"What is freedom for a conservative? It rests, as Hobbes intuited, on being secure in one's own physical existence; and in accepting the fact that others exist who are just as human as we are, and, in political life, deserve equal treatment under the law. Then what?
The conservative will answer: everything. The great and constant dream of the conservative is to be left alone by his own government and by his fellow humans, as much as is possible. Left alone, there is so much to explore, to do, to experience, to live and breathe and think. Life is such a mystery it demands to be taken as it is and at the same time explored further. It constantly throws us questions to which the answers are opaque and yet always inviting. Any impediment to exploring this life as fully and as intrepidly as we can is anathema to a conservative. It robs him of that thrill of being human, of that moment to be felt and experienced now, of feeling and thought and serendipity and contingency. These contingent, mysterious things are what make us human; and freedom is the means by which we live most fully as human beings.
The intervention of a government is like that of a loud telephone ringing in the middle of an engrossing dinner conversation. It is inherently offensive. It commands our attention, when we would much rather be doing something else," - The Conservative Soul, Chapter Six, now out in paperback.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.