December 30, 2012
IT'S REALLY JUST TRIBAL DIFFERENCES THAT SEPARATE PALEOS FROM NEOS:
Big Idea: The Diversity of Conservative Opinion (Peter Lawler, December 30, 2012, Big Think)
If liberals take Douthat's advice, they can be enlightened not only about conservative erudition, but about conservative diversity. The articles in the "neocon" Weekly Standard are way different from those in the isolationist and traditionalist American Conservative. For a 10-minute tutorial, GOOGLE what each journal is saying about the possible appointment of Hagel as Secretary of Defense. You will find out immediately that the AC is much more concerned about what "neocons" think about Hagel than what liberals think about him.
GOOGLE a bit more and you discover that the smart, learned, and well-intentioned authors at the AC and The Front Porch Republic rarely voted for Romney. Not only that, they're often as hostile to "capitalism" and globalization as the authors who write for the proudly leftist Nation.
What's the big difference between American conservatives and leftist nationalists? They have different views on how much big government can remedy the excesses of big business. Another difference concerns their view of the goodness and enduring viability of local institutions and traditional morality. They actually tend to agree that Marx's description of capitalism as reducing our freedom to "nothing left to lose" is largely true. They differ a lot on the goodness and efficacy of some socialist antidote. From a socialist view, the Front Porchers are agrarian reactionaries. From a Porcher view, the Marxists are irresponsibly "Gnostic" utopians.
For paleos the tribe is white Christian men, for neos it's Jews. On the other hand, conservatism--in its traditional Burkean sense--actually is Christian, so it eschews tribalism.
Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2012 6:00 PM