Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Conservation of What?

Brad DeLong has some excellent comments on why conservatives are not reliable defenders of liberty. He doesn’t spend any time explaining why modern liberals are also lousy at defending liberty -- but hey, there are only 24 hours in a day. I especially liked his statement of the four pillars of conservatism:
Of course conservatism is not a reliable friend of human liberty. Conservatism is a combination of four currents: "change is bad," "things were better when my grandfather was a boy," "what our ancestors have handed down to use [sic] may be false, but we shouldn't inquire into it because it is useful," and "I've got mine, Jack, and the lower orders need to be more respectful." These are not the soil in which the tree of liberty grows.
DeLong also offers a reasonable explanation for why conservatives do strike the occasional blow for liberty: “to the extent that American conservatism is a friend to liberty, it is because it is American--not because it is conservative.” Dead on.

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