Planes, Trains, Automobiles

In an hour or so I have to catch a shuttle from Auburn, Ala. to the Atlanta airport. Get back to D.C. around 7 pm — and then I have to leave again at 3 am(!), taking Amtrak to Connecticut. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be taking a 3 am train if I had any other viable options, but the Amtrak alternatives were more expensive and not much better.

Even though I’ll be in a tech hub of sorts for the next week, I may or may not have reliable internet service. That’s the drawback of using ethernet in the wireless age. Ah well. Blogging will be sporadic if I can’t find a terminal somewhere to exploit, although chances are I will be able to find one.

The summer symposium issue of TAC should be showing up in subscribers’ mailboxes and bookstores right around now. By the way, here is a link to the old Commentary symposium from 1976 that was our inspiration. (It’s a pay archive, but you can get the whole Commentary symposium for the price of one regular article — about $5 or a little less, if I recall. It’s worth it for Robert Nisbet’s contribution alone.)

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3 thoughts on “Planes, Trains, Automobiles

  1. Tim July 30, 2006 / 6:14 am

    Thanks for highlighting the Robert Nisbet piece above. As usual Nisbet is illuminating. He notes the label “conservative” is honourable, and I would suggest, Lew Rockwell’s repudiation of the conservative label is probably premature. The Nisbet column in some way shows how far removed we are from the 1970s. Back then Nisbet discussed the goal of free marketeers like Friedman and Hayek in their still unfulfilled quest to reclaim the label “liberal” from the supporters of the social democrat Leviathan state. Today the struggle is to reclaim the label “conservative” from the supporters of the neocon’s Leviathan state.

    Back in 1946, Aldous Huxley wrote “…For the last thirty years there have been no conservatives; there have been only nationalistic radicals of the right and nationalistic radicals of the left. ” (See his forward to the second edition of “Brave New World” reproduced here.) So this sort of denate is not exactly new.

    Of course today both the social democrats (I won’t call them liberals) and the neocons have an interest in excluding ‘Nisbetian’ and ‘paleo’ conservatives from the conservative label. The neocons opportunistically wish to cement their recently achieved factional domination. To be rude one may point that this is very Leninist of them. At the 1903 Russian Social Democrat Party Congress the minority Marxist Leninist faction adopted the label ‘Bolshevik’ that means “majority” and forced the majority of the delegates to walk out and live with the label ‘Menshevik’ meaning “minority”. The social democrats have a more Orwellian ‘thought police’ interest in suppressing even the memory of our societies’ small government / limited government roots. So they generally prefer to have their rightist social democrat cousins, the neocons, wear the conservative title.

    The Rockwell type position, that we should all rally under the ‘libertarian’ or ‘paleo-libertarian’ flag is admirably idealist, optimistic and future oriented but it implies abandoning proprietorship to our considerable pre-social democrat / pre- big government / pre- corporate capitalist past to the ‘liberals’ and neocons to do with as they may. The word “libertarian” seems unnatural and contrived and as a label does a poor job of accommodating the range and diversity of small government opinion. Not all of us are in a hurry to abandon all traces of the welfare state, at least until robust communitarian alternatives are operational. Focused activities aimed at the destitute do not necessarily imply support for social democrats agenda of using the welfare state as their social engineering steam roller. Even free market purists would be advised not to abandon the considerable class of less pure small government people, that includes Distributists and localists, as allies and compatriots. Many, probably most, of this group share with actual libertarians an equal distaste of both the neocon and social democrat Leviathans.

    So rather than totally abandon the conservative label to Huxley’s nationalistic radicals of the right, or continue with the futile crusade to reclaim the word ‘liberal’, maybe we should pre-empt the neocons by seizing a word they are reluctant (due their own social democrat past) to take. That word is, of course, Tory.

  2. Tim July 30, 2006 / 6:36 am

    Of course the word “tory” is not without problems. According to some sources (see here …it has it’s origin in the old gaelic term for robber or pursuit! 🙂

  3. Daniel McCarthy August 6, 2006 / 8:52 pm

    Thanks, these are some very stimulating thoughts. I”ll have to post something on the topic of whether “conservative” is still a word worth fighting for on the main page sometime soon.

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