cooke

from Charles Cooke at National Review, Conservatives Refuse to Repeat the Mistakes of History (a fundraising letter)

Tricky as it may be to acknowledge, the eternal verities care little for the zeitgeist. Fashions may change, and the shape of the mob may morph, but the truth does not. Markets, not governments, yield real and sustainable progress. Strength, not weakness, is the finest prophylactic against war. Laws, not benevolent men, serve as the guarantor of Liberty. There is nothing old-fashioned about civil society or local knowledge; no evolution that will render our Constitution moot; no technological replacement for a healthy and humble admiration of the divine. Each generation must learn these axioms anew, and if it does not, we will face decline and fall.

Properly understood, American conservatism is no enemy of advancement and change. On the contrary: Commerce, as Schumpeter put it, is the author of creative destruction; Socialism on the other hand, is a boon to the status quo. But there is change and then there is vandalism; there is the man who cycles his crops and then the man who torches his field; there are those who wish to revise, and then there are those who wish to burn all that came before them to the ground. G.K. Chesterton held that one should never tear down a fence before one understands why it is there. Ensuring we understand why our fences stand where they do is a tireless and never-ending job.

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