conservatism

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

Beauty Is At the Heart of True Conservatism

What is the point of contemporary conservatism? Whatever one thinks of the victory of Donald Trump to the presidency, he is not a conservative of any expected kind. But he has thrown the various strands of conservatism into disarray and has caused a remarkable level of self-reflection and self-criticism. And his administration has opened up [...]

Paris Statement Defends Old Europe and Its Values

“Our beloved home will not be fulfilled with the European Union. The real Europe is, and always will be, a community of nations, at once insular, sometimes fiercely so, and yet united by a spiritual legacy that, together, we debate, develop, state—and love.”  ∼ The Paris Statement, #12. Aristotle had trouble comprehending the feasibility of Alexander’s [...]

Liberty and Authority: Toward a Catholic Conservatism

We’ve learned by now to apply a certain hermeneutic to the Holy Father’s proclamations, and that includes one given to a congress of Catholic lawmakers in Rome in late August: As long as the contribution of the Church to the great questions of society in our time can be put into discussion,” he said, “it [...]

What Catholic Social Thought Teaches About Conservatism

The popular view—encouraged at every turn by left-leaning analysts and commentators—is that the conservative view on economics is essentially laissez-faire and that conservatives want to eliminate government social welfare programs, even if the needy have to suffer. As a result, some Catholics say that conservatism is at odds with the Church on this. Is this [...]

Why Liberal Governing Elites Seek to Neutralize Social Issues

Social issues are messy. They have to do with basic human connections, orientations, and aspects of identity. These include family, cultural community, religion, and relations between the sexes. So they have to do with basic and very complicated aspects of life that people feel strongly about. That causes problems for people who run things today. [...]

Is a Post-Trump Pact of Non-Recrimination Possible?

A former Bush administration staffer writes in National Review that there needs to be a kind of bloodletting in a post-Trump Republican Party. Peter Wehner, now ensconced at the highly respectable Ethics and Public Policy Center run by my friend Ed Whelan, wants to rid the GOP of certain smelly strains, specifically those around Breitbart, [...]

The State: From God, or the Devil?

A casual observer might be excused for believing that conservatives have a rather confused and conflicted view of the state. Albert J. Nock, a giant of early-twentieth-century conservatism, wrote a book titled Our Enemy the State. Yet Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, observed that “he who gave our nature to be perfected by our [...]

Liberalism, Conservatism, and Catholicism

We all talk about liberalism and conservatism, and about liberal and conservative Catholics, but what does it mean? Some say it doesn’t mean much at all. They say these are labels attached to arbitrary and even contradictory collections of positions. Liberals say they want lots of freedom and lots of regulations. Conservatives say they want [...]

Donald Trump, George Will, and the Crisis of Conservatism

If every cloud has a silver lining, we can say that the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump has—whatever his detractors may say—served some useful purposes. Those most critical of Trump speak of his followers as delirious, as if they were in the grip of some dreadful political fever. Nevertheless, a fever can be useful to [...]

Can Virtue Heal the American Right?

We’ve come to that agonizing point in our political process when each political party must choose its champion. Republicans are trying to decide in whose hands to place their party’s fate. The inexperienced but well-spoken Marco Rubio? Rand Paul, a man of intelligence and conviction who nonetheless selected drone strikes as the issue most worthy of a [...]

Remembering Brent

I was still an undergraduate when, in the summer of 1970, I first laid eyes on Spain, spending seven or so heady weeks in the bright shadow of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, an immense, intimidating pile built by Philip II in the shape of a huge gridiron on which its patron, St. Lawrence, had [...]

Conservatism after Obama

The final two years of two-term American presidencies are generally seen as their least significant. President Obama’s recent recourse to what some regard as extra-legal measures indicates, however, that we shouldn’t take this for granted. But no matter what political events unfold between now and November 2016, one thing is certain: American conservatives have to consider [...]

Russell Kirk: Conservative, Convert, Catholic

Ordinarily Providence works through men and women—through St. Gregory, through St. Joan. Saints and martyrs will be raised up within this land of ours during the next hundred years, men and women not swept away by the running tide of our prosperity and our triviality. Even you and I, putting aside our vanity, may essay [...]

Remembering Bill Buckley

I met Bill Buckley (d. Feb. 27, 2008)  only once, over lunch, so long ago that I can scarcely remember what was said.  Only that it was by invitation (his, obviously), issued as a result of a letter I’d sent him describing a Summer Institute in Spain, organized by his brother-in-law, L. Brent Bozell, with [...]

Conservatism: Its Meaning and Prospects

Conservatism at bottom is resistance to the technocratic project, the modern attempt to turn the social world into a sort of universal machine for the maximum satisfaction of preferences. That project has been growing up for a long time. It comes out of an understanding of knowledge and the world with its roots in the [...]

Conservatism Requires a Religious Foundation

Not all religious people are conservatives; and not all conservatives are religious people. Christianity prescribes no especial form of politics. There have been famous radicals who were devout Christians—though most radicals have been nothing of the sort. All the same, there could be no conservatism without a religious foundation, and it is conservative people, by [...]

Whither Goest Conservatism?

A number of developments in the past month have put the spotlight squarely on the question, not too far back in people’s minds since last year’s election campaign, of what direction American conservatism is going to take in the foreseeable future. Until this year, after receiving criticism, the organizers of the annual Conservative Political Action [...]

The Return of the Conservative Conscience

In just thirteen hours, Rand Paul’s recent constitutional marathon established him as one of the best stump speakers in the senate. His easy-going, spontaneous, and cogent extended soliloquy sent a power surge through the somnambulant GOP. The ensuing swell of popular support for Senator Paul set the party—and, en passant, the conservative movement—on their collective [...]

Catholicism Offers the U.S. a Vision of the Good Life

American political institutions give us all part of the responsibility for how we are governed. Catholics need to carry out that responsibility in accordance with their best understanding of man, society, and American political life. The Catholic understanding of man and society is reasonably well worked out, but the nature of American political life is [...]

How Little We Have Lost

Like millions of conservative Americans, I spent last night with hope and fear, followed by sinking disappointment at what my fellow Americans had chosen to do with our country. That disappointment has not gone away. But it has been tempered, as all our disappointments should be tempered, by a realization of just how little we [...]

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