Saturday, July 25, 2009

What The F*&k Is a Conservative?

Is it an old fashioned fuddy-duddy who wears suspenders and smokes a pipe? Is it someone who perpetually wants things to stay 'as they are,' or 'go back to the way they were' ? Do all conservatives necessarily hate every single immigrant who arrives on their shores? Is it pretty much exclusively a white thing?

I dunno. I really don't. But this article, with a nice sensationalist title, is worth a read if you've ever pondered these questions.

What passes for conservatism today would have been incomprehensible to its originator, Edmund Burke, who, in the late eighteenth century, set forth the principles by which governments might nurture the "organic" unity that bound a people together even in times of revolutionary upheaval. Burke's conservatism was based not on a particular set of ideological principles but rather on distrust of all ideologies. In his most celebrated writings, his denunciation of the French Revolution and its English champions, Burke did not seek to justify the ancien regime and its many inequities. Nor did he propose a counter-ideology. Instead he warned against the destabilizing perils of revolutionary politics, beginning with its totalizing nostrums.

Obviously, I have no idea what a totalizing nostrum is (and if you do, I instantly don't trust you), but I find the bit about conservatives disliking any and all ideological principles (at least as they pertain to politics) quite interesting.

Kinda reminds me of an accusation that was frequently leveled at George W. Bush (by dissident former homies of his) that he completely lacked intellectual curiosity. Seems to fit nicely with the 'no ideologies please, we're Conservatives' thing.

I'm not so sure that the founding father would be so disappointed with today's breed at all, really.

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