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DavidV

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The late William F. Buckley was one of the leading American conservatives of his time. He reveals, here, that his sympathies in 1776 would have been with the Loyalist side. His older brother James was a Senator for Conservative Party of New York, after an upset win in 1970.

This came from an older post on MadMonarchist's blog. And it is certainly true that while we may oppose the American Revolution in principle, and the Loyalist assessment of it is correct (certainly from a Canadian or Australian perspective), it is also true that the American Revolution was not the sort of evil and destructive process that the French and Russian revolutions were. People like George Washington and John Adams represented the more moderate and pragmatic faction in comparison to radicals like Thomas Jefferson, and indeed Adams was horrified by the French Revolution.

We thus understand too that in the English-speaking world, what we understand as conservatism is rather more liberal than what it was on the continent or Latin America- politics post-1690 and post-1776 respectively being evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
Sujit

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Well me and  my class say that the Democrat is like our (semi-far?)right, and that the republicans is like a super-duper-far-right party not seen in Norway.
BaronVonServers

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If you going to do politics, I think the compass comes closer to being 'useful'

http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

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DavidV

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Depending on whether you see Right and Left in pure economic terms, or in much broader (and more important for me) social, cultural and historical questions. And a European or other conservative monarchist could, in an American sense, find themselves comfortable on the "right" of the Democratic Party.
royalcello

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidV
He reveals, here, that his sympathies in 1776 would have been with the Loyalist side.


That isn't exactly what he says though.  Buckley's first comment is that he thinks he would have been on the side of George Washington, before going on to indicate some respect for the Loyalist point of view and admitting that had they captured him the British would have been justified in hanging Washington.  Still, by American standards that's a commendably nuanced answer.

I believe Robert Bork actually did say privately that he would have been a Loyalist in 1776.
DavidV

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And Bork, like the Buckley brothers (and Pat Buchanan) is Catholic too! Buckley said "not absolutely sure" and that he was on the whole opposed to revolution. They go on to talk about "revolutionary justice" which, about which we only know all too well in history.

Just listening to Buckley, makes it all too depressing to think few if anybody in present-day American politics have anything like his intellect, at least nationally.
mcpheery

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The American war of independence was a war of secession, not a real revolution. The most influential and important people in the colonies remained the most important people after the war. The war was between Whigs, who believed in aristocracy above monarchy, and Tories, who believed in the opposite. While the Whigs weren't exactly conservative in the, they were rightist, even if they indulged in Enlightenment ideals. Many of the most important figures in the revolution were aristocrats from Europe (think of the Marquis de Lafayette), and King Louis XVI, who was hardly a reactionary and may very well have been a Free Mason like Washington, was instrumental in the success of the rebels.

  Not surprised by Buckley's answer. Traditional Catholics distrust revolution, and the downfall of Altar and Throne is hardly in line with traditional Catholic teachings. Modern American rightists talk about the pious Christian Founding Father's, but most of the Founding Father's were deists, not proper Christians, and the deist/agnostic worldview is visible in the Declaration of Independence. Still, the American system of government was a rather good one (before being distorted) if not ideal.

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DavidV

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And my most recent comments on the subject on Facebook:
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This remarkable conversation between William Buckley and Huey Newton in the 1970s merits discussion even today. Buckley gave a very interesting and nuanced answer to Newton's question regarding the American Revolution.

As an obvious Royalist, I can criticise the American Revolution (albeit not with the same vigour with some) because it was, objectively, a hypocritical and unjustified rebellion by a slave-owning elite against a lawful colonial government. However, unlike what we come to know as revolution, this was pretty mild and really more like a war of secession - no king was killed or overthrown, and the Founders didn't attempt to create some artificial utopian society. Britain could expand her Empire (as other European powers did) afterwards.

Anyway, Buckley gives the answer that even though he would have sided with Washington, the colonial authorities would have been justified in whatever punishment would be metered out had the Founders (or Patriots) lost.

Now we turn our thoughts to Syria today. The Syrian rebels have, in fact, a more legitimate cause than the American Founders did in 1776. This is not an exaggeration but a fact based on time and circumstance. They are not rebelling against established lawful authority but against a thoroughly evil regime. There was justice and rule of law in the colonies, there is no justice and rule of law in Syria. Did the good King George III attempt to regulate every aspect of Americans' lives, or mass imprisonment, torture and killing of those who disagree? He didn't, couldn't have, and wouldn't have. Neither did the much-criticised Shah of Iran.

Whereas the monster Bashar Al-Assad, like his father Hafez Al-Assad, has done all of those things and more, resulting in the total destruction of Syria, in fact destruction on a scale unseen since 1914-18 and 1939-45.

 
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