Month: August 2017

Conservatism favors variety in all things

Henry Ford once said people could buy a Model T in any color ... as long as it was black. That assembly-line standardization proved efficient and effective for a few years, but if Ford hadn’t eventually yielded to other colors would his company have survived long enough to crowd our highways with all of these F-150s? No, because the automobile market thrives on variety, as do all markets, be they comprised of goods or services ... or even of people, their lifestyles, and especially their ideas. Conservatives have long known this, and we have seen this principle of variety successfully at work in the economy – from finance to industry to agriculture – and in education, the arts, certainly in politics, and even in war. The late historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote that because of our adherance to the principle of variety, conservatives remain “cognizant that proliferating variety is the mark of a healthful society.” This is the essence of diversity. Progressives, however, often see the condition of variety as inherently unfair, unjust, perhaps immoral, because with variety comes inequality; someone will always have a good or service – and definitely an idea – that’s better or worse than what someone else has. On that last point, conservative thinker Russell Kirk agreed. “For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality” Kirk wrote, adding that the only true equality comes before a just court…