Where are the real conservatives? I’m not a conservative (as I’ve posted here), but there used to be – on both sides of the Atlantic – a moderate, pragmatic conservatism that one could at least understand and respect.
Those conservatives really thought that they were upholding traditions, institutions and values that were important, that contributed in some way to the maintenance of a society that – if not good, exactly – was at least broadly acceptable and better than untried alternatives. They had a certain sense of public duty, integrity, responsibility and decorum.
They were even willing to make reforms – incremental, cautious ones, but reforms nevertheless – in response to real public grievances, because their interest was in maintaining the whole, not in squeezing every drop of out the economy or the planet and then watching society go down in flames.
But where did these people go?
In America, it’s not enough for Democrats, hipsters, college kids, feminists and minorities to oppose Trump – there are just not enough of them, and they occupy only half of the conversation. The Republicans need to find the sense and the courage to oppose him too.
If conservatism as a mindset and ideology has anything of value to contribute to public debate, it is its insistence on the need for wise, competent and responsible leadership, acting through stable, lawful, established institutions. Trump is the antithesis of all that. His volatile temper, rapacious appetites, crass populism and petty hunger for revenge all make him the very opposite of the conservative archetype of a good leader.
Its time for the tweedy, old fashioned rich white men to take a stand.