Twenty-first Century Conservatism

I can hear the howls in the audience already, given the title of this post….

Jordan Peterson gave a presentation entitled “12 principles for a 21st century conservatism.”  While I will not cover all twelve, there are several that dovetail nicely with topics discussed here and with my views of the cultural soil required if one wishes to develop and maintain a reasonably libertarian social order.

As I am taking his comments from a video and not a transcript, I have done my best to capture the words and the intent.

The fundamental assumptions of western civilization are valid.  He determines this with simple, rhetorical questions: Which countries do people want to move away from?  Which countries do people want to move to?

What does he mean by “valid”?  He does not describe it in this presentation, however given what he has said elsewhere is seems to me that “valid” is something like that which sustains and improves life.  In other words, people aren’t moving to the west (and avoiding places like Africa and much of Asia) because they hope that their lives will worsen.

Peaceful social being is preferable to isolation and to war; this demands some sacrifice of individual impulse and idiosyncrasy.  Yes, I know this isn’t the NAP.  But without “peaceful social being,” there is no chance that a society will approach and / or remain reasonably close to a libertarian society. It requires something of each individual within that society – something that I have described as agreeing to live in a manner that accords with the generally accepted culture and traditions.

The idea of egalitarianism is folly.  I don’t think I need expand on this for this audience; in any case, I am thinking to write something on this topic in the next several days.

Borders and limits on immigration are reasonable.  He makes an interesting argument about borders: we have borders around everything – our property, our relationships, and our time (I hadn’t thought of that).  Without borders, everything mashes into untenable chaos.  As to immigration, he really put it well (paraphrased):

A complex system cannot tolerate extensive transformation over too short a time.  Arms-open-to-everyone immigration policy is rubbish.  It should not be assumed that citizens of societies that have not evolved functional individual rights-predicated polities will hold values in keeping with such polities.

[And in his dripping, sarcastic tone] Don’t assume that when they immigrate that they will have their innate democratic longings flourish.

Respecting the value of the traditional nuclear family.  It looks like that structure worked quite well for the duration of mankind, maybe we should leave it alone.

Government should leave each of us alone as much as possible.  He offers an argument similar to Hayek’s “The Pretense of Knowledge” speech.


None really.  I know it isn’t plumb-line libertarianism, but it does support what I believe to be necessary if one wants to ever see something approaching that plumb-line libertarianism come to fruition.  Which you would think, after all, is the objective.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.