American conservatism is in the middle of identity crisis. That crisis is thus: conservatism’s traditional elements are failing, and the movement faces an uncertain future. It is time for conservatives to embrace a new approach to governance, and become “republicans” instead. The Present Collapse Historians typically connect conservatism to two philosophical backgrounds. On one hand, conservatism has long been identified with Edmund Burke and gradualism. On the other, historians have placed American conservatism with anti-communism and preserving individual liberty. However, these definitions of American conservatism are conceptually defective, and hinder the success of conservatives’ political ambitions. For example, if American conservatism is identified...Read More
Author: Zigmund Reichenbach
Edmund Burke’s conservatism — with Burke being the father of conservatism— prescribes not a set of general “principles”, but a political outlook which informs active members of society how to best govern and direct their lives. Why is this relevant to our contemporary discussions of political ideologies? Because Burkean conservatism substantially differs from modern conservatism. For instance Burkean conservatism is primarily concerned with the following ideas: Moderate reform “because knowledge is imperfect and consequences can be unintended”. Understanding the necessity of reform in “correct[ing] the inadequacies of ancient institutions in light of contemporary needs” Skepticism regarding the inherent goodness...Read More
Randy Barnett of the Federalist Society’s work in political theory — Restoring the Lost Constitution — details how the phrase “We the People” misleads well-intentioned citizens into thinking that the Constitution is legitimized by the assent of all or through the voluntary consent of the governed. As Professor Barnett points out, this conception of the Constitution and government creates another problem: it tricks well-intentioned citizens into believing that the United States is a democracy. Now let’s take a moment to digest these thoughts and their political implications. Let us do this by supposing that the term “democracy” is an...Read More
While conservatives enthusiastically cheer President Trump’s executive order which attempts to skate around Obamacare regulations, few conservatives are asking the major question: are such executive orders a violation of the constitutional limits placed on presidential power? On the one hand the answer may be no — the president is justified in using executive orders in the following capacities: as Commander-in-Chief as Head of State as Chief Law Enforcement Officer as Head of the Executive Branch However, although these roles might allow the president to issue the occasional executive order, historical evidence suggests that the current political trend of using...Read More
Conservatives love the idea of adhering to “true” political principles. They value principle so much so that they often suggest that a person lacking these principles is unfit for any office. But rigid principles aren’t always very helpful in politics. Politics often requires one to compromise with people from a variety backgrounds, and being a stubborn stiff rarely helps when you need to make a deal. Why then do so many conservatives claim to value political principles above sensible compromise? One reason is that, as Ben Shapiro says, “ [conservatives are] fan[s] of principles because without them, politics becomes meaningless.” The...Read More
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