First Day of History of Conservative Thought 2020

Today marked the first day of the Summer 2020 session of my History of Conservative Thought course.  Because I’m sick and awaiting COVID-19 test results, we held the inaugural session on Google Meet, discussing the big picture question “What is Conservatism?

The session went quite well (and I was pleased to see that even with a fever I could last around 75 minutes).  The students hit upon these concepts as being key to conservatism:

  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Constitutionalism (in the American context)
  • Limited/small government and States’ Rights
  • Traditionalism in a cultural and religious sense
  • Opposition to Progressivism itself (certainly a feature of Buckleyite fusionism
  • Peace through Strength
  • Strict immigration enforcement

To that list I added the classically liberal concept of natural rights and the Burkean idea of “ordered liberty.”  We also talked about how the earliest conservatives of the Enlightenment Period were largely monarchists, and explicitly rejected the concept of natural rights (at least, rejected the concept as Americans understand it; that is, that all men are created equal and God gives them their rights).

They’re reading Russell Kirk’s “Ten Conservative Principles” for next week, and we’ll check Kirk’s principles against their list.

On the health front, I was feeling great this morning into the afternoon, with my temperature falling briefly into a normal range, but it’s been elevated since about mid-afternoon.  I’m not experiencing as severe migraines, though, which is great news, with just some occasional spikes.

Overall, I’m just a tad weak and listless.  Sleep has been difficult, but it’s coming more frequently, and it seems to help overall.

Hopefully I’ll get back the COVID test results tomorrow.  Apparently, they’re supposed to ram a rod way up into your sinuses, but my test was a ginger if thorough swabbing of my nostrils.  It makes me question the efficacy of the test.  It’s supposed to hurt, and mind did not at all; there was certainly no cottony rod getting shoved into my brain.

That’s it for tonight.  Thanks for all of your prayers and well-wishes.

—TPP

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