Jefferson does not call for an overturn of society and its reconstruction according to some abstract plan. Think of the root meaning of the term revolution. Jefferson, in fact, is mostly satisfied with his society (Virginia), although he is interested in a few small reforms that might broaden its base. So are his followers satisfied with their portions of America. That is why they support him. Despite the hysterical and sometimes insincere denunciations of the New England clergy, the Virginia planter is no Jacobin. As he sees things, any government, with the passage of time and the accretion of abuses and bad precedents, becomes corrupted. It needs to be revolved back to its original principles.As I commented over at The Pittsford Perennialist, Clyde Wilson is a serious academic historian and a Southern gentleman with whom I have had the privilege of sharing a brief e-mail correspondence. I certainly respect his commitment to his beliefs, however, I think his take on Jefferson is seriously flawed. As the Irish writer and Burke scholar Connor Cruise O'Brien has documented in his detailed book The Long Affair, Jefferson was no reactionary or conservative, but rather a radical who was entranced by the bloodlust of the French Revoultion. Wilson's good friend the late Russell Kirk largely shared that view, and consistently identified the Federalists as the true conservatives during the Founding period and the early republic. If one picks up a copy of Kirk's Portable Conservative Reader (sadly now out of print), one finds selections from John Adams, Fisher Ames and Alexander Hamilton, and precisely none from Jefferson.
Wilson is a devoted son of the South, and his love for his region and it's traditional culture has lead him to disdain the Federalist-Whig-Republican conservative tradition in favor of an attempt to characterize the Jeffersonian tradition as conservative. Unfortunately, Wilson overlooks the centralizing and overtly totalitarian aspects of Jefferson's ideology and political practice. While there are many on the Right who look fondly on Jefferson, he is no model for conservatives to emulate.