Thursday, September 13, 2007


"The Americans who call themselves "Conservatives" have the right to the title only in a particular sense. In fact, they are old-fashioned liberals. They stand for the freedom of the individual to use his property as he wishes, and for a limited government which must keep out of the marketplace. Their concentration on freedom from governmental interference has more to do with nineteenth-century liberalism than with traditional convervatism, which asserts the right of the community to restrain freedom in the name of the common good. Senator Goldwater appealed directly to the American Constitution and to Locke, its philosophical architect. The Senator's chief economic adviser, Professor Milton Friedman, appeals to the British liberal economists of the nineteenth century. They are "conservatives" only in terms of the short history of their own country. They claim that the authentic American tradition went off the rails with the mass liberalism of the New Deal and should return to the individualism of the founding fathers. The makers of the Constitution took their philosophy from the first wave of modernity; the spirit of the New Deal belonged to the later waves of liberalism. In this sense, Goldwater is an American conservative. But what he conserves is the liberal philosophy of Locke. The founders of the United States took their thought from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Their rallying cry was "freedom." There was no place in their cry for the organic conservatism that pre-dated the age of progress. Indeed, the United States is the only society on earth that has no traditions from before the age of progress. Their "right-wing" and "left-wing" are just different species of liberalism. "Freedom" was the slogan of both Goldwater and President Johnson."
--George Grant, from Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism.

1 comment:

Carol M. Clarke said...

At Obama's inaugural, Aretha Franklin belted out "let FREEDOM ring" in her rendition of the our anthem and repeated in it with great feeling. It was moving.