Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Misnaming conservatives

From Lawrence Auster (of View from the Right):

One of the great confusions today is that anyone who is anti-left is called a conservative. It would be as though, during the Cold War, anyone who was anti-Communist was called a conservative ... The misnaming we have today not only creates intellectual confusion but is substantially harmful to conservatism, in that (1) it makes real conservatism impossible by defining conservatism as liberalism, and (2) another way of saying the same thing, it defines conservatism as opposition to the hard left, rather than as opposition to liberalism."

This is well put. If we allow right wing liberalism to be defined as conservatism, then what is there to pose any challenge to liberalism? Politics just becomes a contest between the left wing and right wing forms of liberalism. Typically, real conservatives then identify with the right liberal party and their politics become a confused and ineffectual hybrid between the right wing liberalism of the parties they support and their own conservative instincts. In the past, this has always allowed liberals to carry the day.

So, the first step for the conservative movement to progress is for conservatives to more clearly distinguish themselves from right wing liberalism.

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