In the NYT this morning, David Brooks has a column titled “The Conservative Future.”  While many on the main-stream right are despairing over the dismal results of the election, there are a few “hot spots” that point to the future of conservatism in America.

If you listened to the Republican candidates this year, you heard a conventional set of arguments. But if you go online, you can find a vibrant and increasingly influential center-right conversation.

He suggests some categories including paleoconservatives, lower-middle reformists, soft-libertarians, and Burkean Revivalists. Although “paleoconservative” is an inadequate and wholly unsatisfying moniker, here’s what he has to say about this group:

The American Conservative has become one of the more dynamic spots on the political Web. Writers like Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison tend to be suspicious of bigness: big corporations, big government, a big military, concentrated power and concentrated wealth. Writers at that Web site, and at the temperamentally aligned Front Porch Republic, treasure tight communities and local bonds. They’re alert to the ways capitalism can erode community. Dispositionally, they are more Walker Percy than Pat Robertson.

Exactly. It’s encouraging to think that the future of a legitimate conservatism just may include a front porch.

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  1. Good; however, one always wonders what writers and editors at the NYT are up to when they articulate what seems to be rational insight. It reminds me of my father’s retelling of concerns dealing with German mine fields which the Germans laid out and laid with vicious and successful cunning.

  2. Wow, congrats.

    There’s one other thing not in the article that I think strongly needs to be said. The anti-traditionalist, anti-family, pro-mobility forces have been so powerful in our society that the human spirit longs for traditions, family, and place. There are still radical anti-traditionalists out there, and I seem to argue with them frequently, but at the same time people are looking for something, that sense of place in a world where people are increasingly isolated.

    It’s easy I think for many FPR people to find this in their local churches, but I think it is also important to note that for many people in the New Age type movements, they are looking for that thing which has been lost also. In traditional societies things get repurposed quickly and flexibly (see “The Ritual Process: Structure and Antistructure” by Victor Turner and “Deeply Into the Bone” by Ronald Grimes) but many of our religious institutions seem to equate being eternal and traditional with being inflexible.

    To an ever greater extent, we traditionalist pagans are finding ourselves in alliances of convenience with traditionalist Christians and Catholics. Archdruid John Michael Greer, for example, has written about how weird it is to be praised by Fox News shock jocks (see and I think this is an indication of the mentioned “epidemic of open-mindedness.” In the end, I think that we traditionalists must end up working together even though we no doubt disagree on some things.

    Exciting times. Let’s hope that we can build the future we want to live in.

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