Tag: Conservativism

Are We Really “Conservatives?”

 
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Is this really us?

Ricochet is home to a lot of debates; typically among those of us on who identify with the Political Right. As a matter of convenience, we call ourselves “conservatives” and our opponents “liberals.” Much has been written about the derivation of these terms and how they came to be in common usage today. I don’t want to re-hash that history lesson. I’m more interested in figuring out if we here are actually conservatives or if we are … something else.

Mere Libertarianism

 

Libertarianism is the subject of regular debate on Ricochet, both between conservatives and libertarians and — if you really want to see heated debate — among different kinds of libertarians. Taking inspiration from C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, member Sal Padula and I recorded a conversation in which we attempt to distill libertarianism down to its essence and explore some basic questions about it, including:

What is libertarianism? What isn’t libertarianism? What is its relationship to conservatism (both in America and abroad)? How do contemporary politicians fare under a libertarian analysis? The results may surprise you (and are largely free of references to Rand Paul!).

Conservatism, Libertarianism and Other Distinctions

 

I recently got back from attending the 10th annual meeting of the Property and Freedom Society. It’s a libertarian organization of the anarcho-capitalist variety, started by Hans Hermann Hoppe (anonymous recently reviewed one of Hoppe’s books). I found the visit rejuvenating: rarely do I spend four or five days in the company of so many libertarians.

Even on Ricochet, there seems to be a constant conflict between conservative and libertarian ideology. What most people — including many of my fellow Ricochetti — would find most surprising about the conference is how conservative these anarcho-capitalists are. I present to you a speech from last year’s meeting by Dr. Gerard Casey, a Catholic, conservative anarchist, and a lovely and brilliant man. To me, it encapsulates why so many anarchists exist in the libertarian movement, and why they aspire to the same morals as most conservatives.

Conservative Classics: Oakeshott’s ‘Rationalism in Politics’

 

OakeshottMichael Oakeshott (1901-90) was one of the great conservative thinkers of the last century. After serving in World War II, Oakeshott was appointed Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he replaced Harold Laski. The two men could not have been more different: Laski was a Marxist thinker and a life-long apologist for socialism; Oakeshott was an important conservative political philosopher.

The year he joined the faculty of the LSE (1947), Oakeshott published an essay, “Rationalism in Politics,” which has become one of the classics of conservative thought. In this age of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, an unfettered EPA, Common Core, the exponential growth of government regulations, ad nauseum, this essay deserves to be read widely (a pdf copy of the essay is available here).

It is a short, brilliant critique of the mode of thought that now dominates leftist thinking in America (and, sadly, the kind of thinking that animates far too many politicians who call themselves conservatives).