The art of politics is the art of integration

Daniel McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative, quotes postwar conservative writer Peter Viereck:

The Western heritage is not diversity alone nor unity alone but diversity within unity. Being a Christian-Hebraic-Roman-Hellenic amalgam, with inner contradictions sometimes reconciled but sometimes not, the Western heritage allows for a generous dose of tolerant pluralism. If you make no allowance for pluralism and and aim at too much unity, you will get no unity at all; you will only provoke the same internal strife and chaos that you condemn in those who seek too little unity.

McCarthy concludes:

The art of politics—especially for the traditional conservative, who shuns utopian dreams of making men all alike, whether in class, creed, virtue, race, or anything else—has always been the art of integration: reconciling hoi polloiand hoi aristoi, the rich and the poor in the Greek city state; reconciling Catholic and Protestant, Scots and English in the United Kingdom; keeping intact the polyglot empire of Austria-Hungary or the racially and regionally divided United States. The challenges the U.S. faces today are not different in kind from those that other polities have confronted in the past, with various degrees of success; conservatism’s task is to serve as the pin that holds together a society in whirl.

“Outsider Conservatism” (The American Conservative)


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