Channeling Burke

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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I’ve written a lot lately about how conservatives should stress a more communitarian (not selfish individualism) message as an electoral response to Obama’s collectivism.

So I was delighted to pick up the latest copy of The American Conservative and see Carl T. Bogus’ essay, “Burke Not Buckley” (subscription required.)

Here’s an excerpt that jumped out at me:

“For the Burkeans of the 1950s, emphasis on community was at the heart of a properly conceived conservatism. [Russell] Kirk wrote: ‘True conservatism … rises at the antipodes from individualism. Individualism is social atomism; conservatism is community of spirit.”

This may all sound very philosophical, but it could make all the difference in the world in 2016. Should the Republican nominee follow a model that talks about the “makers and takers” — or instead, stress a more inclusive message about building strong communities?

For those who reflexively rail against government, TAC reminds us that, “Burke taught that government ‘is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants.'”

If you’re in the camp that says Ronald Reagan wouldn’t play well at CPAC today, what do you think they’d think of this crazy talk?

Matt K. Lewis