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Conservative President?

Why do American Conservatives keep changing their minds about what constitutes conservatism? By no stretch of the intellectual imagination could George W. Bush be classified as a conservative.Is the fact that he is considered to be a conservative an indication of the herd mentality of Democracy; that is, a failure on the part of the people to think in a discriminating and logical manner.


Fitzhugh I’m glad you don’t think George Bush is a conservative. You’re right—he’s about as far to the left as a president can realistically get before the middle class actually descends into the streets and starts rioting. But since you also don’t think Ann Coulter is a conservative I wonder what criteria you’re judging Bush by. Ann, unlike Bush, is a genuine conservative, her only flaw being her obliviousness to the immigration crisis (a thing that can be pardoned in women since they for the most part haven’t got the brain circuits to conceive of races, countries, or nations).

“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.


Criteria for judging political conservative officeholders and spokepersons:

1. An acceptance of man’s sinful nature
2. Limited role of reason in establishing sound political institutions.
3. A foreign and domestic set of policies that reflect that what we can do on this earth thru political action is limited.
4. Whether a political candidate says he believes in God or not, is not important except to the gullible.

American conservatism has always had problems because the national symbols and explicit public principles aren’t really conservative. The conservatism is in the unspoken habits and assumptions. That makes it harder to talk about and argue for, and multiplies the possibilities of manipulative redefinition. The situation of course becomes worse in a media-driven consumer society.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

… to be an American traditionalist conservative: on the one hand, the U.S. was founded on explicitly liberal ideals (are these worth conserving?); on the other hand, the only thing that prevented revolutionary-era America from going the way of revolutionary France was the deep and abiding conservative habits of mind and faith, which Americans clinged to very strongly for a long time, until more recent, post-WWII times… Now we live in the “post-Christian” era, as some have labelled it, and there’s nothing to stop the drift towards as explicitly anti-Christian an order as revolutionary France had, except for the still-fairly-conservative (at least in some things) ways of people in the heartland, in the “red” areas… For now…

What you define as the habits of mind and faith are the cultural inheritance we recieved from England. However, the degree to which these have receded in our institutions and world view is the degree to which this Republic has become subject to the speculative fancies of the French Revolution. That is to state the obvious. The gravestone of the American Republic: Died of Speculation.

I don’t think it’s really true that America was founded on liberal ideals. No actual society can be founded on liberal ideals because the ideals won’t have anything to work with without an already-existing society sustained by non-liberal principles.

The United States didn’t spring into existence as political societies with the Declaration of Independence and adoption of the Constitution. They already existed as such and had existed for a long time. I think what traditionalist conservatives in America have to do is downplay the myth of the Founding Documents as somehow an instance of self-creation out of nothing. They should take a more realistic view of social life in America and what has actually sustained it.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

Rem tene, verba sequentur.

I think what traditionalist conservatives in America have to do is downplay the myth of the Founding Documents as somehow an instance of self-creation out of nothing.

Perhaps it would also be useful to teach the American public about the conservative assumptions underlying the founding documents, particularly the assumptions about human nature, the corrupting effect of power and the dangers of centralized power, etc.? After all, the liberal French philosophes of the time could not understand why we had all these checks and balances, separation of powers, federalism, etc. Cf. page 119 of the paperback edition of “The Vision of the Anointed” by Thomas Sowell, where he quotes Condorcet to that effect. Modern liberals do not understand these aspects of the founding documents, which call into question the whole premise that America’s founding documents were “liberal”. They were, in many ways, conservative, but there seems to be little public discussion of that fact.

I have reached the conclusion that to attempt to bring a genuine conservative message to the political arena is pointless. Stay on the farm and read Russell Kirk! Bohemian Toryism is the only way for a reflective man of the right to retain his sanity and beliefs in a world more and more based upon the politics of the Pig Trough.

I don’t know what that means, but I’m a dyed-in-the-wool small-t tory (i.e. not a supporter of the Conservative Party of Canada, but a partisan of what its first incarnation stood for, at Canada’s founding), and a staunch monarchist; from my perspective, America’s paradox (conservatism preserving liberal ideals) is ultimately unresolvable under republican government and ideology, and thus is a futile endeavour - but farbeit for me to tell others how to live, in terms of political systems; I’ll just reject republicanism up here in the Great White North, and would be happy to see America return to its Founding Fathers’ original ideals, from which it has greatly strayed… (So has my country, from the ideals of the Fathers of Confederation; well, some of them, anyway; we’re still a nation based on some regions blackmailing the federal government into giving them what they want, and the federal government acquiescing, so in that sense, we’re still true to our heritage, alas…)