Hong Wu wrote:Early conservatism was about conserving traditions
Drlee wrote:Simply put I believe that a REAL conservative attempts to conserve the broad principles on which our country was founded and improved through the amendment process. I believe that were Jefferson or Madison alive today they would be disgusted in the size of government and its intrusiveness into our daily lives. I believe their first comment might be, "where the hell are the states?.
Potemkin wrote:In my opinion, these problems are all derived from the central contradiction of American conservatism - it is trying to conserve a revolution. Revolutions, by their nature, cannot be conserved; any attempt to do so ultimately leads nowhere except historical LARPing - endlessly recapitulating the issues and struggles of one particular arbitrary historical epoch. For example, states rights meant something back in the late 18th century, whereas nowadays states rights have no real meaning or substance. The states are no longer sovereign and no longer have any meaningful militias. Yet people still keep talking about "states rights" as though it fucking matters in the modern world.
These three responses encapsulate the three perspectives that in some ways need to be simultaneously addressed in my opinion. Hong Wu represents the Far-Right, the julius evola esque reaction against the modern world and traditionalism, Dr. Lee represents a robust Americanism, a believer in the Constitution, and Potemkin is a Stalinist.
Hong Wu is right to point out that the essence of "conservatism" and the "right" is traditionalism, the right like the left is more or less theoretically ambivalent towards the state in theory, but generally supports the need of such to achieve its ends.
natural heirarchy, the family, ethno-nationalism, etc, etc., are something to be preserved for group-identity and there is something morally repugnant to the extinction of such in exchange for leftist egalitarian social programs or capitalist consumerism and strip malls.
Dr. Lee takes conservativism as preserving the american revolution's end goals of establishing a constitutional federal republic designed to protect the rights given to man from God, and while he acknowledges that this move was essentially liberal (classic liberalism), its achievements in many ways are regarded by him, and many Americans, as the pinnacle of enlightened political thought and therefore progress beyond this must be mitigated in regards to their core accomplishments. This is not the conservatism of Hong Wu, but it is definitely a belief that classical liberalism embodies the end of political history in a real theoretical sense. I have no doubt, as Dr. Lee expressed, that the founding fathers would have this view of their own thought and would likely express themselves as Dr. Lee predicted.
Potemkin has rightly criticized the paradox of American conservatism as a movement of attempting to conserve a revolution, but America is young and its identity is not in a historic ethno-religious cultural tradition that is 1,000 years old, its in a document penned in the late 18th century. Only recently has America begun to develop a real identitarian strain of any seriousness, thanks to Trump.
This is a great article on this BTW:
The fundamental flaw in this conversation is the understanding of the conflict between whiggery (liberalism) and conservatism (toryism). One that was rather profound in the 18th century, but in reality is not so great.
The reason someone like Potemkin will see the Far-Right and traditionalists as reactionary, and rightfully so, is because they always attempt to co-op the means of the state to reassert those values and turn-back-the-clock against the progress demanded by the dialectic of history. Fascism for Potemkin is as futile as it is misplaced. In some ways, Hong Wu might even agree with this in his pessimism, but Traditionalists always see the fights as worth the blood even if failure is inevitable.
Dr. Lee likely doesn't give a hoot about traditionalism v, progressivism as regards personal values so long as liberty and equal justice under the law are afforded as constitutionally defined. Dr. Lee sees government as the problem in some ways (to a point) and as long as it stays out of the way to some degree people can live traditionally or progressively and its no matter which they choose so long as they are permitted to make the choice. My response to all of these perspectives is simple:
Unlike the Far-Right, I do not think traditional or natural values can ever be truly restored by the state. Caesar's attempt to reinstitute traditional values in Rome may have been admirable, but it was ultimately futile. It was reactionary, just as Hitler and Mussolini's attempts.
Likewise, contra Potemkin and even Dr. Lee, I do not regard whiggery, even as manifested in the American revolution as ipso facto
liberal. Indeed, this notion is misplaced as it fails to take into account the conditions by which traditionalism and the natural order is best preserved.
Nothing could be more accommodating
to the end-goals of a toryism or traditionalism than whiggery in its most extreme form.
Indeed, the greatest error of the American founders was forming a Republic at all.
Yes, I am going to speak of Anarcho-Capitalism, but let me say this.
I left the Alt. Right, a reactionary movement, not merely because I became a sort of libertarian, but because I realized that traditionalism cannot be "conserved" by the state, it must be propogated by people who will praxeologically and rationally gravitate to those values in a state of nature.
The state creates the problem of decadence and all social contracts will eventually lead to Marxism, including America's social contract. Its inevitable given human nature, and any attempt to co-opt the state to restore natural values is appropriately called reactionary by the communists. Its an attempt to take the means of progressivism (the state) and force it to go against progressivism. That would be like showing your hatred of an automobile by changing its driver. The problem is not who runs government and what their motives are, its the government itself.
Thus, the idea of life, liberty, and property is not liberalism
(as opposed to conservatism) as many have supposed.
This is because those ideals (shared between American classical liberals and AnCaps alike) are indeed the very conditions of traditionalism and natural order (Far-Right values) itself. In a state of nature, all those things fascists and nationalists long for assert themselves out of necessity and a true rational desire. That this is superior to being forced into such roles by a dictator should be obvious. This difference is a great as eating an actual banana and an artificially flavored banana candy. Fascism artificially institutes and mimics what nature does better and voluntarily.
Perhaps that strain of classical liberalism that arose in France (liberty, equality, and fraternity) could better be described as true liberalism tending towards the inevitable, but the American conception stemming from the English natural law tradition cannot help but be conservative if followed consistently to its ends.
The problem is, it never has since times long past in Christendom.
Perhaps that may change some day, but as it stands, all social contracts will lead to Leftism eventually and all attempts to co-opt these regimes to artificially reinstate traditional values will be reactions that can only fail.
Conservatism's real enemy is not progressivism, but the statism upon which it relies.
Life, Liberty, and Property is the natural soil in which conservatism grows.
The state is a pestilence upon mankind.