Towards the Good Society: A Conservative View, by Alvino-Mario Fantini.

In an interesting reply to an earlier post, “Mario” presented an insightful overview of the conservative landscape and summarized what he takes to be the foundational commitments of conservatives. I then asked him a question: How could they be applied to considering deliberately the events of the day in a way that might convince people who are not conservative? Alvino-Mario Fantini presents his response in this post. -Jeff

I think that a meaningful principle of the conservative tradition is that local customs and experiences most often do a far better job at responding to people’s needs than do centralized national systems. I think this is of special importance, even though it does divide the “conservative community.” While, the neo-conservatives seem to believe that there is a formula or pattern or idea that can be applied everywhere regardless of cultural or anthropological or historical context, the paleo-conservatives tend to be more respectful of the local or native traditions of people around the world. (Of course, certain things — female genital mutilation and honor killings, for example — raise other ancillary questions about the need for modernization and whether or not we outsiders should attempt to change such things, but that is another discussion.)

In short, I think that by knowing more about how and why the state has so often and so frequently failed in other contexts, and how political leaders have so often become enamored of power and state influence (leading to horrible atrocities in many countries), we will understand that government is too often — though not always — the main problem or obstacle in the development of people and the flourishing of human societies. Furthermore, I think we’ll see that ideological or utopian visions are almost always the source of policies and state actions that end up being inhumane, unjust and violent in the name of a great progressive leap forward.

Keep reading here: Deliberately Considered

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