Fighting over the Conservative Banner
36 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012 Last revised: 1 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 4, 2012
Whither Conservatism? That was the question posed to a group of scholars, including Carl T. Bogus, author of Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism (Bloomsbury Press), at a conference co-sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law and the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. In this paper, Professor Bogus argues that conservatism has long been an uneasy alliance among three distinct groups: libertarians, neoconservatives, and religious (or social) conservatives. The glue that held the alliance together is weakening. As the groups drift apart and compete, they are becoming more strident and extreme. Each seeks to become the dominant philosophy of the right. Each seeks to claim the conservative banner, that is, the right to present itself as the one, true, and genuine conservatism. Conservatism is indeed in flux, and its future definition depends on the outcome of this struggle.
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