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Charles N. Steele

In part this highlights the meaninglessness of the term "conservative." "Conservative" Islamists have absolutely nothing in common with American Constitutional conservatives, who have nothing in common with British royalist conservatives, who have nothing in common with Stalinist conservatives in the USSR (e.g. Brezhnev), who have nothing in common with Biblical conservatives (American fundamentalists), who have nothing in common with Russell Kirk, who had (almost) nothing in common with Bill Buckley, who had absolutely nothing in common with Yukio Mishima.

"Conservatism" is an empty term, devoid of meaning.

John Pepple

I assume that conservatives are people who are generally happy with things as they. As I have suggested numerous times on this blog, the conservative Islamists have something in common with Christian fundamentalists (regarding treatment of women, gays, and secularists), except that they are ten times worse, which makes it a puzzle why anyone on the left would want them in the West.

Charles N. Steele

I don't think this is a useful definition of conservative. Conservatism isn't really "support for the status quo," and in many cases the people who are being labeled "conservative" are absolutely against the status quo.

There's a lengthy tradition in political philosophy that develops concepts of "conservative."

There's also the odd way the term is applied in American politics to apply to "economic conservatives" (who are actually heirs to the radical individualistic liberals such as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson), Christian conservatives (who at least claim to trace their thinking to Jesus), and patrician conservatives, who, if they were honest, would admit their intellectual lineage goes back to George III.

I do think the term needs to be carefully defined. One can't have useful discussion and debate if the terminology is confused. One of the worst crimes of the left has been to poison language (as you have repeatedly pointed out). We ought to double down on efforts to clarify concepts and reason with them.

Charles N. Steele

Relatedly, I've heard of studies in which self-described "liberals" (or progressives) and conservatives were asked to describes how the other side would think of these issues. The conservatives proved to be pretty good at describing the left-liberals' positions, while the liberals were much worse at characterizing what their ideological opponents thought.

I should try to find this study; it's perhaps relevant.

John Pepple

Well, it may not be a useful definition of conservative as far as conservatives are concerned, but this is a post that is basically aimed at liberals and leftists, and they aren't going to care about details. My point is that they are admitting immigrants into the West without looking at their politics or potential problems down the road.

Charles N. Steele

Given that qualifier, I fully agree.


It's useful to think of leftists not as really pro-liberal. Instead, think of them as anti-conservative above all. Whatever harms conservatives, they are for. Islam harms the West, ergo Islam is good and must be defended.

The outgroup of the Left is not Islam or any other foreign group. Their outgroup is ordinary Americans.


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