Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is it a trend?

Mostly to collect for potential future reference, we want to note an apparent outbreak of political philosophy references amongst conservatives. Andrew Sullivan seems to have inaugurated the latest round with a botched Hobbes reference and repeated trips to the Oakeshott well (perhaps for penance). But the Wall Street Journal contributes a few too. Hobbes makes an appearance in their lead editorial today:

Hobbes in Sudan
What a world without U.S. power looks like.

which we suppose makes Bush=Leviathan. And Hobbes was even busier in Christopher Hitchens' piece in the Journal on Tuesday (the one with the bizarre Cyprus reference):

It is not merely civil strife that is partly innate in the very make-up of Iraq. There could be an even worse war, of the sort that Thomas Hobbes pictured: a "war of all against all" in which localized gangs and mafias would become rulers of their own stretch of turf ... America's mistake in Lebanon was first to intervene in a way that placed us on one minority side -- that of the Maronites and their Israeli patrons -- and then to scuttle and give Hobbes his mandate for the next 10 years.

Then David Brooks in the New York Times (subs. req'd) checks in:

European conservatives from Edmund Burke to Michael Oakeshott usefully remind us of the power of culture and tradition. But American conservatives — from Hamilton to Reagan — have never taken that path precisely because they believe in the power of the American creed, precisely because they have an Enlightenment faith in the power of reason to change minds.

Our quick interpretation would be that the smart (sic) conservatives (sic) are flailing around for a new anchor now that George W. Bush can't run for election anymore and find their bookshelf a more reliable altar than the current state of the Republican party. But we'll return to this trend if it seems to be going anywhere.

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