James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Tory Mocks the Whig

George Will's contemptuous article on Ron Paul is the perfect illustration of the division within conservatism.

Will represents the "conservatism" that worships executive power, imperial dominance, and rule by elites. His is a Tory conservatism. Such conservatives in America, if they were intellectually honest with themselves, would have admired King George and consider George Washington a traitor. But most are not honest with themselves. They think they're inheritors of the Founders' legacy.

Paul represents the conservatism that believes preserving a nation's Constitution, the supremacy of the legislative branch representing the people, and an organic government that reflects the culture and traditions of the people (as opposed to dominating foreign peoples). This conservatism reflects both what the founding generation built, and also the philosophy of Edmund Burke, a Whig. (Whig is also the name of an American political party formed in reaction to President Andrew Jackson's dictatorial style that sought to reclaim Congressional supremacy.)

It's incredible how Tory-Imperialists and Whig-Constitutionalists got along so well for so long. If it wasn't for their mutual hatred of "the Left," they wouldn't have held together at all; they really don't have anything in common. But now they are finally splitting up, primarily over Iraq.

The question is, which side will woo the Religious Right and the populists? That's where the votes are - and the future of the Republican Party.

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