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"Conservatism" contra "conservatism"

Einzige

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There are, it seems to me, two main threads intertwined within modern Western conservatism (American and otherwise), and that these divergent viewpoints differ in a greater degree than the superficial rubric of "libertarian" against " authoritarian" that is sometimes used to describe it.

For the sake of indirect communication, I'll broadly refer to them as "Burkean" and "Bismarckian" conservatism. Though neither figure is perfectly representative of the tendency I've ascribed their names to (Burke, after all, was personally a traditionalist and Bismarck was certainly a great modernizer in his own right), they're sufficiently representative of each in kind to be useful.

The first tendency, the Burkean, might paradoxically be said to include both figures popularly labeled "neoconservatives" and right-winged libertarians. These groups are often assumed to be two hostile and warring camps, but underlying both perspectives is a commitment to a worldview derived basically from Enlightenment-style thought. Right-libertarians might invoke the spectre of Hegel in denouncing "neoconservatism", while the dialectitians in this latter camp might regard the right-libertarian empiricism as shallow, but both believe that they are conserving a Western tradition of rationality derived from abstract principles. In practice, Rand's concept of Reason as "the guiding fundamental of free society" is little different from Hegel's "the Rational is the Real and the Real is the Rational", no matter how different the systems undergirding both statements may be.

The second group, the Bismarckians, may also be called 'T'raditionalists. They reject the primacy of any humanly-induced Reason used as a tool for social organization, and regard claims to unbiased access to pure knowledge, uncolored by culture, with skepticism. Accordingly, they are less likely to go in for unmitigated paeans to abstracted capitalism - see The American Conservative's recent trajectory into New Dealesque economic rhetoric - and may lean populist on certain technical issues of the economy.

For myself, I regard both positions as woefully useless and the intellectual tension between them drove me from the conservative camp. Like the Bismarckians I am skeptical of Rational Utopianism (and the concept of 'reason' altogether), but I categorically reject the retrenchment of Christianity as a solution - it was, after all, Christianity's promise of a "new Heaven and a new Earth" that brought us here. I share my individualism with the Burkeans, but have little truck with their systematizing.

If the Right could get
 

Bonzai

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When late Roman values began to be on the same astral plane as Judaic values, all the alarm bells should have gone off. That was what Nietzsche was trying to say...................
 

Einzige

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both the outmoded allegiance to Lockean-style atomistic rationalism and atavistic, life-denying Christianity, I think it would appeal to me much more strongly.

As I've suggested several times, the interwar German conservative movement provided strong examples of transcending this gulf - Martin Heidegger, for instance, addressed the underlying concern with technology many Bismarckians feel while using the teknikal linguistic framework of the Burkeans.

But, I fear, the anti-intellectual, anti-elitist bent of the populist/Reaganist American Right will always stifle such discussion.
 

Verax

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When the Crinean philosophers of old Greece came from tradition upon a new civilization, they surmised a testament to audacity of a new mentality. No more far gone are the left and right, but more of the likes of Cambridge, of Polinsky, the latter champions of heritage Rationality and broken permeage. I fear this great bridge of character over emphasizes the common good of unitarianism when duality fixates that no god shall be whence them come.
 

Einzige

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American conservatives are constitutionally incapable of embracing Nietzsche, unfortunately. In World War I, to quote from H.L. Mencken's book on his work, he was disparaged as "an intellectual hobgoblin, half Bakunin and half Byron, a sacrilegious and sinister fellow..." responsible for justifying such activities as making soap from the bones of Germany's enemies (which, naturally enough, was an Allied propaganda piece). And this before his association - unwarranted - with the then-embryonic Nazis!
 

Bonzai

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Unfortunately, most of the great thinkers and philosophers of the modern age have thought 2013 years of an unceasing and unmitigated disaster could just be "written off". It can't. It really was that bad......................
 

Einzige

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Unfortunately, most of the great thinkers and philosophers of the modern age have thought 2013 years of an unceasing and unmitigated disaster could just be "written off". It can't. It really was that bad......................

Our entire political life is full of bad intellectual and spiritual habits: the most recent Republican platform demonstrated this clearly.
 

Bob Blaylock

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There are, it seems to me, two main threads intertwined within modern Western conservatism (American and otherwise), and that these divergent viewpoints differ in a greater degree than the superficial rubric of "libertarian" against " authoritarian" that is sometimes used to describe it.

For the sake of indirect communication, I'll broadly refer to them as "Burkean" and "Bismarckian" conservatism. Though neither figure is perfectly representative of the tendency I've ascribed their names to (Burke, after all, was personally a traditionalist and Bismarck was certainly a great modernizer in his own right), they're sufficiently representative of each in kind to be useful.

The first tendency, the Burkean, might paradoxically be said to include both figures popularly labeled "neoconservatives" and right-winged libertarians. These groups are often assumed to be two hostile and warring camps, but underlying both perspectives is a commitment to a worldview derived basically from Enlightenment-style thought. Right-libertarians might invoke the spectre of Hegel in denouncing "neoconservatism", while the dialectitians in this latter camp might regard the right-libertarian empiricism as shallow, but both believe that they are conserving a Western tradition of rationality derived from abstract principles. In practice, Rand's concept of Reason as "the guiding fundamental of free society" is little different from Hegel's "the Rational is the Real and the Real is the Rational", no matter how different the systems undergirding both statements may be.

The second group, the Bismarckians, may also be called 'T'raditionalists. They reject the primacy of any humanly-induced Reason used as a tool for social organization, and regard claims to unbiased access to pure knowledge, uncolored by culture, with skepticism. Accordingly, they are less likely to go in for unmitigated paeans to abstracted capitalism - see The American Conservative's recent trajectory into New Dealesque economic rhetoric - and may lean populist on certain technical issues of the economy.

For myself, I regard both positions as woefully useless and the intellectual tension between them drove me from the conservative camp. Like the Bismarckians I am skeptical of Rational Utopianism (and the concept of 'reason' altogether), but I categorically reject the retrenchment of Christianity as a solution - it was, after all, Christianity's promise of a "new Heaven and a new Earth" that brought us here. I share my individualism with the Burkeans, but have little truck with their systematizing.

If the Right could get

When late Roman values began to be on the same astral plane as Judaic values, all the alarm bells should have gone off. That was what Nietzsche was trying to say...................

both the outmoded allegiance to Lockean-style atomistic rationalism and atavistic, life-denying Christianity, I think it would appeal to me much more strongly.

As I've suggested several times, the interwar German conservative movement provided strong examples of transcending this gulf - Martin Heidegger, for instance, addressed the underlying concern with technology many Bismarckians feel while using the teknikal linguistic framework of the Burkeans.

But, I fear, the anti-intellectual, anti-elitist bent of the populist/Reaganist American Right will always stifle such discussion.

When the Crinean philosophers of old Greece came from tradition upon a new civilization, they surmised a testament to audacity of a new mentality. No more far gone are the left and right, but more of the likes of Cambridge, of Polinsky, the latter champions of heritage Rationality and broken permeage. I fear this great bridge of character over emphasizes the common good of unitarianism when duality fixates that no god shall be whence them come.

American conservatives are constitutionally incapable of embracing Nietzsche, unfortunately. In World War I, to quote from H.L. Mencken's book on his work, he was disparaged as "an intellectual hobgoblin, half Bakunin and half Byron, a sacrilegious and sinister fellow..." responsible for justifying such activities as making soap from the bones of Germany's enemies (which, naturally enough, was an Allied propaganda piece). And this before his association - unwarranted - with the then-embryonic Nazis!

Unfortunately, most of the great thinkers and philosophers of the modern age have thought 2013 years of an unceasing and unmitigated disaster could just be "written off". It can't. It really was that bad......................

Our entire political life is full of bad intellectual and spiritual habits: the most recent Republican platform demonstrated this clearly.

I recently heard this story. Suddenly Bismarck ran to Locke. They guided their running angrily to hyperbolas or reflectors in the enrapturing cottage. Inside of their weary hearts a frightening desire was crooning of a mansion. Mencken yodeled to Einzige during the time that Burcke commenced to cry of foxes and doves.

Nietzsche, who is the mayor of the sky. He's from Mill Valley. Nietzsche, that is. Did you know Nietzsche? Bonzai is in Mill Valley. Visiting! Ah, to visit forever! Ah, forever the visitor. From Mill Valley to a trash can, always in a little nest. Do you honestly imagine I am cerebral?

Only a sinner could think that you regard both positions as woefully useless and the intellectual tension between them drove you from the conservative camp. I don't know many crummy saints.
 
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