Last week, I shot Andrew an e-mail enclosing the two posts I'd written in response to his lectures and your comments. He was kind enough to read through them, offer a response, and take special note of Cynic'c comment which he thought, "gets it best." That last point will be news to no one. Anyway, a short excerpt is in order:
I've been thinking about these things for a long time, and I appreciate that it all looks absurdly esoteric or simply solipsistic to many. My conservatism is not today's American conservatism, although it could easily find a place in Cameron's Toryism. I have a libertarian streak as well - which puts me at the right end of Toryism. But I hold, following Oakeshott and Burke, that the critical conservative virtue in politics is coherence and balance and practical, prudential openness to change and reform. Remember that Burke, as a Brit, favored American independence.If you cannot see that as conservative in some sense then my arguments will be lost on you. And yes, it's wrapped up in religion, my inability to lose my faith and my attempt to grapple with what that means in today's increasingly fundamentalist world. That's why the core issue in the book is really Christianity, and why I increasingly feel I want to take some time out to explore these theological and spiritual questions with the time and silence they deserve.As for conservatism in America, my own belief is that this, at the deepest level, is a philosophical struggle between the worldviews of Leo Strauss and Michael Oakeshott.