Childish Liberals and Mature Conservatives

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Philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson is a convert to conservatism. This piece gives his reasons. Basically, he thinks young people should be searching idealists filled with exploration and hope, which tends to make them more liberal. The maturity of life that comes from working, owning a house, marrying, having kids, and other responsibilities tends to make one more conservative through the realization that people who have been around for a while and traditions that have been around even longer are often there for a reason. The idealism of youth that often brings a skepticism about everything in society gets replaced with a general trust in authority and tradition, and this is a justified trust. This shouldn't be an unreflective trust, and it should leave room for revision and continued progress, but the presumption of institutions that have succeeded outweighs the quick idealism that wants to change things simply because we can and because one principle, ignoring any other concern, would favor the total restructuring of society.

Now I don't see why idealism, searching, exploration, and hope should require political liberalism (I certainly had my own period of exemplifying all those traits without being politically liberal), but I agree that they are healthy traits for someone who is younger and that they show immaturity if they never get balanced with other, more conservative, traits. There are some gross overgeneralizations here, but they're gross generalizations that have their basis in real tendencies. Keith's explanation of how he got to where he is now and why he thinks it's a justified move is fascinating reading and gives a perfect rebuttal to this awful argument by Benj Hellie (whose metaphysical work I greatly respect, but his political views are at best unreflective about the nature of conservatism, the effect of conservative policies, and the issues Burgess-Jackson brings up that favor conservatism over liberalism among those whose experiences have taught them anything at all about responsibility and respect for longstanding, working policies and institutions).

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