8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Fun, Fascinating Read,
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This review is from: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution (Kindle Edition)
I never liked history much in school but in the past few years I've switched to books like "1776" and "Guns, Germs and Steel" for summer reading. "The Founding Conservatives" is a top-notch addition to this category. As a page-turner it equalled "1776" and it answered some puzzles I took away from that book, like how on earth you could raise an army to fight your home country's army *without* declaring independence from it. As an ex-Republican, I found a lot of food for thought here about how conservatism has changed since the Revolution. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 9, 2013 9:26:38 PM PDT
Robert S. Tarpey says:
Why an ex-Republican? I am a new Republican. It is the only rational way at this point in time. R.Tarpey
Posted on Aug 11, 2013 6:26:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2013 6:27:24 PM PDT
Benjamin D. Steele says:
I've been reading this book. I've never been a Republican, but I sometimes think I have a certain kind of conservative-minded streak (and a liberal-minded streak as well, for whatever that is worth). It's just that I don't recognized my own sense of conservative-mindedness in the mainstream American conservative movement.
I'm a big fan of the moderateness of Quakers and those they seem to have influenced in American history such as John Dickinson (his having been raised by Quakers, married into a Quaker family, lived among Quakers, involved in politics where Quakers established the government, regularly interacting and corresponding with Quakers, etc). However, it is hard to imagine Dickinson being considered a conservative today.
Dickinson didn't like war, especially when others were beating the war drum (whereas today's self-identified conservatives are typically the first to beat the war drum). He used gender neutral language in his draft of Articles of Confederation which might relate to the gender equality attitude among Quakers (this type of political correctness is hated by hardcore conservatives). His Articles of Confederation also seem to generally fit into Quaker political culture of small local self-governance.
I gave even more details about this in the comments of this post:
The Quakers did things that we today think of as liberal such as promoting pluralism and tolerance. Yet there is something inherently conservative-minded about their principled moderation and willingness to compromise/cooperate.
That issue of compromise is a point the author makes at different points in the book, such as near the beginning:
"Politicians today who know only how to obstruct and never how to compromise cannot justifiably claim to be part of America's founding conservative tradition."
I'm not sure what to think of that. The conservatism he sees at the founding appears to be of a different variety. I wonder if there is a point to declaring an ideal of a true conservatism that may not fit most conservatives today or fit their own self-definition. How many conservatives would agree with the author that someone like Dickinson should be the standard for all conservatism? I like Dickinson's 'conservatism', but then again I've never identified as a conservative.
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