What must conservatives in "the conservative movement" do to win in the future? This is the question with which many on the Right have been grappling since Barack Obama won his reelection.
First and foremost, they must recognize that they are not conservatives. Rather, they are neoconservatives.
The differences between conservatism and neoconservatism are fundamental.
Conservatives believe that, in reality, human rationality has none of the competence that utopian ideologues of one sort or another insist upon ascribing to it. As Edmund Burke said: “We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason,” for “this stock in each man is small.” Rather than fall back upon their own meager intellectual resources, individuals should turn toward tradition, the distilled wisdom of a thousand generations. They “would do better,” Burke said, “to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages.”
Because of the intractable limitations on individual reason and the all-importance of tradition to the cultivation of intellectual and moral virtue, conservatives hold that liberty requires a wide diffusion of authority and power. Translation: that government works best that works — and can only work — least.
Those who are truly conservative support a truly limited government.
The ideas of reason, morality, and government endorsed by neoconservatives, however, are diametrically the opposite of those affirmed by conservatives.
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