The American Tory

The American Tory

The American Tory

The American Tory

Excerpt

The conservative is by nature fearful. He risks only when confronted with no other alternative. He has courage, but only to face the known. He cannot project that courage into the future. In short, the conservative lacks daring and foresight; he holds, instead, an ability to innovate only within the narrow confines of the status quo. Conservatives are admired; but only those who dare are idolized, at least, those who dare successfully.

The American Tory has borne a double burden of historical and popular disapproval, since he could not envision future greatness as a separate nation and was long judged and condemned as unpatriotic. He espoused a political philosophy that was grounded in tradition, in stable law, and long-polished justice. His arguments were, in more cases than not, well-reasoned, erudite, and ponderous with precedent. But the question must be asked: when must uncertain change take precedence over established belief? To the Tory mind gradual change was the utopian way; swift transition led only to chaos, anarchy, and the displacement, forever, of classical beauty. To his mind present evil was to be borne stoically, for a future grounded in tradition would erase his suffering. He could not see that such gradualism frequently results in complacency. Tradition very often loses its humanity and tries to find fulfillment in security.

Tories came from all classes, but many were of the intellectual elite who had a suspicion of common democracy. To be administered well, they believed, government must be composed of men competent to govern, and such men were found only in the upper class. Would not a revolution spew up uneducated leaders of an undisciplined following, demagogues with no sense of the past and little concern for the future? The Tories believed their political position was unassailable, based as it was on calm reason and dispassionate judgment, the fruit of their education and social position. The decision to remain loyal stemmed from long, hard scrutiny, close examination through logic, and reasoned argument. It was not that they loved America less, but, inbred as it was in them, they could not go against what they most deeply believed. Their beliefs were . . .

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