In recent years, it has become in vogue in both academic and popular circles to say that the conservative movement is at a crossroads. Such a statement is, on its face, so uniformly agreed upon as to conceal deep, incommensurable divergences in opinion over the origin and nature of the contemporary conservative identity crisis.
While many mainstream media figures and pseudo-intellectuals on the academic left may posit the growing rift in the conservative movement as arising from the growth of a fringe, dangerously radicalized wing of the Republican Party bent on undermining the federal government from within, this narrative leaves something to be desired: for it fails to do service to the long-standing philosophical tensions that have underscored the American conservative tradition. Political movements do not spontaneously generate out of a philosophical vacuum; they are the product of ideas that are themselves the product of prior ideas. Today’s political battles are the result of yesterday’s philosophical battles and every public policy proposal is based upon a set of theoretical assumptions about the nature of man and society that can be either more or less in accord with the Divine ordering of reality.
This blog is thus a blog of philosophical ideas and not merely of policy proposals. We attempt to provide a venue for the proliferation of various stands of traditionalist and libertarian thought that we feel are underrepresented in both academic and popular “conservative” discourse. We recognize that true political change is often less dependent upon immediate political action than upon a regeneration of right principles in the culture at large and we strive to find ways to redeem the culture by returning to timeless truths about the human condition.
Made up of both traditionalist conservatives and anti-statist individualists, we share no overarching philosophy. We are conservatives who find themselves voting like libertarians when confronted with the threat that the ever-growing federal leviathan poses to traditional social institutions. We are classical liberals who believe in a healthy role for tradition, localism, an adherence to history, and life on the “human scale.”
We believe with Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Nisbet that individual liberty is best protected in an organic society that allows for a plurality of allegiances, mutually dependent relationships, and decentralized living. We believe with Aristotle and with Edmund Burke that wisdom is more often to be found in human tradition than in deracinated reason.
We at Beyond the GOP unapologetically take our stand with the broader conservative tradition, but we believe that tradition cannot ever be wholly encapsulated by a political party. We are not explicitly aligned or disaligned with either the Tea Party or the mainstream, national Republican Party. But we maintain that the future viability of both the Republican Party and the philosophical conservative movement depends upon a reinvigoration of a conservatism that finds itself independent of the Republican Party.