Carl Bogus At The American Conservative: ‘Burke Not Buckley’

Full piece here.

Bogus advocates for a return to ‘communitarian’ conservatism.

‘Though it may surprise people who have been taught that Edmund Burke is the father of modern conservatism, the Burkeans were, in fact, defeated by a rival group with a nearly diametrically opposed view. The leader of that group was William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review. When, in 1952, Buckley first articulated his philosophy in God and Man at Yale, he called it “individualism,” though the nearly absolute laissez-faire philosophy he advocated became better known as libertarianism.’

Libertarians tend to join in common cause with conservatives in battling Enlightenment reason collectivism; those who pursue collectivist ideas in virtue. I take Obama to simply be a man of the Left, generally cut from collectivist cloth, constrained by American traditions, the limits of the office, a cautious temperment etc., but further Left than many Americans are accustomed to.

Here’s a quote from the comments:

‘What is government supposed to do? And what time we are dealing with? Clearly, a different size and type of government was needed in 1900 than was needed in 1941. Clearly, to think that government can do anything is absurd, but to suggest it should do nothing is equally silly.’

I think we’re hitting on something here.

Buckley had to adapt the party to the challenges of Communism, the Cold War, the excesses of 60’s radicalism and the rise of the New Left, Civil Rights legislation and Johnson’s Great Society.  He was simply yelling “Stop,” engaging with people who both agreed and disagreed constantly.  I don’t see him as a libertarian, so much as deep down a Catholic conservative fleshing out just what it meant to be a conservative.

Perhaps I’m wrong.

Here he is debating Gore Vidal:


Do we want the government to provide for the common defense?  To secure life, liberty, and property?  To provide a basic set of ground rules so that markets can operate?

Do we want government to be a party of well-connected mercantilists, big business/big government types?  Do we want it to arise out of networks of families, churches, civic clubs and to represent Jeffersonian individuals?

What about the changing demographics of America?

Here are some links on this site:

More liberal:

Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Peter Singer discusses Hegel and Marx

Martha Nussbaum wants to steer the moral thinking behind the laws away from religion, and was influenced by John Rawls:  From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.

Walter Russell Mead seems to be envisioning a reinvigorated liberalism 5.0, arguing that 60’s progressivism and 40-50’s conservatism (American politics more generally) are behind the times.   There’s been a fundamental shift that we must adjust to, and it involves technology and globalization for starters.

..A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

Getting into libertarianism and more anarchic tendencies:

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

Liberty towards Hayek, away from Hobbes and from top down reason.  Liberaltarianism? Repost-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’

Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism to Robert Nozick’s ‘night-watchman’ state:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On Kant:

Repost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader

Link From A Reader: ‘Richard Epstein Introduces Chicago’s Best Ideas To Students’

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

Getting More Towards Conservatism:

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest-’Hey, You’re Truly Unlimited: Didn’t You Know?’

The NY Times op-ed writer and a practicing Catholic? Douthat’s The Grand New PartyRoss Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’

From George Will on Stephen Colbert:  “What conservatives say is that we will protect you against idealism.” Originalism vs. The living constitution: George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government’.

Don’t get Borked, at least if you’re openly religious and aiming for higher office:  Bork had his own view of the 1960′s: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

From Becker And Posner: Posner On The Future Of Conservatism

Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?: From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

Some Quotations From Leo Strauss On Edmund Burke In ‘Natural Right And History’

2 thoughts on “Carl Bogus At The American Conservative: ‘Burke Not Buckley’

  1. “I don’t see him as a libertarian, so much as deep down a Catholic conservative fleshing out just what it meant to be a conservative.

    Perhaps I’m wrong.”

    I don’t think you are. While Bill Buckley started out being very libertarian it soon became very clear that all libertarian principles could be thrown overboard because of the “aggressiveness” of the Soviet Union and as a result Buckley threw his weight behind Big Government for the duration of the Cold War. We now know that Buckley, for the two years prior to establishing National Review, was a CIA agent in Mexico City. His sister Priscilla, who became managing editor of National Review, was also in the CIA and other editors, James Burnham and Willmoore Kendall had been recipients of CIA largesse in the anti-communist Congress for Cultural Freedom.

  2. Malcolm, thanks for sharing that. The Cold War is still very much with us, and there was that whole Whittaker Chambers espionage affair. Buckley had to battle and welcome converts.

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