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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Conservative Mind

Quite an interesting article today from the WSJ (click on title to view article for seven days). From the article:

"Kirk identified six elements that make the conservative mind: belief in a transcendent order that "rules society as well as conscience"; attachment to "the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence" as against the routinizing and leveling forces of modern society; the assumption that "civilized society requires orders and classes"; the conviction that "freedom and property are closely linked"; faith in custom and convention and consequently a "distrust of the 'sophisters, calculators, and economists' who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs"; and a wariness of innovation coupled with a recognition that "prudent innovation is the means of social preservation." The leading role in this mix that Kirk attaches to religion marks him as a social conservative; his insistence that religion provides the indispensable ground for individual liberty marks him as a modern conservative."

  1. Belief in transcendent order to society and conscience. Check!
  2. Civilized society requires order and classes. Do I herald elitism? Check!
  3. Freedom and property are closely linked. Unsold.
  4. Faith in custom and convention. Heck no. But its odd that this is included, because most economists are conservative, yet according to this are inherently counter-custom. Odd.
  5. Wariness in innovation. Double heck no.
  6. Try as I might, I can only count five.
According to this, I'm only 40% conservative. Far more than I'd have guessed two years ago. But look at the last sentence. When taking that into account, I can check item 4 if taken as a belief in natural order, structure beyond my own comprehension or design. Once in a while, I may be wary of innovation, if it affect my bottom line, but generally I'm in favor of it (search posts for "change" or "growth"). And the freedom and property thing... I dunno. I can be free without property (cue Buddhist mantra).

Update: And listening to Janis Joplin on 100.7 this morning, I'm reminded that "freedom is just another word for 'nothing left to lose.'"

So I'm only 40%-50% conservative. Prime range for accurately calling myself a conservative Democrat!

1 comment:

Juris Naturalist said...

I was glad for this article for its explanation of the different factions within conservatism. To be sure, the Kirkian faction has done the most harm. I'm glad to be more Hayekian, though I hesitate, as did Hayek, to accept the Conservative label at all.