Here’s Mark Gauvreau’s very fine criticism of Andrew Sullivan’s identification of true conservatism with conscientious relativism. Gauvreau sets us straight on the true connection between conscience and the person’s openness to the truth, with the help of Benedict/Ratzinger. Facing up to and acting responsibly in light of what we really can know is, in fact, the very opposite of succumbing to some dogmatic absolutism that stifles conscientious self-reflection (as opposed to subjective affirmation of some personal experience). Among the most superficial, conscience-denying forms of absolutism is the identification of the truth with emerging fashion, popular or intellectual. Nonetheless, it’s always seemed to me that Sullivan’s writing has characteristically been conscientious in the weak sense of relatively sincere and sometimes genuinely searching. (He can also be mighty self-righteous with little real justification and, like us all, produce convenient rationalizations.) His book deserves our attentive consideration, unlike some other more opportunistic books we’ve discussed on this blog.