RNC purity test = suicide pact?

RNC PURITY TEST = SUICIDE PACT?…. Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker has been encouraged of late by what she sees as good signs for Republicans. She sees the leading political issues of the day — health care, KSM trial, and global warming — as “unpopular Democratic ideas,” which in turn gives the GOP hope.

But that was before the “purity test” for the Republican National Committee came up. Parker sees it as a “suicide pact” to help “weed out undesirables from their ever-shrinking party.”

In fact, the 10-point checklist proffered by Bopp and others is the antithesis of conservatism. As Kirk wrote in his own “Ten Conservative Principles,” conservatism “possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata . . . conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.”

Each of Bopp’s bullets is so overly broad and general that no thoughtful person could endorse it in good conscience. Some are so simplistic as to be meaningless. As just one example: “We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges.” What does that mean? Do we support all troop surges no matter what other considerations might be taken into account? Do we take nothing else into account? Does disagreement mean one doesn’t support victory?

Whatever the intent of the authors, the message is clear: Thinking people need not apply. The formerly elite party of nuanced conservatism might do well to revisit its nonideological roots.

Noting what a departure the proposed litmus test is from intellectual seriousness, Parker added, “When did thinking go out of style?”

I don’t share Parker’s policy preferences, but I would love to see prominent Republican leaders ponder why thinking is discouraged in contemporary conservative circles.