Gone and Changed Our Name Again?

Roger Kimball has a piece on Am Greatness today, “ The Abnormal as the New Normal”, pondering the fate of “conservatism”…
It made me realize: I ain’t no “conservative”—I sure as hell do NOT want things to stay the way they are now,
As he points out, even in less idiotic times, things change, mores “liberalize”. “Conservative” really hasn’t been a very apt epithet for quite some time. What remains to conserve?
So—how to style myself?
I think I would prefer “fundamentalist “ if that didn’t already have a negative connotation (religious bigot) assigned by the Left.
“ Naturalist” sounds good but it already means something else.
So I decided on “originalist”.
A term we only use now when talking about Supreme Court Justices in connection with constitutional law.
But “constitution” means the way we are put together, not only as a country, but as an organism. To constitute means to make up, to put together.
Maybe “originist” would be even better ( but spellcheck sez that isn’t a word).
In other words, yes, I wanna get back to the origins, the fundamentals— of good government, of the human species. (Y’know, like fairly elected representation, like two sexes.)
Dear polymaths: You are NOT “conservatives”, this is a radical, cutting-edge site!
So whaddya think?
Could “originalist” or “originist” catch on?


How about 1787 Libertarian?

Well look at that my username has been wrong this whole time.


I usually tell the pollsters who phone that I am a Constitutionalist, not a Democrat or a Republican. It cuts the questioning short.


As usual, F. A. Hayek was way out in front on this. In 1960, as an addendum to his book, The Constitution of Liberty, he penned an essay, “Why I am Not a Conservative” (full text at link) which explained why champions of individual liberty and property (including self-ownership and all that derives from it) cannot blindly embrace a philosophy of “standing athwart history, yelling Stop”.

Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving. It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance. It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing. The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments. But, though there is need for a “brake on the vehicle of progress,” I personally cannot be content with simply helping to apply the brake. What the liberal must ask, first of all, is not how fast or how far we should move, but where we should move. In fact, he differs much more from the collectivist radical of today than does the conservative. While the last generally holds merely a mild and moderate version of the prejudices of his time, the liberal today must more positively oppose some of the basic conceptions which most conservatives share with the socialists.

I, like Hayek, am not a conservative, but one thing I wish to conserve is the meaning of words, and just as I oppose furriners renaming and changing the spelling of their quaint backwaters to make them more “authentic” (for example, “Mumbai”, “Kyiv”, and however they’re spelling The Turkey this week). So, I regret the loss of so many words to the slaver blob, including “liberal”, which is how Hayek described himself.

I describe myself as a “flaming libertarian”. By that, I mean that I believe that individual liberty is supreme over the state and collective, and that the ultimate human right is to be left alone to do whatever you wish as long as it does not directly harm another.

What would be my idea of an ideal society? Well, ideals are not something we can achieve in this fallen world, but the U.S. between 1781 and 1912 would have been good enough, notwithstanding the constitutional coup in 1789 and the contretemps in the first half of the 1860s. The late L. Neil Smith once said he’d be happy to live in a society founded on the Bill of Rights, with each of the Top Ten amended to append the phrase, “and this time we really mean it.”


Wow, your Maoism is really well hidden. /s

Never hurts to point out “Why I am Not a Conservative”. It’s biggest issue is it is written in an “old-world” style, and it may take some re-reading to understand some of his points.

There is a large chunk of US conservatism which can be described as “conserving the Constitution”, which is a 18th century liberal/whig document. This is a pretty unique situation in the world, which makes talking about “conservatism” internationally difficult. There are conservatives in Europe who, with all seriousness and not much hope, would like to see the reinstatement of the ancien regimes. Hayek hints at that in “Why I am Not a Conservative”.


That is a sentiment I wholeheartedly support. But how do we handle the practical aspects of a world in which a man alone does not stand a chance? How do we organize ourselves to provide essential infrastructure for the common good, for example. How to balance the harm done to one man by forcing him to allow a power line to be built across his land versus the harm done to many other men if they do not get access to electric power?

The US Constitution was a good start to achieving balance between individual liberty and the need for shared action. Unfortunately, it required a “moral people”. Equally unfortunately, subsequent revisions to that Constitution often degraded it, and now the Constitution is honored only in the breach. As astute observers have noted, politics is downstream from culture – and we have lost the culture war.


It’s gotta be something that can be modeled with thermodynamics or hydraulics or fluid dynamics. Personal freedom is maybe like temperature or mean free path, and Ye Olde Country of Europe is like a high pressure cylinder, and there’s some analog between the 4 panel meme of Hard Times create Hard Men… and phase changes or Brayton cycles, and the freedom and work of 1st Century America had something to do with the flow of heat or particles from the high pressure east into the low pressure western frontier… :thinking:


I’ve been struggling in a similar vein to name a new party that supersedes the tired-ass GOP. The common theme to all our desires and goals seems to be freedom. Terrible party name, tho.


The nomenclature for political philosophies has become so corrupt and confusing it’s hard to pick anything that makes any sense and won’t immediately be twisted into something else.

Who would have imagined the initials for “Make America Great Again” would become an epithet and obscenity on the lips of slaver politicians and their media allies?

In Switzerland, the Radical Democratic Party are like establishment Republicans in the U.S., while the Swiss People’s Party, which sounds like some kind of Maoist outfit, is actually the closest thing to a right wing party in the country, favoured by farmers and small business people…

I remember somebody hearing about the Libertarian Party for the first time and remarking, “I didn’t know there was a Librarian party. What’re they for?—books, I guess.”


But whaddya think of “originalist” or “originist”?


I don’t know about a name for our party, but I do have an accurate new name for the existing two. Since both are nothing but big boobs, I nominate “Boy Whatta Pair Party”. (They do support each other, as well). Of course, there are scatological alternatives, but for a change, I won’t go there.


One of the amusing things about the two principal British political parties for many years, the Tories and Whigs, was that both were named by their opponents with what were considered pejorative epithets:


As a political term, Tory was an insult (derived from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe, modern Irish tóraí, meaning “outlaw”, “robber”, from the Irish word tóir, meaning “pursuit” since outlaws were “pursued men”)[9][10] that entered English politics during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681.


Whig (from whiggamore , a “cattle driver”) was initially a Scottish insult for the Covenanter faction in Scotland who opposed the Engagers (a faction who supported Charles I during the Second English Civil War) and supported the Whiggamore Raid that took place in September 1648.

Since the two principal U.S. parties have degenerated into considering each other “deplorable” or worse, perhaps they should be named in the same fashion. We have long spoken of the Evil (Democrat) and Stupid (Republican) parties, so why not accept those names, which are far more evocative of their essence than the principles their conventional monikers denote, which they have long abandoned?

Then the debate could be on a more honest level. Is Schumer more evil than McConnell is stupid? Now that would be an interesting contest!

And the new party? Why not the Honest Party? “We aren’t (terribly) evil, and not (particularly) stupid. But we know the difference between men and women, citizens and invaders, and freedom fighters from money-laundering grifters. Our pronouns are in the copybook headings.”


I usually say “Thank you but we don’t do polls, please put us on your do not call list. Goodbye”. That makes it even shorter.


It seems like many of us here are interested in a revival of old, even ancient, ideas. We also agree that at least some aspects of Western civilization are in decline. I came across the following word recently, in the title of one of Francis Bacon’s works, which might be appropriate:

instauration (countable and uncountable, plural instaurations)

  1. restoration after decay or dilapidation; renewal; repair

“Instaurationist”? Or, if that’s too obscure, “restorationist”?

I like “originalist”, “constitutionalist”, and “flaming libertarian” too.


Unfortunately, that word has been rendered untouchable by its association with Instauration magazine, which was denounced all the way back in 1985 as “white supremacist” when Joseph Sobran, then a senior editor for Natiional Review whose column appeared in 60 newspapers, was cancelled for having mentioned it favourably, saying it “faces the harder facts about race.”.

Another venerable word goes down to the blob.


I still think “fundamentalist” would be the best. But as I said it’s been co-opted…how about “foundationist”?


?Which one - first or second. :sunglasses:


About time I reread the Foundation series, probably haven’t done so for 40 years or more. The trilogy was my first book from the SF Book Club, somewhere around 1970, and it’s still sitting on a bookshelf


It is a classic - good for the ages. My son, 42, just read it for the first time.