Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On Conservatism and Etc.

To my chagrin, I posted a reply to a thread that is almost 2 and a half years old.

But I was so inspired by the conversation I had to put in my two cents.

A sampling:

The parts of ‘conservative’ theory that actually deserve to be called theory are usually classical-liberal or libertarian intrusions. Nor is this anything new; before being shotgun-wedded to classical liberalism by the threat of Marxism around the beginning of the 20th century, conservatives imported their theory from Aquinas or Plato or Calvin.

Cool stuff.

commentary follows:

Despite his attempt to be honest, he still pulls a few rhetorical strings. He refers to conservatism as a 'fear' based philosophy, which in many cases it is not, even for non-classical-liberal conservatives.

But the interesting part is, he alights on the idea that conservatism doesn't have a central thoery about right government or humankind. Which is true. In the Aristotilean sense, your theories must be brought to bear against the world; and most grand overarching theories don't hold up about human societies. They're just too complex and changing.

I think there may be some truth to conservatives believing that the free market will freeze power relationships and classical liberals believing that freedom can be reconciled with a love of hierarchy and punishment.

Most conservatives today are sliding towards the classical liberal end, of course, as we get older, we get more conservative anyway, since part of liberalism is about newness, novelty as an idea is important to liberalism. Kind of like you're doing a puzzle and you come apon a new piece, one that you haven't seen before.


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