Home Running Against the Train - The Moderate Conservative Fallacy
Home Running Against the Train - The Moderate Conservative Fallacy

Running Against the Train - The Moderate Conservative Fallacy

Recently I read an article by former General Moshe Yaalon of Israel's conservative Likud party. But it points to the fundamental fallacy of moderate conservative parties throughout the First World. So the article begins...

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German priest executed by the Nazis, once wrote, “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.” Fifteen years ago, the signing of the Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) raised hopes that Israel had boarded the “peace train.” Over the years, however, it became clear that the train was not headed for the promised destination. Nevertheless, Israel’s leadership has been pointlessly running along the corridor ever since.

What happens when you run along a corridor inside a train? The train keeps going exactly where it's going, while you put on a good show of opposing it by running as fast as you can, and arrive at the same place anyway. You can't run against a train while you're still on board it. You either have to get off it, or force it to stop.

But what is truly significant about the article is not Yaalon's premise, but his conclusion. Having laid out in detail every mistake that Israel's left wing governments and Netanyahu's brief weak term had made in negotiating with and appeasing terrorists-- Yaalon's solution is more of the same. To demand accountability from the PLO, to centralize their police forces and promote industry and business in order to normalize their society. All solutions that his own article has already demonstrated have failed and will fail.

After presenting the train metaphor, Yaalon, like most moderate conservatives the world over, can't help offering a solution, that is nothing more than running inside the corridor, against the train.

Yaalon, like most moderate conservatives, can accurately state the problem, but not the solution, because the train has traveled so far in the wrong direction that it cannot be dislodged without taking radical steps. That moderate impotence is exactly what the left is counting on.

Each time a civilized country moves to the left, moderate conservatives move their policy proposals with it. The mainstream conservative views of a generation ago become extremist, and the moderate conservative views become all but indistinguishable from the views of mainstream liberals a generation ago. Even more shockingly in many cases when looking back the moderate conservatives will discover that they have adopted views that few liberals would have even held a generation ago.

And that is the heart of the problem. Regardless of which government is in power, the civilized world is a train whose course has been steered by the left, virtually uninterrupted for decades. Conservatives count coup for their small victories, celebrate leaders whose bold rhetoric provided a strong defense of their values, but rarely look closer to see that even during those periods, the train still kept on heading in the other direction.

On the left, extremists routinely move into the mainstream, becoming leading forces in liberalism. Think of the likes of Ayers, a left wing terrorist, serving a vital role in liberal politics and policy. On the right by contrast, some moderates move into the extreme camp, by force or by choice, but not the other way around.

Ideology aside, in science alone, this kind of particle movement demonstrates which way the wind is blowing. And it's blowing toward the Weathermen and the far left, and away from patriotic and national values.

As conservatives move to the left, and liberals move to the left, nation after nation appoaches the edge of a cliff, without knowing or seeing it. While conservatives remain terrified of being accused of extremism, they allow their national values to be discarded or co-opted and thus soiled by far right groups, which genuinely are extremist, and have no moral or functional value. Rather than learning a lesson from this, the process continues on over and over again.

Instead Conservatives continue to present watered down platforms that run against the train, rather than trying to stop the train or get off. When they take power, they make the occasional timid step, while the liberals are making twenty steps. And the train runs on in the wrong direction.

There are two words to remember, if the train is ever going to be stopped, and they are "Radical Change." Radical change is needed to stop the train and turn it around in the other direction. Not compromise, not moderation, not another round of one step forward and twenty steps backward.

The most foolish part of it all is that conservatives are most moderate in exactly those areas where populism would make them strong. Terrorism, Immigration, Islam, Social Welfare and Immorality, for short. The left knows this, and naturally focuses on attacking populist views in these areas as "extremist". And conservatives fall for it every time, so instead of grabbing an ax, they propose to cut a few programs, deliver a bold speech and turn it into a toothless bill, and constantly offer backhanded apologies for it. And the train rolls on.

After all the Labor and Liberal parties are through, what do Conservatives really have to offer to undo the damage they have done? If they cannot answer this question decisively, then like Yaalon, they are doing nothing more running in the corridor, against the train.


  1. There can never be negotiation with evil and the PLO is evil and wickedness inside and out.
    When Israel began to compromise with the evil nations around her, it was then that the trouble began to escalate more and more.
    Evil must be rejected out of hand, you never appease it nor compromise with it in any form.
    Evil is like disease that must be completely resisted in order to get rid of it.

  2. Brilliant. It illuminates so much of the impotency the right wing has presented in Israel.

  3. Still the best way to deal with the PLO is to exterminate them. And much to everyone's surprise - this is not a menopausal moment! :]

  4. LOL Yobee. You silly girl you!

  5. There aren't many options when you're dealing with a runaway train such as extreme liberalism. You either don't get on in the first place, wrestle control of it as in a mutiny, jump off or remain a passenger by default and end up crashing when the train jumps the rails (as runaway trains almost always do) and crashes.

  6. Anonymous, sultan has not posted your comment yet.. but I can see it in moderation.
    Let me ask you how you have the chutzpah to assume who has and who has not served their country.
    Some people do not talk about their experiences for their own reasons.
    And it is no one's business either who does, has or whatever.

  7. Lemon...it sounds like either someone very judgmental and unable to argue his opinion one way or the other and resorts to personal attacks that have no bearing on the topic at hand.

  8. Anonymous18/12/08

    Great analysis as usual. Just think that the beloved Kennedy was more right wing than McCain who lost and left the Republican party in disaray. Now look at Israel, Sharon was right wing, no? Even he lost the vision and in process destroyed the Likud completely and opened a chasm of hatred withing Israeli people (with the help of the media). We need someone who thinks out of the box and I don't see anyone in any country, on the contrary I will not be surprised if Kadima won. We are in a train heading for disaster and there is no driver.


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