quarta-feira, 25 de agosto de 2004

Russel Kirk, 1991

"In one respect, but in that respect only, the task of the conservative of 1991 looms less oppressive than was the task of the conservative of 1951, when my first book was published. I mean that the grim menace of the Soviet Union no longer hangs over us. Seventy years were required for the Communist ideology to work its own ruin, so that it fell to pieces at a good-natured push, quite bloodless, from Mr. Ronald Reagan.

Always will there be wars and rumors of war; yet from the Soviet terror we have been saved, so that the Third Generation conservatives may address their energies to something more fundamental than resisting the armed doctrine called Marxism.

What, then, is the mission of Third Generation conservatives, young men and women who seek to preserve the Permanent Things, those elements in human existence that were not born yesterday?

It is not to promulgate a "conservative ideology": for conservatism is the negation of ideology. Ideology is an attempt to govern all life by political slogans; while American conservatives believe that no mere political formulas can make a people content.

Conservatives take for their guide in politics what Edmund Burke called "the wisdom of the species": that is, the experience of human beings in community, extending over many centuries.

Thus, American conservatism is a cast of mind and character, not a neat body of political abstractions. Ideology is political fanaticism, an endeavor to rule the world by rigorous abstract dogmata. The dogmata of an abstract "democratic capitalism" may be mischievous as the dogmata of Marx.

It is possible to describe certain attitudes that make up America's conservative mentality, even though not all Americans could "

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