January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Conservative, in the sense of being pre-Enlightenment.

Vox Nova

It is commonly thought that criticism of capitalism has its exclusive provenance on the Left, but in fact there is a long tradition of conservative unease with capitalism. Now, by “conservative,” I obviously do not mean that weird and contradictory stew comprised of obscure Austrian economic theories, the “objectivist” ethics of Ayn Rand, Wilsonian idealism, American messianism, and Dominionist/Dispensationalist theology. That’s the “conservatism” of radio disk jockeys like Rush and Glenn, of the Tea Party, and The Sage of Austin, Rick Perry. By “conservative,” I mean what Russell Kirk meant when he wrote that “a conservative is a person who endeavors to conserve the best in our traditions and our institutions, reconciling that best with necessary reform from time to time.”

Contrast Kirk’s definition of “conservative” with the claim of contemporary “conservative” Michael Ledeen, who trumpets the revolutionary “menace” of democratic capitalism, American-style: “Creative destruction is our middle name, both…

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