Liberal conservatives, revisited

Mark Richardson at Oz Conservative has a wonderfully clear discussion of a perennial problem in conservative politics. It is that many conservatives are in fact classical liberals or libertarians, having little or no belief in an underlying social and moral order, and thus being indifferent to threats to the social order. He also brings out how classical liberal/libertarian conservatives in America tend to have some concerns about the social order, meaning that they mix their libertarianism with some elements of actual conservatism; for example, Sean Hannity has forcefully denounced a pro-adultery website, describing such advocacy as a threat to the well-being of society. Meanwhile, the equivalent “conservative” figures in Australia tend to be more purely libertarian.

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Jeff W. writes:

The political ideology of a person who truly loves the American people is not easy to describe or categorize. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Love of the American nation sometimes requires us to be warlike; sometimes pacifistic. Sometimes it requires us to be heavily involved in foreign affairs; sometimes unentangled. Sometimes it requires government cost-cutting; other times it requires expenditure. As Edmund Burke said: “Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy.”

Those who believe they can govern a nation using little formulas such as “democracy for all,” or “economic justice” are the sophisters whom Burke referred to when he said, “The age of chivalry is gone.—That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”

At all times, the love of the American nation requires us to use our minds and energy as best we can so that we might perform a useful service. The course of action we advocate must always be based on our best thoughts and ideas, arrived at through serious, open-minded study and reflection, as well as prayer.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 03, 2011 01:27 AM | Send

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