All along, according to McCarthy (and as one of the few genuinely well-read conservative intellectuals, he ought to know), traditional conservatism (as opposed to reactionary conservatism) has meant "pluralism and elasticity." Its post-war American members were "Catholics, Jews, and Mitteleuropean emigres" who knew what it meant to be "suspect" in the eyes of the establishment. From "Burke to Kirk," therefore, traditional conservatives have practiced the "art of integration" in opposition to the populist politics of "conformism." He cites an anecdote about Burke:
Just how inclusive Edmund Burke's own understanding of tradition could be is indicated by a story Robert Nisbet relates in Conservatism: Dream and Reality: "On an occasion when a group of Indians was visiting London and had been unable to win the assent of Anglican or Dissenter alike to brief use of a church for their own religious services, Burke extended the use of his house for this purpose."A cynical reader might wonder whether Burke's courtesy would have extended to the three million or so Muslim immigrants who permanently reside in the United Kingdom today. Or whether the nomination of that hardcore traditionalist Mitt Romney is really evidence that reactionary conservatives are in charge of the GOP. And, finally, when McCarthy cites Eliot's study of Indic philosophy as an example of conservative advocacy for a pluralist civilization, even the most optimistic reader has to pause and wonder what the West really means to McCarthy.
That the whole of TAC has allowed the Brooksian pretense that conservatives are dispositionally either Walker Percy or Pat Robertson to stand unchallenged is indicative. Goldberg and McCarthy, as online editors, are clearly on the same page.
P.S. More conservative pluralism and integration cited -- no doubt approvingly -- in the TAC "Of Note" section:
Second, on social issues, Britain's Conservative Party stopped trying to turn the clock back to a supposedly golden age of God-fearing, two-parent families. Cameron made clear that his Conservatives 'love Britain the way it is now' -- open, diverse, accepting, individualistic, and multi-cultural.Update: John Zmirak comments:
McCarthy is eloquent and impassioned, but dead wrong. Burke and Disraeli both supported openness and diversity in the CONTEXT of an overweeningly powerful Anglo-Scot, Protestant majority, which really was not threatened by the minorities they defended. When Catholic and Jewish thinkers added needed brains to the conservative movement in the 50s and 60s, the same situation prevailed in America. It no longer does. We are now in the CONTEXT where diversity (and more so, its ideology) are making America ungovernable–especially in the absence of a potent dynastic mythos such as the Habsburgs had. We have NONE of the conditions that would hold together a Balkan patchwork like the late, lamented Austro-Hungarian Empire, and are much closer to becoming the Rome of Diocletian. So NO, it is NOT time for conservatives to jump on the diversity bandwagon. It’s time to rally around the flag.