Thursday, October 23, 2008

The type of conservatism I can appreciate and learn from

Conservatism has become more and more divisive, ideological, and narrow over the last decade. At least it has in its popular expositions exhibited in present political discourse. Conservatives, if they want to save their movement, need to take it back out of the hold of the self-proclaimed conservative exponents and pundits like Limbaugh, Hannity, and - in fact - the entire right-wing radio talk-show circus that only appeal to non-intellectual gut reactions of listeners who are either easly swayed by incendiary remarks or want to affirm some loose and vague notions like small government and/or social values.

Both todays conservatives and liberals are part of grand western democratic liberal tradition that they have forgotten about and that they need to re-appropriate in their thinking. Conservatives in particular need to be careful not to claim that only they have the monopoly the views of America's founding fathers (which are a significant part of this tradition) and they need to recognize the legitimacy of a spectrum of views that grow directly both out of the western tradition generally, and out of the founding fathers in particular. Not only are the vast majority of conservatives (and liberals as well) too ill informed to know what this tradition is (for example, which of you have actually read Hobbes's Leviathan or Locke's political philosophy) or the specifics of the views of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, etc, but they can't even accurately express the views of their contemporary opponents (as happens, for example, when conservatives claim that Obama is a socialist).

Here are two clips where Andrew Sullivan helps us to re-appropriate this rich tradition:

1 comment:

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