Concise Guide to Conservatism

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Tlalok
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Tlalok » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:28 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:23 am
boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:47 am
Spiritual traditions are traditional, not progressive.
The Church of Satan would care to disagree.

Spiritual traditions can be progressive.

Ever heard of Engaged Buddhism, for example?

Secularists can be incredibly conservative.
Richard Dawkins / Jordan Peterson are both "secularists" in various ways and are tremendously socially conservative, for instance.

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:45 pm

Many thanks to David (DNS) for making larger attachments possible now. :bow:

Concise Guide To Conservatism-2019.pdf
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by boda » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:13 pm

Tlalok wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:28 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:23 am
boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:47 am
Spiritual traditions are traditional, not progressive.
The Church of Satan would care to disagree.

Spiritual traditions can be progressive.

Ever heard of Engaged Buddhism, for example?

Secularists can be incredibly conservative.
Richard Dawkins / Jordan Peterson are both "secularists" in various ways and are tremendously socially conservative, for instance.
We could list exceptions all day long, and probably much better ones than those listed so far.

A brief search indicates that The Church of Satan is basically atheistic. Here's a quote from an interview with the current High Priest Peter Gilmore defining Satan:

"Satan is a model or a mode of behavior. Satan in Hebrew means "adversary" or "opposer"; one who questions. Since we generally are skeptical atheists, we question all spirituality. We believe that carnality is all that exists and the spiritual dimensions are fictional. So we stand against eastern and western religions that promote fictions, according to our perspectives. So we are adversaries. Satan to us is an exemplar. When we look at how he is portrayed by Mark Twain in Letters from the Earth, or Byron, or Milton's Paradise Lost, he ends up being an inspirational symbol to us. We say we would like to be more like that. We will not bow our heads; we will be independent. We will constantly question."

They're anti-tradition and anti-spiritual. I would consider this an ideology (politically libertarian, I would guess) and not a religion.

Engaged Buddhism was inspired by the humanistic Buddhism reform movement in China, and in China is literally known as 'left-wing Buddhism'. Why distinguish it as such unless it stood apart from traditional Buddhism. It's also considered worldly Buddhism, which confines its sphere of concern to worldly affairs and not spiritual, other than as a kind of meditation or applied ethics.

A 'secularist' is simply someone who believes in the separation of church and state. They could be religious, but for what I think are obvious reasons, they're more likely to be atheist.

Dawkins describes his political views as left-leaning. Peterson's 'secularity' is dubious, from what I've seen, if he should be taken seriously at all.

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Grigoris
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Grigoris » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:06 pm

boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:13 pm
We could list exceptions all day long, and probably much better ones than those listed so far.
Exceptions disprove your fake rule.
A brief search indicates that The Church of Satan is basically atheistic.
So is Buddhism.
They're anti-tradition and anti-spiritual. I would consider this an ideology (politically libertarian, I would guess) and not a religion.
They are registered as a religion, so your opinion is not really all that valid.
Engaged Buddhism was inspired by the humanistic Buddhism reform movement in China, and in China is literally known as 'left-wing Buddhism'. Why distinguish it as such unless it stood apart from traditional Buddhism. It's also considered worldly Buddhism, which confines its sphere of concern to worldly affairs and not spiritual, other than as a kind of meditation or applied ethics.
All types of Buddhism are a "kind of meditation or applied ethics". What is the Eightfold Noble Path, for example??? You cannot get more traditional than the Noble Eightfold Path.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by boda » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:31 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:06 pm
boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:13 pm
We could list exceptions all day long, and probably much better ones than those listed so far.
Exceptions disprove your fake rule.
It would if the rule were something like: all conservatives are religious and all liberals are atheists. That would be a stupid rule. The evidence shows that conservatives tend to be religious, or at least identify as religious, at around double the rate as liberals.

A brief search indicates that The Church of Satan is basically atheistic.
So is Buddhism.
They're anti-tradition and anti-spiritual. I would consider this an ideology (politically libertarian, I would guess) and not a religion.
They are registered as a religion, so your opinion is not really all that valid.
I looked up a basic explanation of the difference between a religion and an ideology for you...

Although religion is an ideology, and religions set is a subset of ideologies, religions focus on answering the world-view including afterlife and other things that are not in the materialistic world, whereas most ideologies focus on providing a world-view about the materialistic world.

Get it now?
You cannot get more traditional than the Noble Eightfold Path.
Exactly. Where is Engaged Buddhism mentioned in the NEP?

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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by ford_truckin » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:32 pm

Tlalok wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:28 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:23 am
boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:47 am
Spiritual traditions are traditional, not progressive.
The Church of Satan would care to disagree.

Spiritual traditions can be progressive.

Ever heard of Engaged Buddhism, for example?

Secularists can be incredibly conservative.
Richard Dawkins / Jordan Peterson are both "secularists" in various ways and are tremendously socially conservative, for instance.
Peterson is a Christian

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Grigoris
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Grigoris » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:04 pm

boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:31 pm
It would if the rule were something like: all conservatives are religious and all liberals are atheists. That would be a stupid rule. The evidence shows that conservatives tend to be religious, or at least identify as religious, at around double the rate as liberals.
Source?

I looked up a basic explanation of the difference between a religion and an ideology for you...

Although religion is an ideology, and religions set is a subset of ideologies, religions focus on answering the world-view including afterlife and other things that are not in the materialistic world, whereas most ideologies focus on providing a world-view about the materialistic world.

Get it now?
Now that is an awful definition. Where did you dig up that one?
Exactly. Where is Engaged Buddhism mentioned in the NEP?
What a stupid question. The NEP was formulated a few millennia before Engaged Buddhism. If anything the question should be the other way around.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by boda » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:12 am

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:04 pm
boda wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:31 pm
It would if the rule were something like: all conservatives are religious and all liberals are atheists. That would be a stupid rule. The evidence shows that conservatives tend to be religious, or at least identify as religious, at around double the rate as liberals.
Source?
Pew Research Center. I'm sure there are other sources.
I looked up a basic explanation of the difference between a religion and an ideology for you...

Although religion is an ideology, and religions set is a subset of ideologies, religions focus on answering the world-view including afterlife and other things that are not in the materialistic world, whereas most ideologies focus on providing a world-view about the materialistic world.

Get it now?
Now that is an awful definition.
Evaluating something inadequate without explanation is, well, perfectly fine on this forum I guess.
Exactly. Where is Engaged Buddhism mentioned in the NEP?
What a stupid question. The NEP was formulated a few millennia before Engaged Buddhism. If anything the question should be the other way around.
It's apparently perfectly fine to be rude and hostile on this forum as well. So much for applied ethics.

The question was rhetorical, Engaged Buddhism doesn't conflict with the NEP. As I've already told you, it doesn't reach beyond worldly affairs. There's nothing to it that even suggests that traditional beliefs could be improved, like that the NEP is inadequate and needs revision. It doesn't express progressiveness, in other words.

You could, of course, try to argue that TNH is reforming Buddhism, but I don't think you'll be able to convince anyone.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Kim O'Hara » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:40 am

boda wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:12 am
You could, of course, try to argue that TNH is reforming Buddhism, but I don't think you'll be able to convince anyone.
We could also argue that each one of us, every day, reforms Buddhism. It's true, too, since every time we choose one text over another, one interpretation of the precepts over another, Buddhism as a whole changes ... ever so slightly, of course, just as the Earth's centre of gravity changes, ever so slightly, every time we drive from home to work.
TNH's influence is rather greater than any of ours, of course.

However, we are now a very long way from A Concise Guide to Conservatism.

:focus:
Kim

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Grigoris
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:49 am

boda wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:12 am
Evaluating something inadequate without explanation is, well, perfectly fine on this forum I guess.
There is no value in giving an intelligent analysis to a ridiculous assertion.
The question was rhetorical
I would recommend your make attempts at rhetoric clearer in the future.
Engaged Buddhism doesn't conflict with the NEP. As I've already told you, it doesn't reach beyond worldly affairs. There's nothing to it that even suggests that traditional beliefs could be improved, like that the NEP is inadequate and needs revision. It doesn't express progressiveness, in other words.
You just shifted the goal posts. A common tactic from you every time you are cornered. We were talking about secular vs religious. Remember?

I will take the bait, but only to post a conclusion, as I am quite aware that discussing anything with you is a complete waste of time. I am making this statement for the people reading this discussing.

In Greece we have a saying: If the roof tiles are not leaking, don't tinker with them.

You seem to confound progress with deconstruction. Your thinking reminds me of the actions that lead to the cane toad issue in Australia.


Sometimes a progressive situation can actually be better achieved through conservation, through opposing change.

Sometimes there is greater progress and benefit in an existing situation.

You are fetishising the ideal of progress.
You could, of course, try to argue that TNH is reforming Buddhism, but I don't think you'll be able to convince anyone.
A straw man. Something else that is not deserving of an intelligent response.

This dialogue is over.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:58 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:40 am

However, we are now a very long way from A Concise Guide to Conservatism.

:focus:
Kim
:thanks: to Kim - therefore a sample next from the chapter on Family:
“The germ of public affections,” Burke wrote, “is to learn to love the little platoon we belong to in
society.” We cannot feel any affection for our country unless we first love those near to us. The
conservative feels that the family is the natural source and core of any good society; that when the
family decays, a dreary collectivism is sure to supplant it; and that the principal instrument of moral
instruction, ordinary education, and satisfactory economic life always must remain the family. What
makes life worth living is love; and love is learnt in the family, and withers when the health of family life
is impaired.

Now very powerful forces are at work to diminish the influence of the family among us, and even to
destroy the family for all purposes except mere generation. Some of these forces are material and
unintentional: certain aspects of modern industrialism, which break up the old economic unity of the
family; cheap amusements and transportation, which encourage members of the family to spend nearly
all their time outside the family circle; the assumption of the old educational functions of the family by
public schools, in considerable part. The real conservative seeks to modify or reverse these tendencies
by reminding men and women that family love is more important than material gain; and he tries to
devise practical means to reconcile family unity with the demands of modern life.

But other forces hostile to the family are not merely impersonal and unconscious: they are more or
less deliberate, and they may be countered by intelligent action in the social and educational and
political spheres. The chief of these ominous forces is the deliberate desire of certain people to have the
political state assume nearly all the responsibilities which the family once possessed. This movement is
the most thorough and disastrous form of collectivism. That some of the people who advocate such a
course are well-intentioned does not excuse their design. We all know what hell is paved with.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:02 pm

A bit from chapter six, on Community:
A solitary man, Aristotle says, must be either a beast or a god. Since not many of us are godlike, we
live in communities, lest we grow bestial. Community is a great good; it makes civilization and moral
growth possible; and when community weakens, it is replaced not by anarchic freedom, ordinarily, but
by a stifling collectivism. Aristotle reminds us that we are naturally gregarious, taking pleasure in other
people’s company. Therefore, the man who disrupts the true community is depriving us of a great part
of our human nature.

Although we Americans have always been intensely attached to privacy and private rights, we also
have been a nation conspicuous for a hearty and successful spirit of community. Our city, township,
and county governments; our flourishing voluntary associations; our innumerable fraternal and
charitable bodies—these are the forms which have been realized by our desire for true community.
Tocqueville found the genuine desire to serve and promote the community stronger among us than in
Europe, despite our American proclivity for moving about. It is this combination of local independence
with neighborliness and voluntary association that has made possible what Orestes Brownson called
“territorial democracy” in the United States—that is, local free government, as distinguished from the
centralized and fanatical democracies that arose in Europe out of the French Revolution.

Now real community is detested by the radical social reformer, in our century, who would like to see
society forced into a single rigid mold, characterized by central administration, rule through executive
decree, uniformity of life, and eradication of all personal and local distinctions. The radical—especially
the Marxist—knows that healthy community is the enemy of his schemes, for community encourages
variety of opinion and custom, sheltering all those voluntary associations which oppose centralized
despotism. Accordingly, the radical doctrinaire, once he is in power, endeavors to stamp out the vigor
of local community, as Hitler tried to do in Germany, and as the Communists have done with
dismaying thoroughness in Russia and elsewhere.
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by boda » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:20 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:40 am
boda wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:12 am
You could, of course, try to argue that TNH is reforming Buddhism, but I don't think you'll be able to convince anyone.
We could also argue that each one of us, every day, reforms Buddhism. It's true, too, since every time we choose one text over another, one interpretation of the precepts over another, Buddhism as a whole changes ... ever so slightly, of course, just as the Earth's centre of gravity changes, ever so slightly, every time we drive from home to work.
TNH's influence is rather greater than any of ours, of course.

However, we are now a very long way from A Concise Guide to Conservatism.

:focus:
Kim
If the point is to better understand and appreciate conservatism then we're on track, actually.

This line of discussion most directly explores #6 of the chief 10 principles listed:
6. The past is a great storehouse of wisdom; as Burke said, 'The individual is foolish, but the
species is wise.' The conservative believes that we need to guide ourselves by the moral
traditions, the social experience, and the whole complex body of knowledge bequeathed to
us by our ancestors. The conservative appeals beyond the rash opinion of the hour to what
Chesterton called 'the democracy of the dead'—that is, the considered opinions of the wise
men and women who died before our time, the experience of the race. The conservative, in
short, knows he was not born yesterday.
There is a much simpler, or less contrived, explanation for the conservative tendency to adhere to tradition. Conservatives are naturally less open to new experiences and change than progressives.

It may seem counterintuitive that Western Buddhists tend to be liberal, but with this in mind it makes sense, in that Western Buddhists may normally choose the practice rather than it being culturally inculcated.

I really don't understand the suggestion that religion is generally considered conservative nowadays because of its hierarchical structure, though that is one aspect of it. As the statistics show, conservatives tend to adhere to traditional values and beliefs, many of which are religious in nature.

It's rather ironic that Grigoris chose Engaged Buddhism (Thich Nhat Hanh) rather than something like Secular Buddhism (Steven Batchelor) to illustrate progressiveness in religion.

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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:29 pm

boda wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:20 pm
It's rather ironic that Grigoris chose Engaged Buddhism (Thich Nhat Hanh) rather than something like Secular Buddhism (Steven Batchelor) to illustrate progressiveness in religion.
Because I do not consider what he is doing as progressive.

Anyway, this whole progressive vs conservative thing is a complete fabrication.

Christianity was once considered progressive and revolutionary, now it is a force of conservatism.
Philosophy Consoling Boethius and Fortune Turning the Wheel - Henri de Vulcop - detail.png
Philosophy Consoling Boethius and Fortune Turning the Wheel - Henri de Vulcop - detail.png (751.04 KiB) Viewed 1229 times
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:45 pm

How chapter VII on Just Government begins:
Jefferson called government a necessary evil; but most Americans never really believed that; and, in
the eyes of conservatives generally, government is a necessary good—so long as it is just, constitutional,
balanced, restricted government. Justice, order, and freedom are dependent upon a satisfactory balance
between governmental authority and private rights. In times of anarchy, the thinking conservative
endeavors to support the claims of just government; in times of frowning centralization and
consolidation of political power, the thinking conservative turns to the defense of the individual against
the state. In our age and our country, the latter tendency is at work, so that the American conservative
nowadays seeks to restrain the influence of governmental agencies, rather than to buttress the political authority.

In the years which intervened between the achievement of American independence and the
adoption of the Federal Constitution, matters were otherwise. Then the danger was that the loose
American Confederation would break asunder, and that authority might fall into the hands of
adventurers, radical factions, or foreign powers. Our Federal Constitution, which Sir Henry Maine
called the great political achievement of modern times, was framed to put an end to this peril; and that
Constitution, comparatively little altered, has helped immeasurably ever since to conserve our ordered liberty.

Just government rarely is the hasty creation of a few ingenious men: instead, it is the consequence of
a slow growth, the experience of a nation under Providence. Now and then a vigorous reformer may
accelerate this progress or some mistaken reformer may injure a nation’s constitution; but, by and large,
the sound institutions of any nation are the product of historical experience.
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:48 pm

Next a chapter on Private Property begins:
Perhaps no facile political slogan has done more mischief in our time than the pretense that there is a
conflict between “human rights and property rights”: a notion popularized in this country by Franklin
Roosevelt. All rights are human rights. Both in point of law and in ethical theory, beasts, plants, and
inanimate objects have no rights. Only men and women have rights. “Property,” as such, enjoys no
rights or privileges; for property is not human. What we mean by the phrase “property rights” is really
the rights of human beings to possess and acquire property. Property rights are human rights. They are,
indeed, among the most important of human rights. There is no opposition between human rights and
property rights; if ever a conflict arises, it is between the human right of owning and acquiring property,
and some other real or pretended human right.

No principle in English and American politics is better established than respect for the rights of
holding and acquiring private property. Representative government arose out of the claim of the owners
of property that they had a right to be consulted by the political authority, if their property were to be
taxed: this was the origin of popular representation throughout Europe, and the English House of
Commons is only the best example of the development of such rights. In America, the principal claim of
the Patriots, on the eve of the War of Independence, was that their property was taxed without
representation. In America, as in England, nearly everyone was agreed that men and women have
three fundamental rights: the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to property. These three
rights were understood to be coordinate and interdependent; for liberty, and even life, could not be
secure unless private property was secure. In the Declaration of Independence, the original draft of that
document proclaimed that mankind had been endowed naturally with the rights of life, liberty, and
property; the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” was substituted for “property” only in Jefferson’s
revision of the Declaration, and was meant to broaden, rather than to deny, the prescriptive rights of
property-holding.
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:53 pm

Chapter IX on Power begins:
Scarcely any political aphorism is more widely quoted today than Lord Acton’s observation that
“power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”; yet the barriers against concentration
of power—political power and economic power—are steadily reduced in our age, throughout almost all
the world, with little effectual protest. The conservative, intent upon preserving order and justice and
freedom, does what he can to remind the modern world of the truth of Acton’s statement, and to
retain those checks upon arbitrary power which distinguish a free society from a servile society.

The American War of Independence was the result of the colonists’ protest that Parliament was
usurping to itself powers anciently reserved to the several colonies. The Federalist Papers, which are the
chief American contribution to the literature of politics, are permeated with the conviction that power
must be hedged, limited, reserved, kept in balance. The Federal Constitution, in essence, is an
instrument for checking and balancing political power: the powers of federal and state governments,
the powers of political authority and of private citizens, the powers of executive and legislative and
judiciary. The practical understanding of the problem of power that was manifested by American
statesmen like John Adams and James Madison has left its mark upon our institutions to this day.

Power, politically speaking, is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows and
neighbors. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows
without check is a despotism, whether it is called “monarchical” or “aristocratic” or “democratic.” When
every person claims to be a power unto himself, then a society is in anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long,
being intolerable to everyone, and contrary to the inescapable fact that some persons are stronger and
cleverer than their neighbors. To anarchy there always succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is
monopolized by a very few. The conservative endeavors so to limit and balance political power that
anarchy or tyranny cannot arise. But men and women, in every age, are tempted to disregard the
limitations upon power for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the
radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the
name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restrictions upon power; but
power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s control; and, in France at the end of
the eighteenth century and in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century, the power which the
revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical
in the hands of the radical new masters of the state, who had stripped away what checks upon power
the French and Russian monarchies never had dared to tamper with.
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:58 pm

Education chapter begins:
For the reflecting conservative, the purpose of education is clear. That purpose is to develop the
mental and moral faculties of the individual person, for the person’s own sake. Now this process of
cultivating the mind and conscience of young people (here I speak of education in the sense of
“schooling,” though it is quite true that self-education ought to continue most of any man’s or woman’s
life) has certain lesser purposes and incidental benefits. One of these lesser aims is to instruct young
people in the beliefs and customs which make possible a decent civil social order. Another of these
lesser aims is the inculcation of certain skills and aptitudes which will help young people as they come
to man’s estate. Yet another is the development of habits of sociability—teaching boys and girls how to
take a normal part in society. And there are more purposes and benefits.

Yet the conservative does not forget that the essential aim, and the chief benefit, of formal education
is to make people intelligent and good. Schools cannot, wholly by themselves, make people intelligent
and good; natural inclinations or disinclinations, the family, and the community have a great deal to do
with whether young people are wise or foolish, good or bad. But schools can help in the process. And if
schools neglect this primary function in favor of vague schemes for “group play” or “personality
unfolding” or “learning by doing” or “adjustment to the group” or “acquiring approved social attitudes,”
then they have become bad schools.

The conservative always thinks first of the individual human person. What is bad for individuals
cannot be good for society. And if most individual men and women are reasonably good and
reasonably intelligent, the society in which they live cannot become a very bad one. Therefore—
especially in this time which Ortega y Gasset calls “the mass-age,” this time in which standardization
and various forms of collectivism threaten the whole concept of true individual personality—the
conservative never ceases to emphasize that the school exists primarily to help improve the
understanding and the moral worth of private persons.
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Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:05 pm

The last sample from chapter XI on Permanence and Change:
The liveliest definition of a conservative is Ambrose Bierce’s in his Devil’s Dictionary: “Conservative,
n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to
replace them with others.” The conservative, truly, represents the feeling of sympathy with the past, the
forces of permanence in society; the liberal, the feeling of glory in the future, the forces of change in
society. Since it is the liberal who desires radical alteration of the existing order, ordinarily the liberal is
more active than the conservative. It is the liberal, ordinarily, who writes polemical tracts and organizes
mass movements; the conservative, except when he is aroused by dread of radical change or alarmed by
the decay of his society, tends to rely upon the powerful and stable forces of custom and habit. It is this
tendency which gave John Stuart Mill an excuse for calling conservatives “the stupid party.” Thus, Lord
Silverbridge, in Trollope’s novel The Duke’s Children, tells his father the Duke of Omnium, by way of
apology for having joined the Conservative Party: “In comparison with a great many men, I know that I
am a fool. Perhaps it is because I know that, that I am a Conservative. The Radicals are always saying
that a Conservative must be a fool. Then a fool ought to be a Conservative.”

Yet when the reflecting conservative is roused to serious thought and action, often he can move with
a power startling to his radical or liberal adversaries. Cicero in the time of the dissolution of the Roman
Republic, Falkland in the English Civil Wars, Burke in the age of the French Revolution, and John
Adams in the early years of our Republic are examples of this power. And nowadays American
conservatives, roused to the dread threat of the totalist state, are writing and acting to some purpose.

There are stupid conservatives, just as there are stupid liberals and radicals; but conservatives really
are not the “stupid party.” It has been said that “conservatism is enjoyment.” The conservative believes
life, despite all its afflictions, to be good; and he believes our American society, despite all its defects, to
be sound at the core. Therefore, enjoying life and our old institutions, he does not share the radical’s
frantic desire to mould all things anew. He does not believe that ours is the worst of all possible worlds;
and he does not believe that there ever will be a perfect world, here below. Conservatives are the stupid
party only in the sense that radicals are the neurotic party: that is, if some conservatives are merely dull
and complacent, nevertheless some radicals are merely hysterical and malcontent.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Bodhicitta.

boda
Posts: 2105
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: Concise Guide to Conservatism

Post by boda » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:59 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:29 pm
Anyway, this whole progressive vs conservative thing is a complete fabrication.

Christianity was once considered progressive and revolutionary, now it is a force of conservatism.
You're saying that's how Christianity was/is considered, but it's a fabrication? Quite an enduring falsehood.

Force of conservatism?

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