Tuesday, September 16, 2003


A recent book on the history of American conservatism lists the following as the ten most important conservative beliefs:

1. Continuity: Order and the Rate of Change. "Tradition, continuity, and order in society . . . must not be disregarded, however carefully reasoned or attractive an untested reform may be."
2. Authority: Power and the Limits of Government. "The state's primary function is to protect against foreign threats and to keep order at home . . . . The foundation of military strength is the belief that the American social order is unique and worthy of protection and respect."
3. Community: Decentralization of Social Institutions. "The proper function of government . . . is not to concentrate power but to diffuse it to the institutions of organic society . . . [which] serve as checks on the power of the central authority."
4. Deity: Man and Morality. "The conservative generally has a strong belief in God and holds to traditional moral values."
5. Duty: Responsibilities over Rights. " 'Rights are something to be earned rather than given . . . The duties of man - service, effort, obedience, cultivation of virtue, and self-restraint - are the price of rights.'"
6. Democracy: Limited Government and the Constitution. "If law changes with the circumstances of the time, it becomes uncertain and unstable. In such circumstances, Americans live under a government of men, not of laws."
7. Property: The Role of Economics. "Capitalism is built on the assumption of private property . . .Government should interfere in the economy as little as possible, allowing the law of supply and demand to guide men in making profitable decisions."
8. Liberty: Equality's Big Brother. "Individuals have an infinite variety of talents and are entitled to find economic, political, and social rewards without fear of government license or redistribution."
9. Meritocracy: The Leadership Class. "America was founded as a society opposed to titles of nobility . . . John Adams spoke of a 'natural aristocracy,' which anyone could join by virtue of merit and ability."
10. Antipathy: The Anticommunist Impulse. "The chief crime of communism is not that it takes away property, but that it removes freedom upon which property is based."

That sounds pretty right but note that most of them boil down to limiting government and maximizing individual liberty.



Interesting: Although it is common for Leftists to ascribe the origin of Al Qa'eda to Ronald Reagan's support of the Afghan Mujahadeen in the 1980s, a more realistic hypothesis seems to be that Clinton's support of the Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s was instrumental. As the Yugoslav interventions are seen as a “Good Thing” by the Left this connection is rarely raised.

German anti-Americanism really is childish: “Ever since the war there has been a strong vein of anti-American feeling in Germany. To have your country defeated, occupied and then defended by a foreign power is humiliating”

Mark Steyn says that 9/11 did a lot more psychological damage to the Europeans than it did to the USA: “I seriously underestimated the degree to which much of Europe would be unhinged by 11 September”


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