The American right – the party of Fox News, the Tea Party, and, increasingly, of the Republican Party itself – are no longer conservatives, but radicals. Nothing illustrates this more starkly than the recent anti-Semitic attack on the financier and philanthropist George Soros by Fox News conspiracy-monger Glenn Beck.
NEW YORK – Whenever I hear people on America’s Republican right call themselves “conservative,” I experience the mental equivalent of a slight electric shock.
A conservative is someone who, in the tradition of the eighteenth-century English parliamentarian Edmund Burke, believes that the established order deserves respect, even reverence. A liberal, by contrast, is someone ready to alter the established order in pursuit of a vision of a better world.
The Whig historian of the nineteenth century Thomas Macaulay described this difference well. There were “two great parties” in England, he wrote, which manifested a “distinction” that “had always existed, and always must exist.”
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