Sunday, May 24, 2009

Die Philosophie der Freiheit heißt NICHT Konservati(vi)smus!

"I do not believe that the philosophy of freedom has much to do, in an essential way, with conservatism. The relationship is largely due to historical accident. Furthermore, analytically speaking, the moral, political and economic basis of freedom does not fit coherently in the conservative intellectual framework.

The central reason for confusion on this matter is due to the peculiarities of the American (and English) political context. Our heritage is filled with the language, the ideals and the reality of liberty. Our Constitution exhibits a great concern for division of power, rights and limitations on the Federal (and state) government, and the importance of contract. So to “conserve” is, to an extent, to conserve these traditions. So American conservatism seems like a philosophy of liberty.

Another reason for the seeming identification of liberty with conservatism is the complex of compromises the political system has yielded. Those who are conservatives in a more literal sense found an uneasy alliance with those whose primary interest is liberty and only secondarily in the American traditions. There is much interesting political, sociological and even religious history here.

Nevertheless, the spirit of liberty (and I would say classical liberalism) is very different from that of conservatism. The conservative fundamentally doesn’t want to rock the boat. One can see it now in the intrigue about Nancy Pelosi and the CIA. The classical liberal (let me invoke the spirit of H.L. Mencken here) knows that both politicians and the CIA cannot be trusted. The true liberal is not afraid to recognize the corruption of power. The conservative, on the other hand, will say, “How can you question these hard-working people in the CIA who risk their lives for America?” Or: “How can you question the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Third-in-Line to the Presidency?”

To the conservative Faith in Power is very important. The conservative believes that we ought not to release pictures of torture perpetrated by “our” interrogators. The classical liberal thinks the truth is vital. The American public should know just how widespread all of this was (is?). If it stirs up hostility to American troops both in places where they ought not to be or where they possibly should be, that is part of what defending our liberty is about.

I could easily see a conservative cringe here. (I have purposefully chosen edgy examples.)"

Aus einem sehr anschaulichen Grundsatzartikel von Mario Rizzo, dessen Lektüre vor nicht nur terminologischen Verwechslungen bewahrt.

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