McCain The Burkean?
Dale Carpenter and Ilya Somin have been debating Jonathan Rauch's recent article on McCain's conservatism. Here is Dale:
I am not sure whether McCain is really Burkean. The simple fact that he has taken particular policy positions doesn't answer the question. There is no Burkean tax plan.
The question of temperament, which Rauch does not discuss in his excellent Atlantic essay, is more important than any single policy position. What matters most to the question of whether McCain is Burkean, I think, is how he tends to approach public policy questions. Is it with caution and humility, with a preference for evolution rather than revolution? Or is it with a reformer's zeal, one who has an unshakeable goal in mind and will let nothing stand in the way?
Burke's actual temperament, one should recall, was not all calm and caution. He was an Irishman.