When Miss Shelby was done with her story, Emily looked very confused. So Shelby started talking again – sort of the way Jesus did with his disciples when they were too dumb to understand a parable:
“Emily, I know you don’t know much about politics so I’ll explain why I shared this story with you. It illustrates four important characteristics of conservatism. I’ll explain them all in relation to Hannah and her brothers:
Conservatives believe the individual has unique talents given by a Creator. In the fourth grade, the girls started to sprout above the boys in height. In fact, many of the girls could have beaten Patrick but they did not try. Hannah was taught that it was a sin not to fully exploit her God-given talents. So she always tried her best. Even when she was splitting infinitives.2.
Conservatives are more interested in competing than in sparing the feelings of their inferiors. Hannah knew she would upset the fragile feelings of Patrick. But she didn’t care. The joy of competition outweighed the fear of causing personal offense. At first, she kind of enjoyed the reaction of Patrick. Being the target of jealousy and covetousness is much better than being ignored altogether.3.
Conservatives understand that human nature is ugly and must be controlled through fear. Hannah had an opportunity to sit down with Patrick and negotiate over their differences. But Hannah’s parents instilled in her a deep distaste for the United Nations approach to avoiding conflict. She was raised to believe that peace could best be kept by an overwhelming demonstration of force. Ben certainly supplied that show of force. Why negotiate with a punk who fights girls when you have four brothers who play junior and senior high school football? It is better to overwhelm a relatively weak opponent than to risk an embarrassing upset. Just ask the 1980 Russian Olympic Hockey team.4.
Conservatives believe that the family, not the government, is the foundation of society. Hannah could have called the police or told the principal that Patrick was threatening her. But that is not the way she was raised. Hannah and her three sisters, four brothers, mother, and father all have a saying: “Our family is sort of like the Ten Commandments. When you violate one of us, you violate all of us.” Hannah was raised to believe that, unlike the police, her family can always be counted on to respond in a time of need.
When Miss Shelby finished, she knew she had only told half of the story. But she promised she would later tell the story of another friend so little Emily could also understand the liberal mindset. And, dear reader, I promise to share that story with you in my next column about a little girl named Allison who lived in Illinois.