Wednesday, October 26, 2011
What should conservatives conserve?
Pat Buchanan asks that question in an insightful op-ed piece available here: What Is It We Wish to Conserve? Back in the day, Frank Meyer criticized Russell Kirk's approach to conservatism because to Meyer it seemed unable to distinguish the positive aspects of a patrimony from the negative ones. We are now at a point in our culture and society where conservatives are faced with that same basic critique. Not everything in American society is worth conserving -- much of our current culture is in fact blatantly destructive. Of course, where Kirk was right was in his insistence that ideology cannot be the litmus test by which the winnowing of a culture is carried out. Principle, yes -- the Permanent Things, yes -- but not ideology.