I just finished (more or less) another book on my Americana reading list, Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism. It’s a straightforward book that uses lots of examples to make the obvious points that conservative locally-minded people mostly don’t like foreign adventures, and that war and empire aren’t good for the conservative locally-minded way of life.
Things get complicated, of course. It seems to me that there could be a generally prowar conservatism. Such a conservatism would correspond to a more technological society, in which there’s not much local or traditional to conserve. The big distinction would then be between more conservative people, who retain an attachment to their own particular society but think of it mostly as a sort of team to be supported, and less conservative people, who think particular attachments are irrational and oppressive and conclude that the world should be run as a universal system that takes care of everything for everybody.
One thing that struck me about the book was the author’s alarm at touching on anything that isn’t PC. He wants to say that attachment to local community and customary ways are good, but seems alarmed by the thought that someone will notice that attachment to those things suggests attachment to the specific people whose community and ways they are. It’s a basic problem for proponents of local informal community today. Pretty much by definition, “inclusiveness” means “no particular local connections that amount to much.”