I'm with Jonah on this, which may disconcert him. I think conservatism is indeed linked to resistance to change at a deep level. But at a deeper one, it also accepts change as an integral part of human organization and society. What distinguishes conservatives in the sense I prefer from liberals is a residual respect for what has been, a desire to understand it before changing it. But change it conservatives will. Think of the conservative game-changers in the past: Lincoln, Disraeli, Thatcher, Reagan. They key is the mechanism for change - whether it springs from the experiential intimations of the past and present or from the abstract certainty of the rational mind. The former is conservative; the latter liberal. The genius of the West has been that both tendencies are part of its DNA; and both are necessary. Prudence alone can tell us when to apply which. Which is a key conservative insight as well. This is all developed at some length in The Conservative Soul, which, alas, Jonah declared no conservatives would read. Maybe at some point, some will.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.