Monday, November 13, 2006

Austin W. Bramwell on conservatism   posted by Razib @ 11/13/2006 10:06:00 PM

I really don't know what to make of Austin W. Bramwell's piece for The American Conservative. He concludes thus:
Whatever its past accomplishments, the conservative movement no longer kindles any 'ironic points of light.' It has produced fewer outstanding books even as it has taken over more of the intellectual and political landscape. This trend will only continue. Worse, no reckoning will be made: they hope in vain who expect conservatives to take responsibility for the actual consequences of their actions. Conservatives have no use for the ethic of responsibility; they seek only to 'see to it that the flame of pure intention is not quelched.' The movement remains a fine place to make a career, but for wisdom one must look elsewhere.

Bramwell is a talented young lawyer, and his assault reads like the precise brief of a prosecutor bent on convinction. And yet, to where do we turn if all the various strands of conservatism stand guilty before us? Here's hoping that Bramwell has a follow-up in the works. Over the past few years following Bramwell's essays I get the sense that he is actually engaging in a game of intellectual Go, fleshing out the broad outlines through a process of negation and encirclement, but perhaps I'm just hopeful....

Addendum: Bramwell is married to the former Sarah Maserati. She is the fellow Episcopalian that Derb alluded to in his piece about religion. Austin Bramwell is a traditional Episcopalian himself. How do I know this? When Bramwell burst onto the conservative scene I went looking for some information....