R.L. Dabney on American Conservatism

“…[American Conservativism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism … American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition … Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom …  The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip.”

I am afraid that the current tea party movement has the vim and vigor that it has because the radicals grew too fat and lazy in their chairs of authority and did not have the desire nor the inclination to keep the unprincipled conservatives properly satiated.  But now the House has turned and the radicals must work to get themselves into shape so they can find the lowest price at which this brand of conservativism will prostitute itself.  When that price is found, I am afraid that the backbone of the tea party will be found to be something akin to freshly kneaded dough.  I hope I am wrong.


1 Comment

Filed under Culture and Economics

One response to “R.L. Dabney on American Conservatism

  1. Doug hart


    Ever read Beautiful Losers by Sam Francis?, pretty much the updated version of Dabney’s thesis. Someone asked me the other day if I was cynical, I said I am but I can’t keep up!

    Glad our “confidence is not in princes”. Many are investing hope in things that will disappoint, rare to find people of positive principle that we can encourage in politics.

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