Conservatism roots in the crucial fact that one cannot just abandon the status quo but has to replace it with something detailed and specific.
However, this sort of conservatism does not come cheap.
Yet another and decidedly different mode of conservatism opens up at this point.
The adherents of this mode of what might be termed presumptive conservatism develop the case for their change-resistant position along the following lines:
The Social Credit populism of the North American plains owes little to Burkean conservatism.
If one sees North America as Burke did, seeded by England, shaped by English laws, and devoted to English liberties, the belief that this is true conservatism may be a just one.
Each book, not surprisingly, concludes on a pessimistic note about the prospects for conservatism in America, For Farber, these twin tensions suggest that American conservatism may have "outlasted its historic purpose.
Each in its own way--realism and neocon-servatism in foreign policy, libertarianism and social conservatism in domestic policy--exhibits a kind of humility about human abilities.
It's simply that if we lend the four conservative doctrines what the legal scholar Ronald Dworkin calls a "constructive interpretation"--a constructive interpretation looks for the best, most appealing norm that a set of doctrines can be "taken to serve or express or exemplify"--then that norm is humility in the case of American conservatism.
Though it is perhaps less obvious, conservatism's two interventionisms, foreign-policy neoconservatism and domestic-policy social conservatism, also fundamentally display a temperament of humility.
Yet his learned and fair-minded reconstruction lends support to the view that the proper way forward for conservatives is neither greater purity nor a more perfect unity, but a richer appreciation of the paradoxes of modern conservatism and a more assiduous cultivation of the moderation that is necessary to hold conservatism's diverse elements, frequently both complementary and conflicting, in proper balance.
According to Allitt, conservatism is, first, "an attitude to social and political change that looks for support to the ideas, beliefs, and habits of the past and puts more faith in the lessons of history than in the abstractions of political philosophy.
But unlike so many partisan critics of conservatism who are only too happy to define conservatism by and dilate upon its worst moments, Allitt, without sweeping its lapses and bad tendencies under the rug, seeks to understand conservatism in light of its most thoughtful expounders and influential practitioners.