‘Conservatism is committed to a presumption in favor of tradition. Presumptions by their nature are rebuttable. Law is filled with presumptions… There is a legal presumption that people accused of crimes are innocent. To a conservative, traditions are innocent until proved guilty.’
This idea ties in nicely with a US government funded study of the psychology of conservatism, published last year by some of Stanford, California and Maryland Universities’ finest minds. Amongst other things, they discovered rightwing thinkers to be rather dogmatic and averse to ambiguity. So BJ calls on us to follow tradition dogmatically, without proving its value first and he talks of black and white concepts like innocence and guilt.
Yet BJ talks in the abstract, neither defining his traditions nor the crimes of which they’re accused. And he talks as if a tradition accused is on a par with a person accused of crime, which is just silly. Of course, leftwing thinkers – and US liberals – do care less for tradition. They tend to concern themselves with issues like prejudice, poverty and inequality; aberrations they regard as criminal. And all too often they find dogmatic, traditional values – a woman’s place in the home, say – at the root of these crimes.