‘But there is a flaw in the vision the Republicans offered in Tampa. It is contained in its rampant hyperindividualism. Speaker after speaker celebrated the solitary and heroic individual. There was almost no talk of community and compassionate conservatism. There was certainly no conservatism as Edmund Burke understood it, in which individuals are embedded in webs of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions’
Well, there’s the matter of battling against the current administration and its constituencies which generally seek to vastly increase the size and scope of government, bending the social contract toward collectivist ideals as well as their own interests. Political favoritism, expanding bureaucratic control, and cronyism will naturally come with the territory.
A Burkean return to conservatism would be nice, but the rise of libertarianism in the U.S. usually coincides with the rise of particularly liberal administrations out of necessity. Most of this administration’s defenders wish to define individuals as free from those customs, traditions, habits that are religious, or even practically conservative.
I do recall Ross Douthat floating the idea of getting back to basics for conservatives, away from individualism and the libertarians, which was likely preparation for the upcoming election (E.J. Dionne also suggested a return to community, but mostly to protect the current administration and “community” of the secular and Statist variety).
Libertarians and liberals share a broad swath of the same turf of liberty as a guiding ideal, and both mostly wish to drive change toward themselves and their ideals as seems natural to the human condition. Libertarians, in my experience, think of themselves as the true classical liberals. They see current liberals having gone down the path of excessive individualism and collectivism (liberals believing that institutions will guide and perfect the individual and they will run the institutions, thus increasing liberty….and for which they always promise more equality…at some point in the not too distant future).
Brooks finishes with:
‘Today’s Republican Party may be able to perform useful tasks with its current hyperindividualistic mentality. But its commercial soul is too narrow. It won’t be a worthy governing party until it treads the course Lincoln trod: starting with individual ambition but ascending to a larger vision and creating a national environment that arouses ambition and nurtures success.’
Fair enough, but for whom is David Brooks writing?
*** Food for thought: A girl from Kansas makes her way to Seattle, then Hawaii, then Indonesia, on a trajectory away from the customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions for various ideological and personal reasons. The Republican ticket promises to restore a government that works for the customs, traditions, habits from which she was likely running.
Related On This Site: Does all that sociological analysis naturally lead towards a more liberal political philosophy?: Will Wilkinson At Forbes: ‘The Social Animal by David Brooks: A Scornful Review’…Charlie Rose has a full interview with Brooks and his new book…David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’…From Darwinian Conservatism By Larry Arnhart: “Surfing Strauss’s Third Wave of Modernity
William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New Party…Ross Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’
Yes, Edmund Burke opposed the French Revolution: Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution..
Still reliving the 60’s?: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”
The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal: Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”