Tag: Conservative Movement

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I had a wonderful conversation last night with Cart T. Bogus about a 4-year-old piece – “Burke Not Buckley” – that he wrote for The American Conservative.  Bogus considers himself a liberal, but gave me some wonderful things to think about when it came to Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, and the history of […]

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The Conservative Movement is Dead; Long Live the Conservative Movement

 

national-review-anniversary-william-f-buckley-r “Only a few prefer liberty — the majority seek nothing more than fair masters.” Sallust, Histories

I have been thinking about what went wrong with the Conservative movement and why in a year where the Democrats nearly handed us the election we failed to capitalize yet again. It dawned on me that so much of the commentary focused on the Republican Party, conservatives in general, the failure of our gatekeepers, our “betrayal” by the establishment, and the inadequacies of the various candidates. What I want to do is look at the Conservative movement and see how it is doing.

The first question I want to answer is what the Conservative movement was and then I want to make the case for why it died and why we need it again. William F. Buckley is widely and, I think, correctly seen as the founder of the Conservative movement. He started the movement in reaction to the progressive consensus of the time that we had moved past the founding documents of America and that we had the capability of remaking society. This progressive consensus was that we could retain democracy and some of the rights promised in the US Constitution but, at the same time, we needed to abandon the restrictions on our power that the Constitution had put in place because we knew so much more than before and there was so much more that we could control. In other words, Liberty was not an important value when it was possible to know what was best for people and we had the ability to guide people to good outcomes.

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I should, perhaps, clarify that what I mean by this is not that you have a good chance to save the republic, but then again it’s not a lot of effort, either. The odds of being decisive as a volunteer in a primary are small, and each primary has only a chance of being decisive. I should clarify […]

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