Posted by Steven Hayward
Another week, another Reagan-bashing article, this time in Obamaweek, I mean, Newsweek. And naturally my dutiful reply, filed over at The Corner.
Which gives me another excuse: Have you pre-ordered your copy yet?
Fairlie and McCarter both fail to understand (along with, let's admit it, some conservatives) that American conservatism has always been a different animal than European conservatism
How is American conservatism supposed to differ from Burkean cnservatism?
How is any conservatism which repudiates Burke even "conservative"?
Says Allitt rightly: “American conservatism has always had a paradoxical element, entailing a defense of a revolutionary achievement.”
Burkean conservatism has that as well. I'm afraid your defense of Reagan verges on being an attack on conservatism. Neoconservatism is not conservatism at all, but what used to be called left-liberalism.
“I love Reagan too,” Republican strategist Mike Murphy recently wrote in Time. “But demographics no longer do.”
As I've pointed out before, the fact that demographics no longer favor Reaganism is almost entirely due to Republicans, and in some part due to Reagan. There ought to be some soul-searching about this fact on the right. Why isn't there?
I'm afraid John is right, that Burke would have reserved some defense for prudent revolution.
But it would only go so far (cf. Reflections on the Revolution in France for more). There is definitely a love for the ancestral; Burke speaks rather scornfully of the new spherical districts which were to replace those of the 'illogical' old regime, suggesting that politics should not only be governed by reason as we know it from the Enlightenment.
I do, however, believe that one could have their questions about Burke and consider themselves conservative, even neoconservative. Remember that there was dialogue surrounding the prospects of democracy in the Middle East; not in a bigoted sort of way, but in a pragmatic sort of way. I'm not sure that all the world will one day turn out to be like some modern lotus-eaters that Francis Fukuyama envisioned after the Berlin Wall fell: I don't see us all being indifferent democrats, men without chests.
Part of the true paradox with Burke is that it would be unable to accommodate tradition that isn't liberal in the old sense of the word, but somehow those traditions never quite leave this anti-Hegelian universe.
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