As I’ve been developing my History of Conservative Thought course, one of my goals is to define “conservatism” positively; that is, on it’s own terms, and not merely as a reaction to progressivism. Too often—including on this blog—we conservatives define our movement as what we’re against, rather than what we support.
That’s understandable, in part, for two reasons: the Left’s vicious tactics are hard to ignore, and what we think of as “conservatism” is often the other side of a liberal coin.
On that second point: conservatives often struggle to hold truly distinct positions because we’ve embraced the underlying assumptions of liberalism. This explains the much-derided tendency of National Review to write headlines such as “The Conservative Case for [Deranged Leftist Policy Here].” Conservatism, Inc., is also obsessed with policing our side, punching to the right as frequently as the left (take for instance, Kevin Williamson’s piece on the Crowder demonetizing situation; Williamson can barely wait to insult Crowder as “stupid” and childish, even as he feigns to defend the YouTube star).
We also tend to see compromise as part of the hurly-burly of electoral politics, so in a practical sense, we do so out of a good-faith understanding that our political opponents will do the same. The Kavanaugh hearings largely dispelled that myth once and for all, as Lindsey Graham’s powerful reaction to that witch-hunt demonstrated.
Such is the theme of Angelo Codevilla’s latest piece, “A Conservative Resistance?” Thanks to photog at Orion’s Cold Fire for linking to it. Readers will recall that I wrote some months ago about Codevilla’s excellent essay on secession.
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