Sunday, December 5, 2010

The European type of conservatism being alien to the American tradition...

Hayek on Conservatism:

Conservatism proper is a legitimate, probably necessary, and certainly widespread attitude of opposition to drastic change. It has, since the French Revolution, for a century and a half played an important role in European politics. Until the rise of socialism its opposite was liberalism. There is nothing corresponding to this conflict in the history of the United States, because what in Europe was called "liberalism" was here the common tradition on which the American polity had been built: thus the defender of the American tradition was a liberal in the European sense. This already existing confusion was made worse by the recent attempt to transplant to America the European type of conservatism, which, being alien to the American tradition, has acquired a somewhat odd character.

It is significant that Hayek understood what many Americans do not: that conservatism is alien to America. That the Founders were not conservatives. That the republican ideology on which America was founded is not conservative. That the ongoing improvisation that is the American Experiment is not, nor has it ever been, conservative. We are in a significant transition period right now. In order for us to innovate the next iteration of the American Experiment it is necessary that we strip out the conservative and New Left ideologies from our thinking. We need to see clearly with fresh eyes and we can't do that as long we remain attached to these ideologies.

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