Tuesday, February 12, 2008

True conservatism, legitimism and criticism of classical liberalism
What really annoys me about the American ‘conservatives’ is that they are not real conservatives! Real conservatives hate interventionism as it upsets the stable status quo. Intervention is only truly conservative if the status quo is not stable and it will damage your interests if it continues like this. True conservatives believe in monarchy where it is the tradition (i.e.: all Europe and Asia) and support republics in traditionally republican areas (like the Americas). Any total republican is not a true conservative. Any ideological support for liberal democracy is also un-conservative. True conservatives only support it where it is going to work.
True but the status quo is not an end in itself (certainly the recent one in the US ought to be toppled); it like all of us individually ought to conform to objective truth (what the ancient Greeks, Catholics and classical liberals mean by reason) with the understanding that society (like people) certainly will do so imperfectly; attempts to create heaven on earth are invariably disasters. (The church tolerates prostitution in secular society for example.)

However of course as a classical liberal I was taken aback by this though as a Catholic I shared these misgivings eight years ago much like the religious left and indeed Catholic socialists like the great Anglo-Catholic slum priests:
Anyone who ideologically insists on low taxes and a very free market is deeply DEEPLY unconservative. True conservatives have no problem with taxes (provided they are not overly redistributative) and are opposed to classical liberal attitudes to the poor (seeing them as uncaring and un-Christian). One can see this if one compares the 18th-century aid to the poor in Britain with the 19th-century aid (or rather lack of it). In the first case the conservative view is followed and the latter is the classical liberal view. Classical liberalism is the enemy of conservatism. It is in fact more opposed to conservatism in may ways than socialism.
The last two sentences sounds like the SSPX, whose politics I tend to think of much like the mainstream does as oppressive and historical fantasy (French fascism not English rule of law and tolerant conservatism).

Of course noblesse oblige is more Christian than every man for himself (the caricature of libertarianism/the market that people like Ayn Rand really were); as written above I favour it where it works. (It’s also what well-meaning nobles like the late Lord Mountbatten really mean when they called themselves socialists.) A royal dole in places like Liechtenstein? (A Catholic country BTW, a little kingdom that didn’t get gobbled up by Germany.) Why not? I don’t think it would work in America.

The objection also reminds me of John Mortimer’s fiction: the odious Tory MP Leslie Titmuss, a sort of neocon, against the village preservationists (crunchy conservatism overlapping with young fogeyhood).

I also thought of this recent rebuttal from a libertarian:
Let’s lay to rest the idea that Enron, Halliburton, or central banking are in any way children of the free-market. If you receive government funding, if the government protects you from your competition, if you are given sweetheart backroom deals, with the government, in order to run your “business”, if you are defrauding your customer, with the protection and the approval of the government, regardless of what you call yourself, you are not part of the marketplace. You are part of the state.

You are right when you say that the constitution does not require political philosophies to be founded in reality. It certainly is the reason that the progressive movement, the fiction by which everyone can live at the expense of everyone else, has enjoyed such success. You can hide from reality forever, my friend, but you will eventually have to face consequences.
Your thoughts?

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