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Revolution

Reader comment on item: Conservatism's Hidden History

Submitted by Robert (United States), Aug 23, 2018 at 08:34

Dear Daniel Pipes,

... I'm disappointed that 2 Israeli scholars sold you their views regarding the meanings of Conservationism (C) vs. Liberalism (L).
Unfortunately their understanding of American, British, and Continental History and Philosophy is warped.

(1) A simple search of the meanings on Merriam-Webster
will reveal that these terms entered our language
only after the French Revolution.

(2) The two terms C & L have essentially the same meanings
as Right and Left, which derive from the seating on the Assembly
during the French Revolution.
They are not Absolute Terms, but Relative Terms,
and relate to one's position on an issue;
On the Right would sit those who wished to oppose change
and "conserve"what exists;
on the other hand, on the Left were the Liberals,
who wanted Liberty, Freedom, and therefore some particular change.

(3) All Anglophones recognize the special place which Britain has;
during the Enlightenment Britain was admired by such luminaries as Voltaire.
That is easily supported by the Myth and Fact of the Magna Carta,
not mentioned by your 2 Israeli authors.
This Great Charter represents the "Revolutionary' event (not conservative)
whereby the King's powers are Limited
and his Subjects diverse Rights are Recognized.

(4) The term "Revolution"changed its meaning from1688 to 1789.
During the Glorious Revolution (1688)
Britain "returns" from Cromwell's Republic to Monarchy.
We see here the adoption of the term from the "Copernican Revolution";
Britain "revolves" once and returns to Monarch.
In the case of the American Revolution (1789)
the former Colonists were seeking a "return"
to their former status as British subjects
("no taxation without representation").
However, in Britain, and among Loyalists,
the American revolutionaries were merely rebels,
and there was therefore a "Civil" war;
this is the term also for the prior British Civil War
which installed Cromwell as Lord Protector
after the King was decapitated
as happened 150 or so years later
with the French monarch during the French Revolution.
In brief, the American Revolution was a drastic "liberal" event.

(5) During our Revolutionary period,
after the Declaration of Independence
the first major radical"liberal" event
was the Conversion of the 13 colonial charters
into 13 state constitutions.
It is us Americans who changed the meaning of "Revolution"
from "returning" (to tradition) to essentially non-conservative drastic change.

(6) The American Civil war was certainly not "civil" (pun intended)
but a Revolutionary war in which the Liberals triumphed over the Conservatives.
However, the Revolutionary result was merely the obvious discontinuance
through Lincoln's proclamation, of Slavery;
it also resulted in amending the Constitution
so that Rights such as due process and equal protection, etc.,
were going to be imposed by the federal government upon the states
(especially, with the 14th Amendment 100 years or so later).

I can go on further, but its would be too long.
It is unfortunately that these 2 Israelis
have such a poor understanding of Western History,
especially because Israel itself
was a part of the British Empire
so that Israel's (unwritten) constitution and laws,
are rooted in England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.

An interesting observation, however, to be explored,
is that the Talmud had some role.
Certainly, with the Protestant Reformation,
subjects were then on there own to read the Scriptures,
and the Old Testament is reach with the Divine limits to Royal power.
However, as these 2 writers would have it,
Conservatism would require the continuance of Slavery because it's "OK" in the Bible.
Similarly, subsequent Racism limited certain positions to WASP's
and tradition (Conservation) would mean that that's OK too.
Whereas in fact it was the "Liberal" (radical) "Revolution" of the 1960's
which applied the interpretation of the 14th Amendment;
it was Big Government Warren Supreme Court which did the trick.
On the other hand, in 1854, the Supreme Court was packed with Southern Conservatives
which resulted in the infamous Dred Scott decision CONSERVING Slavery.

Submitting....

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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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