Tanenhaus on the “death of conservatism”

Karl D. writes:

Last night I watched a segment on Bill Moyers Journal called “The Death Of Conservatism.” It was an interview with an author named Sam Tanenhaus (editor of the New York Times book Review. Ugh.) who wrote a book of the same name. Have you heard of it? If so, do you have any thoughts on it? While the gist seems to be liberal wishful thinking, he brought up some interesting points as to the the sparsity of true Conservative intellectual figures. Present company excluded.: )

LA replies:

I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read various articles of his in the past and I’ve been told about his book. Tanenhaus is a moderate liberal who is very interested in conservatism, and he gives conservatives a fairer shake than his left-liberal predecessor at the New York Times Book Review. But his notion of conservatism is weirdly off base. He considers Justice Souter and David Brooks to be conservatives. Basically he takes a Burkean view that conservatism means being guided by and adjusting to the established ways and circumstances of your society, which means that if your society is socialist, and you adjust to it, you’re a conservative. It’s not a usable definition.

LA continues:

Burke says that experience and custom should be our guide. I always say that Burkeanism only works if you’re living in a traditional society, or at least a society in which there is some extant, sound tradition to appeal to. If you’re living in a radicalized society, Burkeanism doesn’t work, because it means that the experience and custom which is your authority is the experience and custom of radicalism. This is why mere custom is not enough. True conservatism, or traditionalism, means two things: belief in transcendent truth; and loyalty to one’s own tradition as a particular expression of that truth.

Karl replies:

I just got back from Barnes & Nobles where I skimmed his book. I think you hit the nail on the head. Conservatism is mere pragmatism in his eyes and it seems the only people who are allowed to be revolutionary are leftists. At least that is the gist I got.

LA replies:

Yes, he ABSURDLY defines conservatism as pragmatism, and then excludes from conservatism everyone except for the likes of Souter and Brooks! It’s outrageous.

It’s part of a compaign to delegitimize conservatism, to define it out of existence, by defining conservatives as non-conservatives and say that this represents the death of conservatism.

So though Tanenhaus is moderate not radical liberal, what he is doing is deeply dishonest and sneaky and needs to be exposed.

The combination of liberalism and the clever Jewish brain is deadly. The Jewish brain needs to be guided by true principle. If it’s guided by a relativistic, dishonest ideology like liberalism, all those brains get used for the purpose of advancing lies.

LA writes:

In an interview at Newsweek with another sneaky character, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham (a self-described Christian whose real mission is to destroy Christianity by defining Christianity as liberalism), Tanenhaus explains his views of conservatism. Tanenhaus says that we need conservatism, and that he regrets the death of conservatism; but in reality he doesn’t want conservatism to exist, and the “conservatism” he says he believes in is nothing but a more moderate form of liberalism.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 19, 2009 04:46 PM | Send

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