Thursday, October 02, 2003

Don't confuse me 

There's enough discussion of the Brooks article on conservatives in the academy without me, but the best comment came in a letter to Critical Mass.
I tend to think of conservatism as an intellectual tradition and tendency that I respect but do not endorse for reasons that I can give at some length. But 'conservative' as used of you and me has nothing to do with actual conservatism. In this all-too familiar commons-room usage, the term only means *unprincipled* or *vulgar*. It has no intellectual content at all. ... It's sheer incomprehension, from people who ought to know -- and teach -- better.
Slight correction: it's sheer willful incomprehension. I remember my mother putting up one of those refrigerator magnets that said "My mind's made up. Please don't confuse me with facts." I had no idea that was a research agenda.