Joseph’s post below raises some interesting questions about the "traditionalist" stool in America’s conservative coalition. In particular, it is interesting to note how he goes back and forth between "virtue conservatism" and "traditionalists."
There’s an interesting tension there. Any given tradition may or may not be supportive of virtue. Men being creatures of habit, prudent statesmen must respect tradition. But seventy-five years after FDR’s election, the American tradition ain’t what it used to be.
In short, are our "traditionalists" truly traditionalists? Or might there be a better label for them.
To push this line of thought a bit further, or perhaps in a slightly different direction, might there be a difference, perhaps only of focus, between the conservatism of Edmund Burke, and that of my namesake--John Adams.
Burke defended English tradition, and as such opened the door to historicism. Adams’ situation and his approach were somewhat different. Viewing the French Revolution (an event that he predicted, as early as 1789 would cause substantial bloodshed), Adams suggested that the error was not, strictly speaking, disrespect for tradition, but rather disregard for the enduring truths about the human condition (among which was that men are creatures of habit, and thus it is very hard to change a nation). But perhaps that’s simply an artifact of Adams living in a county that made revolution in 1776 on the basis of natural right. The appeal was not so much to tradition, as it was to higher law.