The trouble with conservatism

The trouble with conservatism is that it is at best a kind of political taxidermy.

Living cultures and healthy nations are not much interested in conserving things.

Conservatism enters at the point in history when a culture crystallises and ceases to be organic. Conservatism is therefore always a rearguard action, a reaction to the onset of decay. All conservatives if they are truly honest with themselves know that they are ultimately doomed to failure.

This is not to say that there cannot be glories and victories on the way.  Conservatism may even be the noble and the right strategy, depending on the point in history. For some time working to preserve the trappings of a civilisation may be a successful strategy and may ward off the inevitable decline and fall for some time.

But in the end, even the finest embalmer and taxidermist will be defeated. Lenin looks a lot worse for wear in 2014 than he did in 1925. You cannot preserve anything that is dead indefinitely.

There comes a point in history – such as, I dare say, our own, when the institutions of a nation and a civilisation have become so decayed and decadent that any attempt to preserve them is not only futile but also morally reprehensible.

At such times a good conservative must turn gravedigger. The best he can do for what he formerly sought to preserve is provide it with a decent burial.