Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Dr. Pat, Roger Scuton, and Conservative Environmentalism

Deneen. a McWilliams moralistic Democrat, recommends an article written by the most brilliant English conservative thinker (who, not surprisingly, now lives in our country) published in "The American Conservative," which is very unreliably American and very unreliably conservative. Clearly, there’s a movement brewing to counter the emerging libertarian consensus. It’s always a pleasure to read Roger, although I think he’s a bit preachy here about, for example, our bargain-hunting spending habits. He does point elegantly to one of our characteristic individuaiistic vices--a lack of gratitude for what we’ve been given. Our ingratitude often makes it tougher that it should be for us to experience ourselves as dutifully at home with nature, God, country, and family. And surely it’s self-destructive to regard nature as simply a resouce to be manipulated at will.

Discussions - 11 Comments

Thanks for posting. There is no better guide to conservatism than Roger Scruton.

Can someone please post something about Bush's colonoscopy so I can comment about whether they find just the top of his head or the whole thing up there? (I think Condi might be in there too).

Abbie, Surely the Const. should be amended to keep people like you and me from knowing anything about the president's medical procedures. The right to privacy--including my right not to know--surely extends to the colon. It offends the dignity of the whole free world to have excessively recycled jokes applied to easy marks.

I notice that the mere fact that nobody posted on the topic prevented you from making your childish remarks, Abbie.

The inability of leftys to stay even roughly on topic is a subject worthy of scientific study. There must be a flaw in the way your brains are wired.

"Hoffman" is a perfect example of why this blog should be censored. Posts that are completely out of line should be removed ASAP.

Forgive my ignorance, but who is the McWilliams in "McWilliams moralistic Democrat"?

David -
Wilson Carey McWilliams was a political theorist who taught for over 25 years at Rutgers University. I was among a small legion of students whom he taught. One of the best descriptions I've come across is that he was a "New Deal Calvinist" - an "old line" religious, in some ways conservative, in other ways Left (particularly in his criticism of capitalism) Democrat who was at times more impatient with his party than many readers here, but who was a partisan in the best sense, retaining his loyalties even as he engaged in a lover's quarrel. He came of age as a major figure in the Free Speech movement at Berkeley, but broke with many friends in his support for the Vietnam War. He was a peer and friend of many conservatives, including Harvey Mansfield. Peter has written one of the best pieces on McWilliams in his new book, "At Home and Homeless in America." I've also written on him, here and here.

McWilliams had the pro-life, pro-Vietnam War, pro-God camp just about all to himself. Thanks to Pat for the very exact summary of Carey's position. He was also the greatest entertainer in American poliitcal science.

Peter - Does "moralistic" in your post modify Patrick, Carey, or Democrat?

Carey was a Calvinist, surely, but moralistic? He was too political and too funny to be moralistic. Moral, yes.

Carey began his teaching career at Oberlin, then was at Brooklyn College briefly before going to Rutgers.

Good question, Steve. I can most easily get out of trouble by substituting moral for moralistic. Patick does tend to preach a bit, though. And I think Carey's "democratic" and "Democratic" criticisms of our liberalism verged on the utopian, although I certainly think he said all sorts of things someone should say about the decadent Democratic embrace of the social libertarianism of apathetic indifference. So let me conclude by saying maybe "moralistic" is a word that I should drop from my active vocabulary.

. . .the decadent Democratic embrace of the social libertarianism of apathetic indifference.

Great phrase, Peter!

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