illusion seem to be in the great majority. It has little to do with real transformation in either case. How different from the radical traditionalism of a T.S. Elliot: “You are not here to verify, instruct yourself, or inform curiosity or carry report. You are here to kneel……””
Richard Rohr — Contemplation in Action