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  • Richard Farr

Putting the con in Conservative

Politics is no longer divided between liberals and conservatives. I think what really happened in politics in the last ten or fifteen years, in Isreal, in the US, in Brazil in other countries, is that the conservatives committed suicide. There are no longer conservative parties in many of these countries. You know, the main idea of being conservative is to conserve. You are the party, the conservatives, who conserve - institutions, traditions, and so forth - and then you have the liberal progressives who are like, no, things are not good enough; we want to change this, we want to get rid of that. This is the traditional politics. And over the last ten or fifteen years one conservative party after another just committed suicide, or disappeared, and was replaced by a radical, revolutionary party. You look at people like Netanyahu now in Israel and his supporters, or Trump in the United States, they are revolutionary. They want to destroy institutions, they want to destroy traditions. The conservative ideology’s founding moment is the French Revolution. The masses are storming the Bastille and you have Burke saying “No, this is not good; this will end badly.” This is kind of the founding myth of conservatism. And now you have the sixth of January, another Bastille Day - and the so-called conservative party is clapping, it’s cheering.

Yuval Noah Harari (interview, August 2023)


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