The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism — First Principles

December 19, 2014

Intercollegiate Review Archive

Volume 21, Number 3
Spring 1986


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The State of Conservatism: A Symposium




As a group conservatives are divided by great and legitimate differences on the authority of natural rights theory over a distinctively American politics, about the primacy of economic considerations over other features of a sound polity, and concerning the conflicting claims of order and liberty. On all of these we are not of one mind. But we do take these questions seriously and agree that politics amounts to more than the victory of the moment: conservatism to more than opportunism, pop sociology and a series of position papers. Furthermore we come together in our hatred of tyranny, our preference for a rule of law, our opposition to schemes of leveling and our disposition to measure all systems by the kind of men and women nurtured by them. Thus we keep alive the old teaching that merely to be in power, to govern, is not enough: that the great problems are not those of administrative technique, crisis management or budgetary restraint but rather those of social thought which will in the end decide whether there is anything to manage, any money to spend, any property to tax, or borders to defend. This task is ours because no one else is able (or willing) to perform it.
—M.E. Bradford

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