by S. M. Hutchens
When progressivism and conservatism are treated as habits of mind or purely philosophical viewpoints, they (not unlike Stoicism and Epicureanism) may be freely abstracted from life and in an abstract state treated dialectically as complementary modalities. But as soon as a historical-existential (i.e., non-abstract) component is introduced, those who use the terms become responsible for defining them in accordance with the reality of things.
I have noticed that people who call themselves moderates typically wish to level a skewed moral playing field (one in which, for example, progressives privilege sodomy and want the Ten Commandments removed from public view) by equalizing conservatism and progressivism, treating the latter in accordance with its more abstract form as forward-looking open-mindedness, but burdening conservatism with its more vicious, unjustly repressive historical expressions, in line with the polemics necessary to establish and defend modern liberalism. (I won't blame Norman Podhoretz for this observation, but derived it from pondering his Why Are Jews Liberals?) This kind of "moderate" is in fact, in accord with the reality of his associations, a partisan—thinly but ostentatiously clad in the mantle of objectivity.
S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor.
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
more on history from the online archives
• Subscribers: Manage your subscription account here.
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives