Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Jeffrey Hart on American Conservatism

The WALL STREET JOURNAL has published an article by Jeffrey Hart on American conservatism entitled "The Burke Habit". Although he does not mention Darwinian biology, Hart's account of conservatism and of how Bush's Republican Party departs from true conservatism agrees fundamentally with my argument in DARWINIAN CONSERVATISM.

Hart stresses that conservatism is based on a realist understanding of human nature as imperfectible, in contrast to the Left's utopian vision of human nature as perfectible. Conservatives reject both the "hard utopianism" of Marxist socialism and the "soft utopianism" of liberalism.

The Bush Republicans are not true conservatives, Hart observes, because they embrace a "Hard Wilsonianism" that is utopian in its vision of the fundamental goodness of mankind. They believe, as George W. Bush declared in 2003, that "the human heart desires the same good things everywhere on earth." I agree.

I also agree with Hart that the Bush Republicans are utopian in their devotion to an absolute ban on abortion based on their appeal to an abstract "right to life" that extends even to embryos.

The insight of "Darwinian conservatism" is seeing how Darwinian science supports the conservative realist understanding of human nature as imperfect against the utopian vision of human perfectibility. This brings together Burke and Darwin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Far away, in our neurobiological tradition at least, it looks incredible that anyone could still seriously assert “Darwinian science denies religious belief.” Are we in 2006? Such an opinion seems me untenably sticked to the conceptual frame of the Huxley-Wilberforce arguments.

Darwinian science lend in fact the frame utilized in some discussions of the Catholic synod finished Oct. 21, 2005, linking cigotal animation and Eucharistic consecration. Darwinian science evolved; observers, I think, should keep pace.

As regards morality, I agree that it is indeed possible without religious belief, as morality depends on the subjective and, therefore, rests ultimately on moral sentiments in human nature; ethics does not.

Ethics gets public inasmuch as it depends on absolute value, of which we now know - again, things moved - that natural science can and must say something when such a science considers the entirety of the empirically-found facts. As we see thereby, also natural science evolved and is no longer constrained to keep its subject as much minuscule as feasible, leaving the market forces to do the job of joining the results.

Whence now science can look for and eventually find values, e.g. why to respect persons - a factual remark that both conservatives and transformatives might notice with interest, as it grounds objective ethics leaving subjective moralities untouched.

Reading a summary of these evolutions might be of interest. Let me propose one that can be found at the following URL: