What Is Conservatism? With Buckley, Hayek & Goldberg

What Is Conservatism? It’s not a hard question — it’s a title that proves everything old is new again. ISI Books has reissued What Is Conservatism? It’s the 1964 classic edited by Frank S. Meyer and featuring contributions from the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, and Friedrich Hayek, plus a new foreword by Jonah Goldberg.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Goldberg explains why he calls this volume, “The Federalist Papers of American conservatism,” which of its essays everyone should read right now, and what a book from half a century ago can teach conservatives in 2016.

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There are 10 comments.

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  1. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I couldn’t find this in iBooks, is it available?

    • #1
  2. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    I love Jonah, but I hate the phrase “Catholic natural law.” It sounds as unmeaning to me as “Catholic natural science” or “Catholic algebra.”

    Natural law isn’t a set of doctrines proposed to our faith. It’s the moral law we find in human experience.

    • #2
  3. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    I’ve boiled it down to its simplest terms so that the masses can define conservatism while sitting at lunch counter or at a water cooler, which is important.

    What is conservatism?   Conserving the freedom of the individual from the trespasses of government and others.

    • #3
  4. John Stater Inactive
    John Stater
    @JohnStater

    katievs:I love Jonah, but I hate the phrase “Catholic natural law.” It sounds as unmeaning to me as “Catholic natural science” or “Catholic algebra.”

    Natural law isn’t a set of doctrines proposed to our faith. It’s the moral law we find in human experience.

    Is he maybe using the definition of “catholic” as “universal”?

    • #4
  5. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    John Stater:

    katievs:I love Jonah, but I hate the phrase “Catholic natural law.” It sounds as unmeaning to me as “Catholic natural science” or “Catholic algebra.”

    Natural law isn’t a set of doctrines proposed to our faith. It’s the moral law we find in human experience.

    Is he maybe using the definition of “catholic” as “universal”?

    If he were (which I doubt), I would still reject it as redundant.

    • #5
  6. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    I really love what he says about the difference between American conservatism, which is a radical way of establishing and maintaining classical liberalism in a pluralistic society, and European conservatism, which is much more about Church and throne and tradition.

    • #6
  7. nom de plume Inactive
    nom de plume
    @nomdeplume

    Sadly, I doubt many folk who identify as conservative will read this or have read any of those contributors.  I can hope.

    • #7
  8. Grendel Member
    Grendel
    @Grendel

    “Conservatism is that paradigm of essences toward which the phenomenology of the world is in continuing approximation”—Willmore Kendall (I think)—in contrast to the solipsistic, narcissistic unreality of the Left that is the basis of its evil.  Leftists aka Progressives aka Liberal Fascists aka Democrats are avatars of the Prince of Lies.

    “Old Whig”, Classical Liberal, Fusionism.  Ah, I remember it well.  I now like to call myself a Libertarian Traditionalist.

    • #8
  9. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    I knew about natural law before I became Catholic.  I haven’t tied natural law to the Church albeit that the Church uses natural law to arrive at many of its decisions.  I am aware that a great deal of Protestantism does not use or rely on natural law, but rather seeks to find the answer in scripture.  What does not seem to occur to Protestants is that first ten commandment are natural law, and are consistent with the recorded positions of others who were gifted to arrive at the same conclusions.

    • #9
  10. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    Also, our entire system of government is grounded on natural law: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

    Unless there is such a thing as natural law, we can’t reason together toward good laws. We can only submit to authority.

    • #10