The True Radicals of Today Are Conservatives

7:45AM.  Bright sun.  Blue water.  Breeze off the ocean.  Mourning doves coo.

The mourning doves have had it goin’ on the last week.  Males walk up to a female, bow, stomp their feet, then spread their tail feathers.  Oh, yeah.  I saw that move before.

Last post from Da Fish Shack.  My bags are packed and I’m ready to go.  Just 12 hours until my jet plane.  Da Fish Shack check-out is 10AM and my flight doesn’t leave until 8:15 PM so I have time to do some more sightseeing, shop, visit the museum in Lihue, have lunch and dinner.

One point of comparison I forgot between Da Fish Shack and the Hyatt was showers.  At the Hyatt the shower was an ordinary shower in a tub, found in most hotels.  Here at Da Fish Shack showers are al fresco although with appropriate screening.  Kate suggested I use flip-flops when I used the shower.  Although I would not want to take showers outside at home, here in Hawai’i’s wonderful climate, it provides a note of adventure to a routine task.  You can hear the surf and feel the wind all over.

On driving back last Sunday night to Da Fish Shack after supper in Wailua, I turned on NPR.  Guess who was on?  Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion.  Right here on route 56 headed north toward Princeville and Hanalei.  This morning I read the NYT while I ate breakfast.  Lead story in travel?  Skiing on the Gunflint Trail.  

Something I’ve started rolling around.  It appears to me that the true radicals of today are conservatives.  No, not the George Buckley, Russell Kirkland variety or the neo-con versions that got us into this damned war, but conservatives who focus their conservative tendencies on species and eco-systems, on cultures and life ways.  These eco-conservatives are in fact conservative over against enlightenment liberals,  free-market economists and raging bull capitalists of multi-national corporate organizations.

In tandem with this thought, which still percolates, is another.   Rather than the nexus of evil, the world’s faith traditions are vast resources that represent the human heart and mind at its most integrated, its most daring and its most compassionate.  Yes, the religious institutions that accrete around these faith traditions often become like the coral reef, rigid and sharp, but the faith traditions themselves preserve the world’s oldest stories and humankind’s most radical dreams. 

When anti-religion dogmatists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens rail against these institutions, all they are doing is raising the enlightenment flag of REASON.  Well, here’s the big news guys, REASON is not all there is.  In fact, reason works its magic by dividing and parsing, by reducing the world to manageable portions, to forumlas and laws.  Not a bad thing as far it goes, but turn the process on its head and move out toward the whole, toward life and the solar system, the galaxy, the cosmos. 

These things are.  And, they were before science and reasons and they will be after science and reason has passed away.  They do not need to consult either Newton or Einstein to go the speed of light or engage gravity.  It is this whole, the buzzing, blooming whole that is most precious and it will not be dissected because there are too many variables, too many data points moving in too many disparate directions.

And so forth.