History Bite

What will history say about conservatism?

It is very unclear how conservatism will fare through the wave of radical liberalism of our time but this is an expression of the challenge (from A Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk)


The conservative can appeal to the imagination of men; but he must be sure his own imagination is sound and true.  
The conservative must make certain of the rectitude of his own morality.  He has now to contend against the New 
Morality, that vague but virulent social passion which, if it means anything, “means the reconstruction of life at the 
level of the gutter.”  Humanitarianism, usurping the place of the Church, endeavors to ignore the existence of Sin
and to erect sympathy into a social theory, leaving individual responsibility out of account.  Sympathy and justice
are confounded.
Confronted with such disheartening odds, the conservative must retire into himself for a space, so that he will 
remember “that his nature is not simple and single, but dual,” a reflection of incalculable ethical value.  Within him
is a truer self, an inner check, “unchanged amid continual change, of everlasting validity above the shifting values
of the moment.”  Guided by this intuition, “he will know that the obligation to society is not the primal law and is not
the source of personal integrity, but is secondary to personal integrity.  He will believe that social justice is in itself
desirable, but he will hold that it is far more important to preach first the responsibility of each man of himself for his
own character.”  Abjuring cant, he will discover a fortitude which may yet suffice to defend the old morality against 
a collective and sentimental humanitarianism that, without conservative opposition, would devour its own sustenance