Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Liberal conservatism

Andrew Koppelman

Has conservatism any intellectual merit?  Or is it essentially a mere collection of rationalizations for the status quo? With Trump’s influence and visibility, never has the issue been more urgent -- or more confusing. Trump seems to be a man of the Right. The Republican Party today is largely defined by loyalty to him. Is he a conservative? The Never Trumpers say he’s not, but why? Is there any form of conservatism that deserves our attention today?

A good place to begin to think about those questions is the work of Roger Scruton, who died in January.  Princeton Prof. Robert George called him “the most important Anglo-American conservative thinker of his generation.”  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “We have lost the greatest modern conservative thinker — who not only had the guts to say what he thought but said it beautifully.”

I use Scruton's work to try to sort out what's attractive in conservatism today - and come out of the closet as myself a conservative of a peculiar sort - in a new piece at the New Rambler, here.  

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