Summarizing a Conservative World View

Mona Charen describes John Hood’s definition as “the best one paragraph summation of what it means to be a conservative I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

The conservative movement constitutes an alliance of those who accept unchangeable facts rather than trying to wish fantasy into reality, remake human nature, or avoid economic tradeoffs. Traditionalists embrace timeless morals, even when they deny one immediate gratification. Libertarians embrace the sovereignty of consumer demand and the sometimes-disorienting effects of technological change, even when the result isn’t to one’s personal liking. And hawks embrace the reality that America lives in a dangerous neighborhood, one full of bullies, pirates, and fanatics who respond to gestures of good will with contempt, larceny, and brutality.

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16 years ago

Hood forgot to mention that traditionalists love puppies and that liberals eat babies. If that paragraph of hackneyed cliches is the best the National Review can do these days, it’s no wonder that the conservative world is in such trouble (see Bush, G.W., presidency of).
Do the problems in this sentence really evade you?
“Traditionalists embrace timeless morals, even when they deny one immediate gratification.”
Let’s revisit some of the “timeless morals” held by your traditionalist intellectual and social forebears.
How about the timeless morality of a king’s divine right to rule against the “fantasy” of democracy.
And the timeless morality of slavery against the fantasy of the equality of the races.
And the timeless morality of the superiority of men over women against the fantasy of gender equality before the law.
What’s that you say? Not those timeless morals? Right. Only the timeless morals that haven’t already been proven wrong.

16 years ago

None of the concepts you listed are moral, Pragmatist. Not then, not now. Therefore, they cannot be “timeless morals”.
Examples of timeless morals could be found in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, most of which where not created by our Founders (nor did they claim to).
I would disagree with the notion that conservatives are the only group who uphold or respect timeless morals. But possibly Mr. Hood’s statement was affirmative, not exclusionary.

16 years ago

Monique, history disagrees with you. The notion of the “divine” right of kings to rule was based entirely in the traditional concepts of morality of the time. The same can be said for those who defended the notion of a “superior” race. And male dominance over women under the law was based on a moral view of proper family life.
The fact that traditionalists of the past used the same broad moral arguments that you use today is uncomfortable for you, I understand. If we could timewarp back to the year 1900, would you be comfortable to be in league with the traditionalists of the day? Thought not.

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