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Why The Environmentalist Stance Is A Conservative Stance – Quotes from Andrew Sullivan
November 21, 2008, 8:38 am
Filed under: Culture, Politics

At the core of conservatism, after all, is the word “conserve”. The earth is something none of us can own or control. It is something far older than our limited minds can even imagine. Our task is therefore a modest one: of stewardship, the quintessential conservative occupation.

Conservatives do not seek to remake the world anew. We do not hope to impose upon it some abstract ideological “truth” or bring about some new age for humanity. We seek as conservatives merely to live up to our generational responsibility and to care for the inheritance we have in turn been given. This ecological vision is a Burkean one, which is why Toryism’s natural colour is as much green as blue.


When an old tree is uprooted by a storm, when an old church is razed or an old factory turned into loft apartment, we all sense that something has been lost — if not the actual thing then the attachments that people, past and present, have forged with it, the web of emotion and loyalty and fondness that makes a person’s and a neighbourhood’s life a coherent story.

Human beings live by narrative. We become sad when a familiar character disappears from a soap opera, or an acquaintance moves, or an institution becomes unrecognisable from what it once was. These little griefs are what build a conservative temperament. They interrupt our story, and our story is what makes sense of our lives. So we resist the interruption, and when we resist it we are conservatives.


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