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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

High church vs. low church conservatism

In one of the best essays of the year, Daniel McCarthy of The American Conservative magazine discusses the differences between high church conservatism, a la Edmund Burke, and the low church conservatism of modern United States. McCarthy states:

...[T]he philosophy [Burke] espoused, most famously in Reflections, was a high church conservatism to match his High Church Anglicanism. His understanding of the proper relationship between faith, culture, and politics was very different from that of the radical Protestants, whose anti-establishment views held revolutionary implications for the social order.

High church conservatism is the opposite of low church. It privileges works over faith, being more concerned with prudent policy than with the inner moral character of politicians or what they profess. It is deferential (sometimes to a fault) to hierarchy and suspicious (also sometimes to a fault) of popular movements and enthusiasm. It is leery of eschatological passions. And above all it works to avoid schism—the high church conservative’s objective is to preserve the fabric of society and, so far as possible, elevate its culture. This, he believes, can only be done within the mainstream of national life. For Coleridge and the 19th- century poet and literary critic Matthew Arnold, the function of an established church is less religious than cultural. As Coleridge writes, “Christianity, and a fortiori any particular scheme of Theology derived and supposed (by its partizans) to be deduced from Christianity, [is] no essential part of the Being of the National Church, however conducive or even indispensable it may be to its well-being…” Its being, or essence, is in the preservation of culture.


On the other hand,

Low church conservatism, more familiar, is readily described. It has five common characteristics. First, it values faith over works—what counts is the character of a politician and the intentions behind his actions, not the outcome of his policies. No man, of course, can read another’s soul, thus in practice the low church conservative places great value on professions of ideological purity. Sinning politicians like Newt Gingrich and David Vitter may be forgiven, so long as they say the right things. Disastrous policies—wars gone awry, for example—may be pardoned on account of righteous aims. Conversely, good works count for naught without profession of the right political faith.

Second, low church conservatism retains the anti-clericalism of its religious counterpart. This entails a pervasive anti-elitism. For the low church conservative, a popular broadcaster such as Rush Limbaugh possesses greater authority than a scholar such as Russell Kirk. The former derives his position from (or has it affirmed by) the congregation—his listeners. A Kirk, on the other hand, appears all too priestly. To be right requires no special learning, only acceptance of a basic creed.

A third trait is a tendency toward cultural separatism. The low church conservative prefers building parallel institutions to compromising with existing centers of authority. Sometimes this is commendable. More often, it is not. The proliferation of “conservative” movies, “conservative” dating services, “conservative” universities, and a “conservative” counter-counterculture—complete with “conservative” Che T-shirts—is emblematic. The low church conservative abhors the mainstream; the word itself is a pejorative.

Fourth is a belief that the eschaton is imminent (if not immanent). Every political battle is a clash of titanic principle, a skirmish in the final conflict between light and darkness. Every bellicose dwarf in command of a developing nation is a potential Antichrist, or the geostrategic equivalent, a Hitler. No Saddam or Chavez is merely a tin-pot dictator.

Fifth, and most important, right makes might. Moral truth is easily known, and nothing should stand in the way of its application in policy. The goal of politics is to enact what is right and true. When a Bush administration official told Ron Suskind, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” he was not being cynical. He was naïve: for how could righteous men possessed of great power fail to achieve whatever they set out to do? From this logic, it follows that abortion can be ended and the sexual revolution repealed, if only we elect enough Republicans.


Interestingly enough, I've been espousing high church conservative principles along with several others in the right-of-centre blogosphere. Are we the ones that will rediscover this type of conservatism?

High church conservatism remains to be rediscovered. It will not offer the Right an easy road to power, but then that is not what it is meant to do. More important than reclaiming Congress or the White House, or even “winning” on specific issues, is the task of restoring the constitution—not only the written Constitution but also the cultural framework that must undergird it. Without an institutional, national clerisy, high church conservatives are in the awkward position of having to anoint themselves for the task. But after 30 years of low church conservatism, some alternative must be found.


Well, someone has to do it!

As well, McCarthy links Michael Oakeshott with Burke, though through a different context as I did in The Common Ideas of Burke and Oakshott:

For the low church conservative, politics is teleocratic—a purpose-driven activity. In the language of British philosopher Michael Oakeshott (very much a high church type), the low church conservative views the state—and perhaps his church, too—as an “enterprise association.” The high church conservative, on the other hand, considers the state to be a “civil association,” whose enjoyment is its own reward.


And again, similar to my article on social innovation, McCarthy makes sure to state that high church conservatives like Burke, Oakeshott, and myself believe in an organic society by saying that "[t]here is a strong inclination among high church conservatives against interfering in the social order except to preserve its constitutional architectonics."

Will high church conservatism make a comeback in the right-of-centre world, or is it destined to sink with the other failed philosophies? Like always, I'm curious to know what you think!

[Cross-posted at The Right Coast]

Posted by Dane Richard on October 13, 2009 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink

Comments

lets hope so. But don't be such a coward with your terms. It is not high church vs. low church. It is reasoning individuals vs. a group of religious nut-jobs who believe that the world is only 6000 years old, that Adam and Eve's children rode dragons (dinosaurs) to school, and that a primitive magic book should guide current policy. We allowed these nuts in just because we convinced them to vote our way so its our own fault.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-13 10:38:21 PM


What a coincidence that this "low church conservatism" corresponds so well with the commonly perceived traits of the Bush administration and several recent prominent Republicans (who were actually fingered by name). Seriously, it's hard to see how their motives could have been any more transparent. The astonishing thing is they apparently figured no one would notice.

Also, several of the attributes assigned to "low church conservatism," specifically considering your political opponents to be the "Dark Side" and cultural separation such as separate dating services, are at least as well-known among Democrats (I remember the 2004-era ads). Ditto for policies with good intentions gone awry, such as the environment, affirmative action, the sexual harassment witch hunt, the date rate pseudocrisis, the domestic violence pseudocrisis, gun control, and so on.

An unconvincing case poorly made, and more to the point, a clumsy, ham-fisted wedge meant to separate "us" from "them"—the very sort of behaviour it claims to denounce.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-14 6:43:51 AM


Aren't the high church conservatives the same guys in Britain and Canada who sat by and let the left force their policies on an unwilling public? You know the left that did away with the death penalty in both countries despite a strong majority of the public being opposed! How about the left that legalized abortion far more expansively than the public of both countries wanted? Or the left that took away the weapons of law abiding citizens? Or the Canadian left that has drove up the cost of government with bilingualism?
At least the American right sometimes listens to the people. Death Penalty has strong majority support in America and is legal. Conservatives in Britain and Canada fail to adhere to the public's will on this issue. The same problem applies to gun ownership. In 31 states, English is the official and only official language of government(reduces cost of reprinting forms in other languages) because 83% of Americans support it. Several states have dropped affirmative action programs(include California, Texas, Michigan, etc.) becauseof referendums pushed by conservatives. Welfare reform was supported by most voters and pushed by conservatives. The same with charter schools. The point is when have the conservatives of Canada or Britain seriously pushed the agenda of the silent majority when it ran counter to the wishes of the Liberals or Britain's Labour Party. These high church conservatives have constantly given in to the agenda of the left. I thought that the the Reform Party would change this. However, the idiots of Atlantic Canada and Ontario(Quebec hopeless)refused to support a western based party even though Reform policies would have revitalized their economies(flat tax anyone). Instead, they wanted to park their votes with either the PC's(liberal-lite) and the phony liberals.

Posted by: andrew | 2009-10-14 2:19:46 PM


So high church types in Canada gave in on these issues? Lets see...
“Several states have dropped affirmative action programs(include California, Texas, Michigan, etc.) because of referendums pushed by conservatives.”
Canada does not have an affirmative action program and never has.
“Welfare reform was supported by most voters and pushed by conservatives.”
Canada does not have, nor did it ever have, a national welfare program.
“The same with charter schools.”
In most provinces there is a voucher program. This does not affect federal education funding (not that there is much)

Also of note: Gun control is very popular in both Britain and Canada. To the extent that there are public concerns it is generally that it is not strict enough.
The death penalty has roughly 50% support in Canada. It goes below this when there is a high profile wrongful conviction that comes to light, and then rises to about 55%. But it is never outside of the 45-55 range.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-14 3:47:10 PM


If religious people from all faiths spent half as much time actually helping people rather than "praying" and "worshiping" then this world would be a better place.

In this sense, religion is a most selfish preoccupation. Hope really hard that there is a god to save your soul in the next life rather than doing something unselfish in this one.

Posted by: snowgirl | 2009-10-14 5:22:08 PM


What about the Canadian police and military? I have read that government bureaucrats have imposed quotas of 25% female on both our police forces and the military. This quota is to take precedence over candidate quality. In addition, I have heard that the RCMP has different testing standards for candidates depending on their sex, race, and language. Anglo white male candidates are expected to score at a certain level to pass while various lower passing scores are allowed for women, francophone, and nonwhite.
In Canada, welfare reform has been pretty limited at the provincial level. Outside of former provincial leaders like Mike Harris (Ontario) and Ralph Klein(Alberta), two men who were vilified for making slight adjustments to our extensive social programs, where has serious welfare reform occurred in Canada? In addition, polls(including Angus Reid ) have shown that over the last 15 years that Canadians have increasingly turned against many gun control measures. Support of a handgun ban for private citizens has fallen from around 80% in the 1970's to around 45% now. Also, the most recent polls show that most Canadians have turned against the gun registry.

Posted by: andrew | 2009-10-14 7:12:12 PM


andrew, sadly you heard right. They end up watering down the requirements, the physical ones in particular, in order to get their quota of females. They also water down basic requirements in order to make their quotas for other "target groups". Oh dear, I forgot they do not like it being called a quota but refer to it as a target.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-10-14 7:28:57 PM


Andrew please show me where I can find these numbers. That is a very significant shift from the last time I saw and am very sceptical of their accuracy. Are all of those meaningless online polls or just Angus Reid?
A 25%, or even a 50% percent quota for government jobs is not indicative of affirmative action in any way. Affirmative action is a mandate on private sector employers to hire a certain percentage of different races, genders, etc. What you are talking about is hiring standards within that department, not a mandate on private businesses.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-14 7:37:10 PM


Canada does not have an affirmative action program and never has.

It has not had affirmative-action legislation, that I am aware. But that didn't stop many Crown corporations and agencies from implementing their own programs.

Canada does not have, nor did it ever have, a national welfare program.

Again, you're splitting hairs. Welfare is considered a provincial responsibility, as is health care. But the federal government provides funding for it.

Also of note: Gun control is very popular in both Britain and Canada. To the extent that there are public concerns it is generally that it is not strict enough.

No. It is popular in Toronto, Montréal, and London. It is greatly despised outside those urban centres for the expensive failure it is. And the irony that gun crime is much more common in large cities, where the rate of gun ownership is lower and not higher, seems completely lost on them.

The death penalty has roughly 50% support in Canada. It goes below this when there is a high profile wrongful conviction that comes to light, and then rises to about 55%. But it is never outside of the 45-55 range.

Okay, how much would be enough to make it valid? And here's a better question: What's to be said against it? Properly implemented, it's fast, cheap, efficient, eliminates prison overcrowding, and offers a zero-percent recidivism rate.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-14 8:01:11 PM


Andrew please show me where I can find these numbers. That is a very significant shift from the last time I saw and am very sceptical of their accuracy.

Do you not recall the controversy a few years ago, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the physical requirements of the forestry firefighting service were discriminatory, on the grounds that they tended to exclude females? Of course, an oxygen tank and a fire hose weigh the same no matter who is carrying them. And that more men than women will meet any strength requirement is a scientific fact. But did that sway the High Court, nearly half of whom were females? No, of course not. That damned gravity...so sexist.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-14 8:04:28 PM


A 25%, or even a 50% percent quota for government jobs is not indicative of affirmative action in any way.

Uh...yes, it is, actually. A quota of any sort, for the purpose of boosting the presence of a "disadvantaged" group, is the definition of affirmative action. It need not be imposed on private organizations. You are splitting hairs over implementation policies, not basic premise.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-14 8:06:47 PM


If religious people from all faiths spent half as much time actually helping people rather than "praying" and "worshiping" then this world would be a better place.

Excuse me, Catholics have been running orphanages, hospitals, schools, and shelters for 2,000 years. For most of post-Antiquity history they were the only reliable source of such charity. And alms-giving is a very important part of Islamic life. Of course, if you actually belonged to a religion instead of just reading humanist myth, you'd know these things.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-14 8:08:48 PM


Roman Catholic Church

pedophiles
child rape
child porn
forced confiscation of Indian kids on reserve schools
discrimination against women
ridiculous opinions on gays, birth control, abortion etc.

And it never seems to end.

I could go on. They have a legacy that is a black mark on humanity.

I belonged to churches as a little girl and found them patronizing, impractical, not believable and ultimately ridiculous.


Posted by: snowgirl | 2009-10-14 10:14:20 PM


No. It is popular in Toronto, Montréal, and London. It is greatly despised outside those urban centres for the expensive failure it is."
True, but the fact remains that those large urban centers in Canada account for the majority of the population and as a result any national measure shows clearly that gun control is popular.
"Okay, how much [public support] would be enough to make [the death penalty valid?" I never claimed that this support makes it valid. What Andrew had said was: "Death Penalty has strong majority support in America and is legal. Conservatives in Britain and Canada fail to adhere to the public's will on this issue." Surely you recognize the obvious logical fallacy in this statement. The same was true with the gun control section. It is a difficult thesis to prove that government is defying public will by doing what the public wants (in the case of gun control) or is about 50/50 on (death penalty.
" And here's a better question: What's to be said against it?" Wrongful convictions. If a system can ever be designed that can assure we never execute an innocent person then you would not find a stronger proponent than I. Not just for murder either. All homicides excluding involuntary manslaughter, as well as all aggravated sex crimes and all large theft. Unfortunately if we brought in the death penalty to the current system which so heavily favours the prosecution we could be assured that innocent people would be put to death by the state.
(I said)
Andrew please show me where I can find these numbers. That is a very significant shift from the last time I saw and am very sceptical of their accuracy.
(Shane's reply)
"Do you not recall the controversy a few years ago, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the physical requirements of the forestry firefighting service were discriminatory..."
Either I was unclear or you didn't read carefully enough. The numbers I was referring to were the swings in public opinion he claimed have occurred recently. I am sceptical because the only source he supplied for his info is Angus Reid, a polling firm that sold all of their legitimate business and now operates only online polls, which are obviously laughable.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-14 10:35:12 PM


True, but the fact remains that those large urban centers in Canada account for the majority of the population and as a result any national measure shows clearly that gun control is popular.

Well, no, they don't. Canada has 31 million people and those two cities have, at most, 4 million each. But they are more influential than their rural cousins and certainly more vocal.

Surely you recognize the obvious logical fallacy in this statement.

Actually, Andrew's appeal to popularity is itself the logical fallacy. You yourself admit that a majority of Canadians support the death penalty, even if the margin is narrower than it is in America. Furthermore, the advent of DNA testing and consequent reduction in wrongful convictions removes a powerful argument against the death penalty; it strengthens not weakens the case for it moving forward.

Wrongful convictions. If a system can ever be designed that can assure we never execute an innocent person then you would not find a stronger proponent than I. Not just for murder either. All homicides excluding involuntary manslaughter, as well as all aggravated sex crimes and all large theft. Unfortunately if we brought in the death penalty to the current system which so heavily favours the prosecution we could be assured that innocent people would be put to death by the state.

"So heavily favours the prosecution?" Don't make me laugh. The system is set up so the prosecution has to move all of Heaven and half of Hell to even convict a man, let alone get a stiff sentence for him. Murder is routinely plead down to manslaughter. Double credit for time served, mandatory release after two-thirds sentence, eligibility for day parole after about one-third. De facto free pass if you're a woman or an Indian. Wussy judges and milksop Crown attorneys with the fire and guts of leghorn pullets.

Furthermore, what about the victims you'll prevent altogether if you execute murderers the first time, instead of letting them out after two years of watching Pay-per-View in Club Fed? Is it worse to wrongfully execute a man, or to wrongfully release him and have him kill again? More to the point, which will be more common? How many murdered innocents' lives does it take to equal the life of one wrongfully executed suspect? Especially in view of the fact that wrongful conviction of people who are not already criminals is EXTREMELY rare?

Either I was unclear or you didn't read carefully enough. The numbers I was referring to were the swings in public opinion he claimed have occurred recently.

My mistake. I presumed you were talking about the practice of watering down physical requirements to allow more women in. Still, the point stands. And since the federal government is the largest employer in this country, and public spending drives about half our economy, it's hardly an insubstantial policy.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-14 10:51:24 PM


"Well, no, they don't. Canada has 31 million people and those two cities have, at most, 4 million each."
I actually meant all the major cities not just the two you mentioned. Besides your numbers are a little off. Toronto does only have 4.7 million, but the Golden Horseshoe region has 8.1 million. The largest three cities alone account for slightly more than 40% of the population.
"Actually, Andrew's appeal to popularity is itself the logical fallacy."
Agreed.
"Don't make me laugh. The system is set up so the prosecution has to move all of Heaven and half of Hell to even convict a man" Well no it isn't. Conviction rates in this country are very high. The prosecution has a limitless resources relative to the accused, often aided by police seizing assets that could be used to assist in defence. Also the prosecution benefits from the publics preception of police and their competance. When a juror sees someone come into the court they presuppose that the person is guilty for no other reason that the police have arrested him. Innocent until proven guilty only exists in classroom. But the biggest leg up the prosecution has, and it is so important as to dwarf all others, is the ability of the prosecution to coerce witnesses. It is illegal for a defence attorney to offer even a dollar to a witness. Yet routinely "witnesss" are given time off of sentences or not prosecuted at all in exchange for their testimony. Which is a larger bribe; money or freedom?
"Furthermore, what about the victims you'll prevent altogether if you execute murderers the first time, instead of letting them out after two years of watching Pay-per-View in Club Fed? Is it worse to wrongfully execute a man, or to wrongfully release him and have him kill again? More to the point, which will be more common?"
If brought in it would be only for first degree murder. The current penalty for that crime is 25 years with no possibility of parole with no double time (murder whether 1 or 2 doesn't grant double time). So it would be unlikely to ever save a single life.
"I presumed you were talking about the practice of watering down physical requirements to allow more women in. Still, the point stands. And since the federal government is the largest employer in this country, and public spending drives about half our economy, it's hardly an insubstantial policy." Yes it is an important policy. But that doesn't make it affermative action. It certainly is a similar program, but having it apply only to the federal workforce instead of the economy as a whole is a very big difference.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-15 12:47:57 AM


Well no it isn't. Conviction rates in this country are very high.

Conviction rates overall are 60%, 50% for violent offences, 40% for sex crimes. That isn't very high, especially when you consider the great unlikelihood that one in every two people put on trial is actually innocent.

The prosecution has a limitless resources relative to the accused, often aided by police seizing assets that could be used to assist in defence...

These are all only theoretical advantages. It still adds up to barely a 50-50 success rate, because the Crown still has to prove its case, while the accused is required to prove nothing. And do I detect a whiff of hostility towards the system?

If brought in it would be only for first degree murder. The current penalty for that crime is 25 years with no possibility of parole with no double time (murder whether 1 or 2 doesn't grant double time). So it would be unlikely to ever save a single life.

Unless the inmate escapes or the sentence is commuted, which is by no means a rare event. Also, as this link shows, repeat murders are not unheard of. Certainly they are more common than wrongful executions. And murderers in prison can still murder guards or other inmates.

Yes it is an important policy. But that doesn't make it affermative action. It certainly is a similar program, but having it apply only to the federal workforce instead of the economy as a whole is a very big difference.

From a liberty standpoint, yes. From a practical standpoint, only somewhat. As I said, they are the largest employer in the country. Furthermore, there is a tendency to impose the same requirements on any organization, down to an including the Boy Scouts, that receive any sort of federal assistance or funding, which casts the net even wider.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-15 7:33:24 AM


"the Crown still has to prove its case, while the accused is required to prove nothing."
No the crown does not have to prove its case. As soon as an accusation is made by someone the public perceives to have authority, such as police officer or crown attorney, the burden shifts to the defence. This is evident by your own statement when you said "especially when you consider the great unlikelihood that one in every two people put on trial is actually innocent."
"And do I detect a whiff of hostility towards the system?"
Don't confuse profound disrespect with hostility.
"Unless the inmate escapes or the sentence is commuted, which is by no means a rare event."
Well yes both of those are very rare. When was the last time someone was murdered in Canada by an escaped murderer?
"Also, as this link shows, repeat murders are not unheard of. Certainly they are more common than wrongful executions."
Of course repeat murders are more common that wrongful executions as we do not execute people. In the last decade there have been at least 5 people released from jail after being convicted of first degree murder. How may people have been killed by those who were freed after being convicted for that same crime during that same time period? Has it ever happened? I noticed in your link that not one of those examples is Canadian, and in one case the re-offender was 13 for his first offence, hardly an execution candidate.
"And murderers in prison can still murder guards or other inmates."
You of all people aren't suddenly concerned with the safety of convicted criminals.
I notice that you failed to address the largest advantage the prosecution has; their ability to coerce "witnesses". I guess even someone as statist as you must recognize some reasonable limitations on what the crown should be allowed to do.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-15 10:20:16 AM


It is not a case of High Church vs. Low Church, it's a case of religion vs. religious institutions. Religions, whatever the religion is, are all equal. All religions are equal and are based on myths, and yes including the bible. Compare the Creation in Genisis to the creations in Hessiod's Theogony, Lucretius' De Rerum Natura and Ovid's Metamorphoses. Science explains the same phenomena by the Big Bang theory and Evolution. In fact, the Big Bang theory published in 1929 by Edwin Haley was actually first proposed by Catholic monk Georges Lamaitre in 1927.

Religious Institutions such as the Pope, The Arch-bishop of Cantebury, the supreme Ayatola of Iran, make decisions for their religions both positive and negative. The leader of these institutions make the decision if their followers live in the 14th century or the 21st century. They make the decisions how to accept the actions of their priests or leaders of faith. They are the ones who start the holy wars by saying "my god is better than your god."

Geneticist have discovered a "god gene" the explains why humans need religion to explain the unexplainable. So religions, including science, are equal as they explain the unexplainable. Religious institutions can be positive or negative depending on their leaders.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-10-15 10:25:28 AM


Why are people talking about gun control and religion?

My post has absolutely nothing to do with either subject; it was distinguishing two forms of conservatism that happened to have the word "church" in the name.

Not that I don't welcome debate, it's great to see. Just making sure people are aware what the point of the post was...

Posted by: Dane Richard | 2009-10-15 10:35:24 AM


Well in a way Dane my original response to Andrew is not unrelated to your article. He brought up a series of issues where the government was "fail[ing] to adhere to the public's will on this issue".
The fact that he believes that this is the public will is the result of the self segregation that low-church types engage in. They have no idea what the general public actually wants because they do not associate with anyone who doesn't think the same way they do.
But I agree these things do tend to get off topic. Your question was; "Will high church conservatism make a comeback in the right-of-centre world, or is it destined to sink with the other failed philosophies?"
Unfortunately it is unlikely to make a comeback. The so-cons took over because they are a mindless army who will vote the way their emperors tell them to, and believe that showing up to do so makes it more likely that they will get to spend the rest of time with adult-Santa in eternal Disneyworld. It is a matter of incentive and I don‘t see that changing anytime soon.

Posted by: DrLiberty | 2009-10-15 10:51:38 AM


Andrew appears to understand the term "high church conservatism" as meaning something like Big C Progressive Conservatism or "Red Toryism". I very much doubt that is what Daniel McCarthy, who, after all, titled his blog "The Tory Anarchist", had in mind. I remember a previous article of McCarthy's (published at LewRockwell's site if I am not mistaken) in which he told conservatives that if they found "libertarianism" to be too associated with pot-smoking and hippyism they should still be anarchists, i.e., anti-statists, on the grounds that the modern state itself was largely responsible for so much of the breakdown of social cohesion and authority that conservatives object to. It would seem that McCarthy sees no essential contradiction between the reverence for prescribed authority, societal custom and prudential policy that is at the heart of the "high church conservatism" found in classical conserative writers from Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke to Michael Oakeshott and the Rothbardian defense of maximum individual liberty. I think a good case can be made that there have always been High Tories in the British/Canadian tradition that were also strong libertarians, and that Red Toryism, which tried to blend Tory philosophy with Trudeau-era, statist, radicalism and social progressivism, was in fact in invented aberration (even if, unfortunately, it seems to dominate the Conservative parties in both countries at present).

Posted by: Gerry T. Neal | 2009-10-15 6:48:05 PM


The church is an inconsequential social organization today. The whole debate is about as important today as is what kind of crockery should be used for the Quilting Club bake sale.

Posted by: snowgirl | 2009-10-16 10:55:18 PM



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