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The dark sides of conservatism

By Matt McManus      

Conservatives should be willing to look at their own intellectual history, the good and especially the bad.

Conservatism, like progressivism, is complicated. It is perhaps inevitable that the champions of a political viewpoint are more likely to gaze upon its heights with wonder than stare into its hell pits with revulsion, writes Matt McManus. Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

MEXICO CITY—There is a great deal that is interesting and informative in Brian Lee Crowley’s recent piece for the National Post “Right Now: Why Conservatives Are Grateful For The Society We Have.” Crowley claims that the key feature distinguishing conservatism is that it is not a rationalistic theory of how the world is. Rather, it is fundamentally an “emotional disposition” to being grateful for what one has. While progressives fixate relentlessly on the sins of our fathers, conservatives recognize that Canada is one of the most free and prosperous countries in the world because untold generations of imperfect individuals gradually worked at it. They built institutions and value structures which have been passed on as an “endowment” to their ancestors. These are often flawed and in need of “incremental adjustments” to fix the most glaring injustices. But they remain a gift we should be grateful for, rather than a cross to be borne by the marginalized and disadvantaged in society. Indeed, Crowley points out that Canada is one of the few countries in the world where the least fortunate at least have a shot at the good life.

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