Conservatism

In common usage, the term “conservatism” names a belief that hierarchies constituting the status quo are worth preserving and protecting; that inequality is not a necessary evil but a positive good; and that the defense of individual liberty is the best bulwark against the so-called totalitarian tendencies of an egalitarian politics. One popular variation of this usage posits conservatism as a trans-historical reaction against revolution from below: the emancipation of the lower orders in France; the rebellions of slaves in the Americas; the struggles of the white working class in nineteenth-century United States; and in successive generations, the demands of women, the poor, nonwhite and racialized minorities, and people with marginalized gender identities. In short, conservatism is synonymous with power and the defense of power in ways that are enlivened by violence and war (Robin 2011).

In the first couple of decades of the new millennium, this usage of the …

This essay may be found on page 61 of the printed volume.

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