I think the key distinction to keep in mind here is between relative and absolute conservatism. We can be conservative relative to a stipulated status quo. That relative conservatism can be self-refuting, as I say in the article, since if the status quo was built as radical progress, you'd be conserving anti-conservative progress (progress away from the absolute status quo, from animality).

Now you could still be a relative conservative as a practical matter, since as you say, that particular status quo may make for a stable, healthy society compared to the alternatives on offer.

But then would come a question of attitude: if that status quo is in fact modern, meaning it's opposed to Tradition in the absolute sense (taking into account the sweep of human history), the conservative who isn't interested in perpetrating a fraud would have to own up to the fact that progressive projects evidently worked in the past. So why couldn't they keep working?

The battle in this "political spectrum," then, wouldn't be between conservatives and liberals. Those labels would only obscure what's going on since the true debate would be between two types of progressive, the one that's happy with the old, established progress and the one that's inspired by that progress and wants to build on it in consistent fashion. That would put things into a new perspective, wouldn't it? "Conservatives" would be forced to get off their high horse and lose their smugness and sanctimonious appeals to archaic religious traditions which have been defeated by that established progress (by modernity).

As for the recent radicalism in Britain, isn't that caused more by so-called conservatives than progressives? I'm talking about the demagoguery of Brexit, and the Trumpian appeal to racism to detach the country from the EU to enable neoliberals from the financial sector to deepen the social inequalities. This radicalism would be an undoing of the status quo of liberal modernity, by way of returning to conservatism in the absolute sense, to what I'm calling sheer animality, the dominance hierarchy or power pyramid favoured by the social Darwinists who dress up their savagery as "conservatism" or "libertarianism."

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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