The Mind Of The Tory Anarchist

E.D. Kain conducts an engrossing, bracingly honest interview with Daniel McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative. It's deeply encouraging to read such sane and smart arguments on the right, even if discussions about the distinction between Nozick and Rothbard might be a bit much for some (not me). This leapt out:

Liberalism is not the end of history, and it’s not the final picture of justice.  Under the guise of democracy and markets, and human rights, various kinds of powers and interests are able to run quite unchecked. This was what Tories who opposed the fiscal revolution realized — they opposed the financialization of power as much as they opposed, for self-interested reasons, the transfer of power from landed and established interests to commercial ones.

And that's why the Tory tradition has no problem tackling an overly-powerful financial sector, because Toryism is about breaking up all overly-concentrated power, private and public. McCarthy's frankness about the Whiggishness of American traditionalism is also a lovely tonic after the turgid nationalist idolatry of Lowry:

American traditionalists try to make up for the absence of fixed institutions by emphasizing the supposedly conservative qualities of the Puritans or the continuities between British traditions and America. But the Puritans themselves possessed some profoundly un-conservative characteristics — they really did want to start a new and pure settlement from which they could eventually recreate the world in a holier image.  Even if that were a good idea, it has nothing to do with conserving.  Vaunted Anglo-American traditions, meanwhile, are largely Whig myths.  There’s a conservative side to Whiggery, but the American revolution was a radical Whig event — it created a republic.

American traditionalists are often caught between denying the religious and republican radicalism of the country’s origins — and when they do that, their claims about tradition ring false in their countrymen’s ears — and repudiating the country itself for having un-conservative origins.  The best traditionalist makes the most of the traditions he has, even if their origins embarrass him. No one gets to pick his parents, after all.