Conservatism forms a vigorous intellectual tradition in the United States, rich, diverse, yet eminently recognizable. The editor of this welcome if idiosyncratic anthology, Andrew J. Bacevich, is right to characterize American conservatism as more an “ethos or a disposition” than a “fixed ideology.” In fact, the most penetrating conservative thinkers have always insisted on conservatism as an antidote to ideology. By “ideology” they have meant a systematic disregard for the unchanging features of human nature, a propensity to reckless utopianism and draconian social engineering, and a misplaced confidence that scientific and technological progress always and everywhere entails moral progress.
Bacevich is …
This article appears as “The Conservative Ethos” in the June 22, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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