It’s long been a simmering intelllectual rift within the philosophy of conservatism – between the rigid disciples of Leo Strauss and the wayward offspring of Michael Oakeshott. My own choice of Oakeshott for my dissertation was one of the first moments when my “conservatism” was greeted with intense skepticism by the neocons I knew. The … Continue reading The Neocons vs Oakeshott
My friend and fellow Oakeshott scholar, Jesse Norman, is now a member of parliament and did a very Oakeshottian thing in almost single-handedly torpedoing reform of the House of Lords. The idea that an institution that has survived so long in the British constitutional tradition should be drastically overhauled to become a democratic body to … Continue reading An Oakeshottian In Politics
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A reader writes: You wrote: "My doctoral thesis focused on Oakeshott's understanding of religion not as part of the world of philosophy, or of poetry – but of practice. Religion, in one profound sense, is simply what we do every day, the practice of daily compassion and spiritual discipline that brings us closer to God … Continue reading Oakeshott, Buddhist?
A reader writes: In preparing for the impending showdown in Washington over the future of healthcare in America, I’m reminded of a passage from Michael Oakeshott’s essay "On Being Conservative," from Rationalism in Politics. I quote the relevant passage in full: "There are, of course, numerous human relationships in which a disposition to be conservative … Continue reading Oakeshott And Healthcare Reform
A reader writes: While you have always celebrated your attachment to conservative thinkers like Michael Oakeshott, your views often strike me being most closely aligned with John Rawls. Your discussion today about modernity smashing the social good into little bits could have been a passage out of Political Liberalism. You captured the essence of the … Continue reading Rawls, Oakeshott, Obama And Modernity
Here’s something made possible by the web: a transcript of one of Oakeshott’s BBC lectures – on the philosophy of history, with an audio of the great man reading it on the radio. Leslie Marsh, who posted it, writes: Not having met MO, I find reconciling the voice with the image of the man difficult. … Continue reading Listening To Oakeshott
The Damon Linker-Matt Yglesias conversation about the scope of "political liberalism" is worth a few moments. Start with Matt’s latest post on the subject and read on back. I think Matt is right, by the way, although it’s been a while since I read either Rawls or Rorty. Both agree on this fundamental piece of … Continue reading Rorty, Rawls, Oakeshott, Neuhaus
Susan Sontag understood the connection: "It is the genius of the United States, a profoundly conservative country in ways that Europeans find difficult to fathom, to have elaborated a form of conservative thinking that celebrates the new rather than the old."
He’s the main influence behind my new book, "The Conservative Soul," and I’m delighted that my 1989 doctoral dissertation on him, "Intimations Pursued," is going to be published later this year, as part of a series of books devoted to analyzing his thought. If Anglo-American conservatism is going to be revived in the twenty-first century, … Continue reading Discussing Oakeshott