Conservatism’s Primary Duty

There is a huge failure of imagination on the right. And a failure of self-awareness.  It may also be that I don’t see conservatism’s primary duty as guarding the purity of certain 19th century liberal principles on economics. I see its task as reconciling and harmonizing the diverse energies and interests of a society for the common good.

Michael Brendan Dougherty

Source: A Hard Case, For Trump | The American Conservative

Dougherty, who contends that Donald Trump qua politico-ideological revolutionary is already disintegrating, makes a point that is particularly timely for me, given my ongoing efforts to frame a modern American political taxonomy (you know, when I’m not working, being a husband, a dad, a scout leader, promoting my book, or trying to shake off a persistent respiratory infection. In short, it’s coming, but not today.)

First, in saying this Dougherty taps into something elemental: what does it mean to be a conservative? And, thank G-d he’s doing it. We ALL should. What does it mean to be all of these things.

I don’t know if conservatism can claim a monopoly on “reconciling and harmonizing the diverse energies and interests of a society for the common good.” I’d wager every single candidate for the presidency would say that this is exactly what they are doing. But I would argue that it is better to claim that ground than claim as your ethos a commitment to placing orthodox economic globalism over the well-being of the nation.

As a starting point: conservatism’s primary duty should be reconciling and harmonizing the diverse energies and interests of American society for the common good, and doing so through thoughtful and measured progress.

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