Thursday, May 8, 2014

On Conservatism

Andrew Sullivan contemplates modern conservatism on The Daily Dish. Sorry to quote him repeatedly but he is cranking out some of the best political commentary on the 'Net.

Conservatism at its best is an imaginative attempt to balance stability and change in a manner which makes a society more coherent, more itself. When change happens swiftly, that balance is all the more necessary but also more difficult. At some point, mass immigration or a multi-cultural society or a gay-integrated world becomes the status quo to which conservatives will become attached. But in the meantime, they are pinioned emotionally between past and future and have not found leaders in either the US or the UK that have risen to the occasion of bridging the two. Fear and anger have thereby increasingly defined the new conservative center. And it’s currently a lose-lose proposition.

In part because I’m an immigrant and gay and live in a historically black city which is increasingly integrated (D.C.), my own conservatism is of the much more moderate kind. Perhaps because I am not so threatened by racial and cultural change, I saw Obama as a quintessentially small-c conservative, a living blend of black and white, a realist abroad, a pragmatist at home, an integrator rather than a polarizer. I was an outlier, we now know. But at some point, that more moderate conservatism – one that actively celebrates a multi-cultural society as a traditional American value – will win. The question is simply how tortuous the path to that future will be. Which is why we are searching the landscape for a future Republican leader who gets this (and keep bumping into versions of Ted Cruz) and searching for a British Conservative who can do the same (and sussing out Boris).

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