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A Timely Statement

June 15, 2022

The Edmund Burke Foundation, an organization funded by a foreign government, has issued a definition or statement about “Conservatism” that has value in contrast with the “Progressive” domination of American culture, religion, society and politics.

When something of that sort is formulated one may ask if what they affirm is not merely socially ineffective but is–perhaps—dead.

Is this something called here “Conservatism” an “ism, and, if not, to what category of intellect does it “belong”? Is it an “ideology”? Or is it a philosophy of government or, perhaps, just a political theory? According to the signatories of this statement whatever “Conservatism” is “Conservatism” belongs to “nations” and their national identity.

That subject was raised in the Summer 2007, Volume 49, issue of Modern Age in which I contributed an essay based on Robert Nisbet’s The Quest for Community.

 I argued that there is no universal “Conservatism” because what we call “Conservative” is an attitude, not an Ideology. My 2005 study which I called The Conservative Rebellion[1] examines why we should recognize that what we conservatives affirm is a common attitude of “rebellion” that shaped us from 1776 to the present day.

Still why this statement and why now?

Half a century ago three influential persons gave intellectual expression to ideas that we call “Conservative.” Journalist William F. Buckley, Jr., historian of ideas Russell Kirk and economist F. A. Hayek.

These three countered the growth of government and law that has shaped the administrative state in our day. That growth in government, they demonstrated, is intellectually deficient and threatens the freedom of American citizens.

Whether today there is sufficient strength of “conservative” ideas and will to preserve American freedoms is the great challenge of what the Edmund Burke Foundation calls “Conservatism.”


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