Or why American "conservative" (lack of) thought is as fake as GOP's "conservatism". OK, let me "come out of the closet" immediately. Learning anything from Edmund Burke, a holy of the holiest, a designated person of worship for American "conservatives" makes as much sense as applying lessons of Peloponnese Wars to netcetric warfare and resolving targeting issues for stand-off weapons in dense ECM environment. Sounds funny, but that is exactly what they ("conservatives") promote as a foundation for their neoliberal economic agenda which is in the foundation of the America's decline. The American Conservative decides to pull the owl over the globe and comes up with a contrived piece on a new book about Edmund Burke, trying to show how it is "relevant" today. Sure, the guy who lived in 18th century knew all about it. The author of the piece writes:
Evidence such as this demonstrates that in Burke, we do not find ourselves dealing with a market fundamentalist of the Reaganite variety, much less a Malthusian or Randian devotee of the iron laws of supply and demand. After all, Collins notes, Burke frequently violated these laws through his numerous acts of charity to friends and tenants, and insisted that public laissez-faire must be complemented by strong obligations of private charity.
No shit, pardon my French. I wonder how Burke would resolve the issue of automation and, inevitable, removal of the labor force from the most productive and, by implication, well-paid industries. You know, those damn 18th century Anglo-Irish robots and Computer Numerical Control machining centers. They influenced Burke so much when he was writing about markets. The next pearl is this:
Burke has a great deal to offer to conservative political economy today. Most crucially, Burke recognized that the virtues of free markets rest upon an underlying foundation of traditional order and virtue, without which markets will grind to a halt or run off the tracks. Commerce depends on manners, and manners depend on religion, custom, tradition, and good laws. As he wrote in the Reflections: “Even commerce, and trade, and manufacture, the gods of our economical politicians, are themselves perhaps but creatures; are themselves but effects which, as first causes, we choose to worship. They certainly grew under the same shade in which learning flourished. They too may decay with their natural protecting principles” (quoted on 490).
Really? And what is this "conservative political economy"? What is this, is there a "conservative" physics (I know there is a liberal one) or mathematics? Don't these contemporary "conservative" people learn a simple fact that American "conservative" political economy is nothing more than a free trade fundamentalism and laissez-faire which work in the 21st century as effectively as Burke's platitudes about "good laws" and preaching of good morals and "virtues." The surrealism of constant, in fact nauseating, references to some Whig guy who lived in England in 18th century by American "conservatives" is preposterous and it is not surprising that TAC article arrives to this conclusion.
A true conservative, then, must learn how to cherish the offspring—free markets—without allowing it to devour the mother—traditional virtues.
Yes, and I am Mother Theresa and all my life I fight for everything good, against everything bad. No, this is not a definition of conservatism--it is a definition of pretentious Mammon worshipers covering their greed with a fig leaf of absolution every Sunday morning at church. REAL conservatism is an obverse side of sober nationalism, which sees its primary purpose in preservation of the nation and promoting its well-being by formulating a framework of true national interests--a task no American "conservative" is capable to perform. As I said--they are afraid to give definition to a nation, American nation that is, and face consequences for standing their ground on this fundamental issue. Thumping Bible or Torah over the heads of others and trying to convince them that this is a virtue is not conservatism.
Conservatism starts with a question of "what is good for my people", not class, not stockholders but people, as a whole. How this good is defined in economic terms is a completely different matter, which has nothing to do with American conservatives' sellout to Wall Street and stripping America of her remaining economic livelihood, granted, preaching on the way "traditional virtues". Ah, yes, in conclusion--there is no such thing as "free markets". Never existed. But I am sure Edmund Burke also expressed his opinions on this matter, including modern geopolitics defined by immense destructive power of modern nuclear and conventional weaponry and constellations of satellites. As for charity--any chance I can get some donations from Bill Gates, personally? I need a Ferrari to fill my life with meaning. While at it, I will not be against a nice second home in Hawaii./s