Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The conservative mind

Looking over at the New Criterion website, we find a review of Robin Harris's book The Conservatives: A History, featuring a telling quote from the Marquess of Salisbury:
One element of his fame results from a remark reported by his wife when, casually coming into the family drawing room after a morning at his desk, he said he did not understand what people meant by the “burden of responsibility.” One makes one’s decision in terms of the materials available, he said, “and not in the least upon the magnitude of the results which may follow. With the results I have nothing to do.
Liberalism, indeed, is all about the results. Conservatives, pace Salisbury, care intensely about the results—lower taxes for the rich, for instance—but can't get away with saying so, hence they have to pretend their decisions are based on principles ("no new taxes!").

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