David Brooks’ history of hi-fi wack-headedness undoubtedly diminishes the value of this column somewhat, but taken on its own, and pretending it’s not David Brooks who surely could have bothered seeing what was happening years ago instead of jumping on the bandwagon now that everybody else hates Bush, it’s good stuff. Oh, and I’m not sure he could have written the column without Andrew Sullivan previously laying out many of the arguments, but enough of the caveats. Brooks offers a good concise summary of every way in which the modern GOP’s version of conservatism has completely deviated from classic Burkean intellectual conservatism.
Modern conservatism begins with Edmund Burke. What Burke articulated was not an ideology or a creed, but a disposition, a reverence for tradition, a suspicion of radical change.
When conservatism came to America, it became creedal. Free market conservatives built a creed around freedom and capitalism. Religious conservatives built a creed around their conception of a transcendent order. Neoconservatives and others built a creed around the words of Lincoln and the founders.
Over the years, the voice of Burke has been submerged beneath the clamoring creeds. In fact, over the past few decades the conservative ideologies have been magnified, while the temperamental conservatism of Burke has been abandoned.
The GOP response: “Who’s Burke, some fucking European? I never hear Rush Limbaugh talk about him. Lemme guess, he would have voted for Kerry too and handed the keys to the country over to Osama bin Laden!”
David Brooks insists there are voters out there who care about the principles of conservatism formulated best by Burke. Ah, quite true, David, but they are outpaced and outflanked by those who Brooks calls “creedal,” but whom in reality hold few intellectually honest principles compatible with freedom and the U.S. Constitution.
UPDATE: Well, I can’t argue with this vociferous dissent–
It had nothing to do with Burke, and everything to do with what the party had become. A bunch of bedwetting, loudmouth, corrupt, hypocritical, and incompetent boobs with a mean streak a mile long and no sense of fair play or proportion.
Seriously- what does the current Republican party stand for? Permanent war, fear, the nanny state, big spending, torture, execution on demand, complete paranoia regarding the media, control over your body, denial of evolution and outright rejection of science, AND ZOMG THEY ARE GONNA MAKE US WEAR BURKHAS, all the while demanding that in order to be a good American I have to spend most of every damned day condemning half my fellow Americans as terrorist appeasers.
And that isnâ€™t even getting into the COMPLETE and TOTAL corruption of our political processes at every level.