May 8, 2014 0
“What makes an outlook “conservative’ is that it is rooted in an attitude about the past rather than in expectations of the future. The first principles of conservatism are propositions about human nature and the way human beings behave in a social context; about limits, and what limits make possible. This practicality, this attention to experience, to workable arrangements, explains why the conservative community can be liberal and tolerant toward its members in ways that the progressive left cannot.
In contrast to the conservative outlook, liberal and radical ideologies are about the future, about desired outcomes. The first principles of the left are the principles of politically constructing a “better world.” Throughout the modern era, the progressive future has been premised on a social contract that would make all of society’s members equal—or at least provide them with equal starting-points.”
“Post-Communist conservatism, then, begins with the principle that is written in the blood of these social experiments. “It is just not true,” as Hayek wrote in The Constitution of Liberty, “that human beings are born equal; . . . if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position; . . . [thus] the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are, therefore, not only different but in conflict with each other.” (my emphasis)
In other words, the rights historically claimed by the left are self-contradicting and self-defeating. The regime of social justice, of which the left dreams, is a regime that by its very nature must crush individual freedom. It is not a question of choosing the right (while avoiding the wrong) political means in order to achieve the desired ends. The means are contained in the ends. The leftist revolution must crush freedom in order to achieve the social justice that it seeks. It is therefore unable to achieve even that justice. This is the totalitarian circle that cannot be squared. Socialism is not bread without freedom, as some maintain; it is neither freedom nor bread. The shades of the victims, in the endless cemetery of 20th-century revolutions, cry out from their still-fresh graves: the liberated future is a destructive illusion. To heed this cry is the beginning of a conservative point of view.”
Excerpt From: Horowitz, David. “The Black Book of the American Left.” Encounter Books, 2013-11-04. iBooks.
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