Left and Right

Let’s talk about what it means to be a conservative….

There are multiple meanings of “conservative.”
One is someone who merely wants to preserve the status quo as it is. Under this definition, Joe Biden is a conservative.
Another is someone who wants to turn back the clock to some supposedly idyllic past, whether the 1950s, 19th century, Middle Ages, Roman Empire, or, in the case of Uncle Ted, the Bronze Age. Such a person is actually a “reactionary,” not a conservative.
Another is someone who is in favor of reform but prefers that reform takes place slowly, incrementally and non-disruptively. The Edmund Burke philosophy. Such a person is really just a moderate liberal.
Another is someone who has a pessimistic view of human potential, what Thomas Sowell calls the “tragic” or “constrained” vision, as opposed to an optimistic or utopian vision. Exemplars of this viewpoint would be figures like Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Schmitt, although this perspective doesn’t really imply any particular set of policy prescriptions other than cynical prudence.

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