Yes, I like The Shire

In his New York Times column last Sunday, Ross Douthat remarked

The teenage nerd enters conservatism through either Atlas Shrugged or Lord of the Rings, and between Tolkienists like myself and the Randians a great gulf is often fixed.

There someone goes mentioning Atlas Shrugged again as if it were pervasive. Haven’t read it. Did read some Heinlein and LeGuin along with the Tolkien. But I feel like any conservative inclinations I have are more due to my father and mother, and their parents, than to a written work, though I can say that my attraction to anarchism was prompted more by LeGuin than Tolstoy, since I’ve not read any Tolstoy.

I do think of myself as conservative, though my understanding of the term puts me at odds with those who see conservatism as the implacable enemy of the liberal, or who think today’s Republican party is conservative (or today’s Democratic party, liberal). No, instead I see conservatism as something very simple: understanding that there is value in the things that are even if we can’t tell what that value might be, and so any changes are best minimal and moderate. This inclination fights constantly with the urge to destroy everything in order to start anew. These are trying times.


Also published on Medium.