Ron Dart: American conservatives’ liberal roots

Canadian traditionalist author and professor Ron Dart in his new work The North American High Tory Tradition (American Anglican Press, 2017) writes of the New England-centric US “conservative” worldview – with its demonstrably false universal propositions – which Southern nationalists have historically rejected as having its roots on the Left:

The American republican tradition seeks to conserve the first generation of liberal thought. This is the world of Locke, Smith, Hobbes and Hume. This is also the ethos of Burke who accepted the fiscal and economic liberalism of Locke and Smith while resisting and opposing their middle class social liberalism. C. B. Macpherson, in both The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke and Burke, has highlighted what he calls an ‘underlying unity’ in the liberal tradition, and this is its posessive individualism. Similarly, [George] Grant recognizes many of the liberal political theorists listed above as philosophers of greed. In fact, Grant, like Macpherson, tends to place Burke in the same family and tribe as Locke, Hobbes, Smith, Kant and Hume.

This is a theme I wrote about in Our Southern Nation: Its Origin and Future. And it is a point that historian Raimondo Luraghi made in his book The Rise and Fall of the Plantation South. Luraghi noted that the New England ethos which came to dominate the United States grew out of the bourgeois Enlightenment trend of Northwestern Europe and was a break with the more traditional and Renaissance-influenced cultures which founded the rest of North and South America. Dixie, like the plantation societies of the Caribbean and seigneurial Canada, had social norms and politics based upon classical values and successful models of civilization passed down since ancient times. This was a more holistic and social worldview than the early liberalism which shaped American “conservatism.” As such, the Southern traditional Right is routinely maligned and misunderstood by the false-Right of Americanism.

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