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Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

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Monday, October 5, 2009

From Pat Buchanan's Day of Reckoning

He saith, as regards conservatism:
True conservatism is the antithesis of ideology. It is the negation of ideology. For conservatism is grounded in the past. Its principles are derived from the Constitution, experience, history, tradition, custom, and the wisdom of those who have gone before us--"the best that has been thought and said." It does not purport to know the future. It is about preserving the true, the good, the beautiful. Conservatism views all ideologies with skepticism, and the more zealous and fanatic with hostility.


  1. I’m not sure that I buy this. Buchanan is a smart guy but this sounds like poppycock. He is right that conservatism is deeply routed in tradition though. Heck conservatism was, if I understand my history correctly, born out of a reaction to liberalism in Great Britain. The status quo had to do something to combat the words of folks like John Locke and boom…conservatism was born.

    There was a time that I really couldn't stand Buchanan, but now I kind of like him. I disagree with him often, but I don't think that he is the monster that he has been ade out to be.

  2. ...conservatism was, if I understand my history correctly, born out of a reaction to liberalism in Great Britain.

    The waters have been muddied a bit over the years. What some call conservative was once called liberalism and is now often referred to as "classical liberalism." What others call conservatism these days is not so much conservatism, in my opinion, as a laundry-list of popular ideas.

    This sort of thing is why I went to the trouble of defining the words as I use them, and still link to those definitions.

    I will be posting some more quotes over time that bear on the subject.

    Buchanan is very cool. There are places where I think he doesn't quite "get it," such as the hegemonistic ambitions of Islam, but overall, his track record of predicting what is actually going to happen in a given situation, as opposed to what others hope is going to happen, is impressive.

  3. I didn’t like Buchanan until, ironically, I saw him in a documentary about Ralph Nader.

    You are right that bother modern conservatism and modern liberalism barely resemble their philosophical ancestors. My wife and I were actually talking about this yesterday. While both have evolved (or devolved depending on your point of view) over the years, I think that both hold the same original core principle somewhere buried underneath 200+ years of political rancor. These principles were expressed in the conflict between Hamilton and Jefferson and can be summed up in two words – order and liberty. Simply put, at their core conservatives want order and liberals want liberty. If one was to look at how modern conservatives and liberals behave politically you’d be hard pressed to find these things, but often they are there…somewhere.

    PS -- If this shows up twice, I apologize.