Posted under Political Philosophy
Hayek was not a conservative, but rather a classical liberal. He was correct to oppose Marxism, but so did many others. Hayek supporters tend to be apologists for unbridled capitalism that in itself has become an “ism” not unlike Marxism.
Putting Strauss on this list is absurd. He was a mediocre thinker at best, and hardly a conservative. He was successful at peddling left-wing Jacobin thought as conservative, and at superimposing over the Greeks a modernist notion of natural right. Strauss should be in the top 3 for the Greatest Conman List or the Greatest Neocon / Neoliberal List, but not on any conservative list.
Kirk does make sense, and should be on this list. He was a learned gentleman whose Conservative Mind shaped American conservatism probably more than any other book. It is unsurprising, though, that the neocons over at the Corner find him the least acceptable. Their comments:
“I’ve never had any idea what Kirk had to with America or conservatism as it might exist in the modern world.”
“Count me among those who has [sic] always thought Russell Kirk was overrated.”
“Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Kirk’s….”
” the only reason Kirk gets much play is because ISI has a few devoted traditionalists there who like to fancy themselves devotees of an arcane conservatism that rejects modernity wholesale”
“Kirk sought to reach back to European conservatism and transplant it onto American soil. This is one reason I suspect that, in the long run, Kirk’s influence may well decline as I don’t believe his work speaks as directly to the American political experience as does some others.”
“While Kirk sought to document a conservative strain in American political thought, he was also hostile to some of the foundational “liberal” ideals upon which the nation was founded, including the assertion of inalienable God-given rights”
OK. Heaven forbid that Kirk realized that America is a continuation of European people and culture. OMG, and traditionalists admire Kirk! And Kirk was skeptical that America is built upon a left-wing notion of natural rights? He must be evil. Their real reason for disliking Kirk, though, is that he did not like them. Remember, Kirk said that these snakeoil salesman “mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States.”
If The Corner likes Strauss and rejects Kirk, then it’s a safe assumption that Kirk is probably conservative, and Strauss is not. And this works for many things. If the Corner Chorus initially thinks X is a good idea, then it probably is not.