In congress and in the media, the relationship of respectable conservatives to liberals is that of servant to master. If you want to be a respectable conservative, you can disagree with liberals only on the things they allow you. But the moment they declare something unrespectable, like saying integration is a bad idea, you must immediately agree with them on it.

I was reminded of the fact that respectable conservatives are servants of the liberals as I watched the discussion of Clinton's new gun control proposals on CNN's "Talk Back Live."

The hostess of the show said that she wanted everybody to understand that nobody was talking about taking guns away from honest citizens. Then a member of the audience said that the government should take all guns away from everybody, and a major portion of the audience applauded.

Then the congresswoman pushing Clinton's new gun control proposal said that the NRA wanted everybody to go to schools with guns. Then she said she could not understand why anti-gun control people were suspicious of gun control advocates like her.

Obviously what someone should say at this point would be that she had just said that the NRA demanded that everybody go to school armed, and she knew that wasn't true. Why should we trust somebody who says something so obviously ridiculous? But that is one thing no respectable conservative ever says to a liberal, face-to-face, in the media.

Respectable conservatives are the liberals' servants, and the servant never looks his master in the face and says, "I don't believe you."

Liberals are always saying that to conservatives. I remember on "Crossfire" when Pat Buchanan said he believed that blacks should have equal rights and the liberal looked him right in the eye and said he didn't believe Pat. You will never hear Pat say that to the official liberal on the show. Faced with your master, with your job on the line, you never say anything about him personally except that he is a fine, upstanding, idealistic, professional, dedicated, emotionally balanced, friendly, patriotic, all-American guy you are privileged to know and work with. Above all, his intentions are good and he speaks nothing but the truth as he sees it.

Every media conservative says that all the time about all of the liberals he debates with.

No matter how insane hysterical Bill Press got, Pat could not say, "You call anybody who disagrees with you either a racist or an isolationist. You're being ridiculous again."

That is what liberal do to us, and it works. If a rightist says that somebody is being pro-Communist, the liberal simply laughs and says, "Don't be absurd." But any time a conservative doubts we should kill Serbians, he is accused of being an "isolationist." Does the conservative EVER say, "Don't be ridiculous."

Of course not. The servant is never sassy with his master.

Which, of course, keeps them from representing us. Our problem with liberals on gun control is that we know they're lying like dogs, and anything they get is a step toward their goal of disarming every honest citizen in this country. "Hysterical Bill" Press is going to accuse the NRA of not caring if people get killed.

But no conservative, including Pat Buchanan, would ever point out how outrageous it is for Bill Press to use every tragedy to push his agenda on gun control. They have to say how idealistic, if slightly misguided, good old Bill is.

As long as you give any support to respectable conservatives, you are asking for liberals to go ahead with their program without real opposition. You are asking the liberals' paid servants to protect you from the liberals.

I felt sorry for black congressman Major Owens a couple of years ago. For decades, he had done what every liberal does: imply that any conservative disagreement was inspired by Hitler. Any time anybody disagrees with anything any liberal says, especially about poor people or racial quotas, a liberal implies he is thinking like anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

When a liberal says a conservative who is against busing sounds like Hitler, no one says, "Don' t be a damned fool." No. Every conservative always gets flustered and respectfully, very, very, very respectfully, tries to show that he is not really like Hitler. So when the Republicans came up with their 1995 economic proposals, Major Owens said they sounded like Hitler.

Any other time, this would have been just fine. It had always been fine before, and today no conservative would dare object to it. But Owens said it in 1995, the one year when Republicans had just won both Houses of Congress and were feeling their oats. They raised hell and Owens backed down and apologized.

But, as I say, that was in 1995, during a very brief period when conservatives forgot their proper place and got uppity. Conservatives are back in their proper place now, at the back of our national political bus.

Liberals love conservatives, but only if they know in their place.

And if any conservative gets uppity, all the respectable conservatives in the media will unite against him.