I was recently invited to speak to C-Fact, a conservative environmentalist group at the University of Minnesota. To some this might sound about as weird as saying I was invited to speak to a group of Socialist Yachtsmen in Monaco. Of course, there are plenty of yachtsmen who are more or less socialists (whether they meet in Monaco, I have no idea — but I will gladly go speak to them there).
There is simply no scientific or mathematical formula that defines conservatism. Moreover, there are competing voices today claiming the mantle of “true conservatism” — including neo-conservatism (emphasis on a robust national security), paleo-conservatism (emphasis on preserving the culture), social conservatism (emphasis on faith and values), and libertarianism (emphasis on individualism), among others. Scores of scholars have written at length about what can be imperfectly characterized as conservative thought. But my purpose is not to give them each exposition, as it cannot be fairly or adequately accomplished here, nor referee among them. Neither will I attempt to give birth to totally new theories.
“The Republicans have a chance to be warriors for liberty. If they say, in the midst of this, one word about compromise or bipartisanship, to hell with them.”
We live in a world of imperfect and costly information, and people seek to economize on information costs in a variety of ways. If we don’t take that fact into account, we risk misidentifying and confusing one type of human behavior with another. Let’s look at it.
Sometimes I feel really sorry for my mate, Jon. Thirty years ago he hooked up with a Buddhist, pacifist, Leftist vegetarian. Fast forward a few decades, and he now lives with his worst nightmare: a patriotic conservative who attends church and eats burgers with gusto.