alien & sedition.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
  Conservatism and Community

Conservative blogger Daniel Larison considers another possible implication of Stanley Greenberg's data (upon which I commented below). Larison suggests that if Americans do, indeed, value community over individualism, this is "good news" for a certain kind of conservative:
In the battle between solidarity and dislocation, conservatives should naturally be on the side of the former, and it should be conservatives who benefit from the public’s interest in “strong community” and even, yes, “a sense of togetherness.” (For some reason, the latter sounds much less ridiculous when you call it solidarity.) Conservatism’s “failure” has been that conservatives have defined themselves or allowed themselves to be defined as individualists and advocates for the interests of the self. A conservatism of place and virtue has very little to do with these things. These numbers suggest that a conservatism that is both skeptical of government action and that also encourages the building up of community life and a politics of solidarity would fare very well. It would not be the slash-and-burn, “every man for himself” anti-government style of certain libertarians, nor would it be an endorsement of the effects of “creative destruction.” Settling people in a location, a place, not dislocating people through the constant flux of what some might call “cosmopolitan dynamism” and what we call social insanity, is the conservative way forward.
Larison has elaborated upon the relationship of individualism to conservatism elsewhere; while I'm not sure "cosmopolitan dynamism" is something that can be simplified enough to be opposed, his rough philosophical ideas are interesting, and most notably they seem to be much more along the lines of traditional European conservatism than the overbaked right-Whiggish classical liberalism that the American right has generally embraced.

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Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

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