Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Richard John Neuhaus on Conservatism

I was asked the other day to contribute to a national symposium on the changing meanings of liberal and conservative. I declined. I rather dislike the business of defining political or ideological labels, although it goes on and on and maybe even serves a necessary purpose in some way not readily discerned. James Nuechterlein, former editor of FIRST THINGS, would regularly, with a wry smile, sum up his philosophy: "Change is bad." He is given to wry smiles. British prime minister Lord Palmerston is reported to have said, "Change, change, change! All this talk about change! Aren't things bad enough already?" A later prime minister, Lord Salisbury, contemplating developments in the Middle East, remarked, "Whatever happens will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible." Then there was my father of revered memory who said of a colleague, "He's so conservative that, had he been present at the creation, he would have voted for chaos." So you can see I didn't have much to contribute to the symposium.

(Richard John Neuhaus, "The Public Square," First Things [October 2006]: 65-84, at 75)


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