"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Three approaches to modern conservatism

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has a helpful rundown on the three orientations of modern conservatism, breaking it into three different camps. Read it here. The rundown basically identifies three types of modern conservative:
  • Individualist 
  • Fusionist 
  • Traditionalist
Give it a read for a quick overview of the variety of conservative thought out there. The rundown does a pretty good job describing the three different perspectives that inform much of modern conservative thought, although it fails to point out the deep roots that each approach shares in common within the American experience, drawing on the Whig tradition of skepticism to centralized power that developed prior to the American Revolution. While there are deep differences among the different camps within modern conservatism, and at times outright hostility, they are united by a common Whigish understanding of politics and the proper role of government. 

This is true even of the traditionalist conservatives, folks who like Russell Kirk often identify most strongly with the Tory approach to government and public life. But even devout followers of Kirk acknowledge an indebtedness to the Whig tradition -- Kirk's guiding star for approaches to public policy was, after all, the English statesman Edmund Burke, a man who was no Tory in his politics but was a member of the Whig party.

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