We believe that conservative principles and policies need not be grounded in a specific set of supernatural claims. Rather, conservatism serves the ends of “Human Flourishing,” what the Greeks termed Eudaimonia. Secular conservatism takes the empirical world for what it is, and accepts that the making of it the best that it can be is only possible through our faculties of reason.
So the claim, it seems, is that conservatism should be grounded in “Human Flourishing,” which is to be understood only through rational empiricism and thus without regard to supernatural claims. I’m not sure what that means. Rational empiricism, as understood today, makes a strong distinction between fact and value. “Human Flourishing” is evidently an evaluative term. So it seems rational empiricism wouldn’t be able to recognize it.
The term looks like it means something like “realization of the good for man here and now.” Maybe they’ve got a notion of rational empiricism that tells us what the good for man is. I don’t know what that would be. Does anyone know if they explain themselves further somewhere?
My own view, which my book goes into at length, is that by itself rational empiricism gives you desire and technique as (radically anti-conservative) guides to life. Satisfaction of desire doesn’t seem to constitute human flourishing. To get beyond it though you need a moral tradition that’s understood to connect to something that transcends desire and thus the empirical.
So far as I can tell, an adequate theory of such a thing is going to have to explain why life objectively has a purpose, and that’s going to involve attribution of purpose and intention to the world at large. In other words, the theory is going to be religious. And it’s going to say something definite, otherwise it will be useless. So it’s going to make specific religious and non-empirical (“supernatural”) claims.
Bottom line: if you want to be a character in a late Samuel Beckett novel you can try, but I don’t think you’re going to succeed. Otherwise this whole godless thing isn’t going to work.