Red Tory fever has arrived. Traditionalists should pay attention. Theologian and Tory guru Phillip Blond is here lecturing at Georgetown’s Tocqueville Forum and at Villanova University. See here for Blond’s host Patrick Deenan’s post on the Front Porch Republic.
For an introduction to the Red Tories, drop by the website of their thinktank, ResPublica.and wondering if New York conservatives have anything to learn from their British cousins. Could American “conservatives” be edified by an injection of Red Toryism? The possibility intrigues. I remain skeptical of the English Red Tory movement. Skeptical that it will be a passing fad, a gimmick that will leave its adherents jaded by business as usual. Nothing more than another form of big government, “compassionate conservatism”. Or it could be something more… something … well… conservative. Only time will tell.
No matter what they do on the other side of the pond, there are things American conservatives can learn from the Red Tories. Or maybe learn is not the right word. Conservatives on this side of the pond do not so much need to learn from the Red Tories, but to be reminded by them. Reminded of things they have known and defended but that have fallen by the ways side. Below are five truths, rooted in our conservative tradition that the Red Tories can help us rediscover. First, the Red Tories remind us that civil society matters. We are all in this together. Theologically we calls this the principle of solidarity and it reminds us that a cold libertarianism can never replace authentic, family and community based conservatism. Second, the Red Tories remind us that markets must be moral. A humane economy is the purpose of our economic freedom. Third, the Red Tories remind us that small is beautiful. Too big to fail is too big to exist. Fourth, the Red Tories remind us that localism can save democracy. Power is responsive to the people when exercised by folks you see at the grocery store. Finally, the Red Tories remind us that conservatives conserve. Our communities, our schools, our traditions and our environment. If Phillip Blond can help us recover these things, his trip will be welcome indeed.