What is Conservative?

Posted: Nov 07, 2008 3:46 PM

A reader emails me this:  "I would like to see the core principals of conservatives laid out." 

In his classic book, "The Conservative Mind," Russell Kirk established six "cannons" of conservatism, which on Wikipedia, Russello (2004) has abbreviated as follows:

  1. A belief in a transcendent order, which Kirk described variously as based in tradition, divine revelation, or natural law;
  2. An affection for the "variety and mystery" of human existence;
  3. A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize "natural" distinctions;
  4. A belief that property and freedom are closely linked;
  5. A faith in custom, convention, and prescription, and
  6. A recognition that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, which entails a respect for the political value of prudence.