Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What Is "Conservatism"? Why Buckley-Bush-ism Failed

Penetrating essay here from Z on the topic of 'conservatism.'  (Can't really go wrong when you start with a reference Oakeshott.)

...the traditional American conservatism...[ ].. is, in fact, an attitude or a temperament. It is a set of preferences that Michael Oakeshott spelled out a million years ago in his essay On Being Conservative. “To be conservative is to be disposed to think and behave in certain manners; it is to prefer certain kinds of conduct and certain conditions of human circumstances to others; it is to be disposed to make certain kinds of choices.” In other words, conservatism is a disposition....

Z claims that 'a disposition' is NOT identical to 'policy,' which, of course, is true.  Policy based on 'conservatism' is necessarily short-lived, for policy is created in a 'time zone'--and as times move on, time-bound policy must either vanish or change.

For example:  it was US policy that democratic-like governments would be implanted in states we defeated in WWII, specifically Germany and Japan.  It worked.  But that policy failed, miserably, in the Middle East after the defeat of Saddam.  Continuing that 'policy'--even though by a distinctly non-conservative (Obama)--continues the failure, spectacularly.  The US public, which is naturally 'conservative', saw that policy failure, and voted against it this year.

Z gives another example:

...In the Cold War, business friendly taxes and regulation, along with a muscular defense policy make perfect sense as a rebuttal to the dominant Progressive ideology. Once the Cold War ended, the justifications for Buckley-style conservatism ended. It became a body with no soul to animate it....

Conservatism grasps reality:  the human race is fallen, and ideology cannot repair it.

...Inevitably, an ideology demands that the adherent accept things that are in direct contradiction with observable reality. That’s both the attraction and the defect of ideology. Those with a conservative temperament were always going to be skeptical of the projects championed by the Official Right....

We would add that such skepticism extends to projects championed by the Official Left, as Hillary found to her chagrin.


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