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10 Conservative Principles

July 29, 2009

I was recently introduced to Russell Kirk’s “10 Conservative Principles.” These, he says, are the closest thing to ideology and dogma present in the persuasion of conservatism, as conservatism is neither.

I have largely departed from a purely “conservative” worldview as of late, mostly because I feel that libertarianism is the true heir of the American Revolution. Conservatism promotes the mixture of state politics with religious doctrine; libertarianism holds that religion exists outside the sphere of state politics and can only be freely practiced without state involvement. Conservatism promotes the mixture of corporate interests with those of the state; libertarianism seeks a complete separation of the state from the economy just as from religion. The list goes on. Libertarianism is the best way to promote that central ideal of the American Revolution: the right to be left alone.

But the beautiful thing about libertarianism is that it does not prescribe doctrine, belief or morals. It is a theory of the state, not a moral code. A libertarian may pass moral judgment in any way he wants on anything whatsoever; what separates him from the “liberal” or “conservative” is that he does not see the state as a legitimate apparatus for promoting that particular view and imposing it on others. A libertarian may be pro-choice but still vehemently oppose abortion; he may support the legalization of marijuana but oppose its general use; he may be an avid philanthropist but categorically reject the welfare state. Libertarianism does not preclude an individual from passing moral judgment; it merely seeks to prohibit the state from doing so.

Over the next few days I will take a look at Kirk’s 10 Conservative Principles and discuss them in relation to libertarianism.

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One comment

  1. I am going to have to read more about this. Libertarianism all still seems a bit hypocritical…but I am deeply biased.



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