Is Conservatism The Only Bulwark Against Extremism On Both Sides?

The ridiculous ignorance on the part of the media with regard to conservatism is to be expected when the education that budding journalists receive is long on gender issues and woefully short on political philosophy (and grammar, but that’s a different post). And that is assuming no nefarious motives, which is probably naive in the extreme.

The current media assumption is that political philosophy is a line, with communism on the left and fascism on the right. That is of course incorrect, but it makes it easy calling anyone to the right of Eugene McCarthy a Nazi and a fascist. Ah yes…the arrant stupidity and mendaciousness of the media that insists that the National Socialist Workers Party is on the right…

So what is the reality? Is true conservatism in the middle? To the left is fascism…government control of everything. You know…socialism! To the right is raw society, without the freedoms and responsibilities that conservatism cherishes.

In a discussion a few days ago, commenter “Christopher R Taylor” made an important point, one that exposes the intellectual shortcomings of much of the professional conservative world…

I agree with Ed Morrisey in one sense: it is bad for a party to listen to only its most extreme members. The problem is not with this statement, its how he defines “extreme”.


Conservatism is by definition not possible to be extreme, since its an attempt to hold to the proper course of American history and government, down the middle of the river. To one side is progressivism and to the other side is raw anarchy without government, law, or structure.

Imagine an America based on classic conservative principles.

Would there be slavery? No.
Would we have total equality in every aspect of society. Yes. Not equality of result, but equality of opportunity.
Would we have a welfare state? No.
Would we have insupportable national debt? No.
Would we have out-of-control crime in inner city ghettos? No.
Would we have open borders and a huge underclass of illegals? No.
Would we have incredible innovation, infrastructure, and the highest standard of living in the world? Yes.

Chesterton’s Fence can be seen as a metaphor; it keeps the depredations of anarchy and lawlessness from intruding, while also keeping at bay the authoritarian impulses of the progressive movement.

Conservatism must push back against both sides!