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We should not overlook consevatives' anti-semitism

Reader comment on item: Conservatism's Hidden History

Submitted by Boris (United States), Aug 11, 2018 at 14:19

Prior to WWII, anti-Semitism was endemic among European conservatives. This began with liberalism of many Jews and their emancipation in Western Europe, and perception that Jews were not loyal citizens and anti-nationalists. The Dreyfus Affair was a sign of things to come. Anti-Semitism was a significant reason why conservatives supported the Nazis in Germany despite despising them.

The tables turned after establishment of the State of Israel, with conservatives siding with Israel and Jewish nationalism and the left turning against them.

In the US conservatism is of different nature (no royalty, aristocracy etc) and did not have this disease. F. A. Hayek's essay 'Why I am not a conservative' is a good guide on this point.:

"Conservatism proper is a legitimate, probably necessary, and certainly widespread attitude of opposition to drastic change. It has, since the French Revolution, for a century and a half played an important role in European politics. Until the rise of socialism its opposite was liberalism. There is nothing corresponding to this conflict in the history of the United States, because what in Europe was called "liberalism" was here the common tradition on which the American polity had been built: thus the defender of the American tradition was a liberal in the European sense. This already existing confusion was made worse by the recent attempt to transplant to America the European type of conservatism, which, being alien to the American tradition, has acquired a somewhat odd character. And some time before this, American radicals and socialists began calling themselves "liberals." I will nevertheless continue for the moment to describe as liberal the position which I hold and which I believe differs as much from true conservatism as from socialism. Let me say at once, however, that I do so with increasing misgivings, and I shall later have to consider what would be the appropriate name for the party of liberty. The reason for this is not only that the term "liberal" in the United States is the cause of constant misunderstandings today, but also that in Europe the predominant type of rationalistic liberalism has long been one of the pacemakers of socialism."

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Concerning Hayek, see addendum (2) to my article.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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