Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
I have now caught up to myself in the thread! Woot! I have to admit, friend Hatrack, it has been a challenge to follow all the canards, diversions, and misstatements of fact in your posts, but it has been fun! But, returning to the topic of the thread (I think), what I think you perceive as "conservatism" (other than anti-anything-leftish) no longer exists in common political parlance, but is consigned to the history books (not by Dinesh D'Souza). I would contend it never actually existed, in point of fact.

There are two perceptions/deceptions everyone carries: Self and other. We see ourselves one way, and tell ourselves we are such-and-such (liberal, conservative, rational, etc.), and the outside world sees us as something different. It can be "somewhat" different, or radically different.

Conservatism, as a philosophy, has never really existed. The intellectuals of the "movement" list off the various "forebears" of their viewpoint (it's not, strictly speaking, a philosophy, but a habit of thought), who also, it turns out, are the same forebears of Liberal thought (Mills, Locke, Adams). Interesting, no? They cobble together "principles", but any directed examination of their "standards" reveals them to be ephemera, honored more often in the breach than in the practice.

Like the question of forebears, both Liberals and Conservatives wrap themselves in the mantle of patriotism, champions of liberty, protector of civil rights, etc. Some of us just live those principles better than others. A challenge, today, is to find anyone in political or literary life who actually follows those principles, who lives them. One certainly doesn't find them in the Republican party.

Today, those that try to pass themselves off as "conservatives" are anything but. If one were to put it on a continuum, I suppose it would be radical, liberal, left, right, conservative, reactionary, revanchist. The "Freedom caucus", Federalist Society, and Trumpists have no relationship to "conservatism" other than a thin veneer or patina (any more than Hitler was a Socialist). In the OP, Senator Hatrack opined that conservatives want to "conserve", as the name implies. That impulse does not exist in those groups. They want to tear down, segregate, destroy, reverse, upend. Seriously, name one contemporary "conservative" figure who seeks to preserve anything of note. I'll wait.

What crock of pontificating bullshit! In my OP I stated that what is American Conservatism is. It is also known as classical liberalism. The liberalism of Baron de Montesquieu, John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Algernon Sydney, the English Bill of Rights, Frédéric Bastiat, and our Founding Fathers.

If you want to know and truly understand American Conservatism you might read these books.
Conservatism; An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present
The Conservative Mind; From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk
Leftism Revisited by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
The Framing of the Constitution by Max Farrand
Two Treatise on Government by John Locke
Areopagitica by John Milton
James Madison's Notes of the Constitutional Convention
The Spirit of Laws by Baron de Montesquieu
Origins of the Bill of Rights by Leonard W. Levy
The Words We Live By by Linda R. Monk
The Bill of Rights by Akhil Reed Amar
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
The Law by Frédéric Bastiat
There are many other books, any about our Founding Fathers and their times, that I could list but it is my hope that you get the idea that American Conservatism is a group that is independent of those groups that you mentioned. Nor is American Conservatism dependent on the leadership of a particular individual which is why I cannot name the conservative figure you requested. American Conservatism wants to conserve the essence of limited government while knowing that a return to the small limited government that our country once had is not possible. It is not because of the size and diversity, of our country today.
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The state can never straighten the crooked timber of humanity.
I'm a conservative because I question authority.
Conservative Revolutionary