Conservatism = patriotism?
The late great English political philosopher Roger Scruton seems to have thought that patriotism is in fact the origin of conservatism. There are many passages in his writings where he might as well be talking about patriotism when he is trying to define conservatism.
I think the close alliance between conservatism and patriotism is an important insight. Leftists often seem to be unpatriotic and if Scruton is right they HAVE to be unpatriotic. The relationship between conservatism and patriotism is organic. They are not two branches of the same tree. They are one single tree.
I won't try to do a scour through his writings in order to demonstrate that but I do give below some passages from an article in the WSJ that he wrote in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks
It is a tautology to say that a conservative is a person who wants to conserve things; the question is what things? To this I think we can give a simple one-word answer, namely: us. At the heart of every conservative endeavor is the effort to conserve a historically given community. In any conflict the conservative is the one who sides with "us" against "them"--not knowing, but trusting. He is the one who looks for the good in the institutions, customs and habits that he has inherited. He is the one who seeks to defend and perpetuate an instinctive sense of loyalty, and who is therefore suspicious of experiments and innovations that put loyalty at risk.
Sept. 11 raised the question: Who are we, that they should attack us, and what justifies our existence as a "we"? American conservatism is an answer to that question. "We the people," it says, constitute a nation, settled in a common territory under a common rule of law, bound by a single Constitution and a common language and culture. Our primary loyalty is to this nation, and to the secular and territorially based jurisdiction that makes it possible for our nation to endure. Our national loyalty is inclusive, and can be extended to newcomers, but only if they assume the duties and responsibilities, as well as the rights, of citizenship. And it is reinforced by customs and habits that have their origin in the Judeo-Christian inheritance, and which must be constantly refreshed from that source if they are to endure.
In the modern context, the American conservative is an opponent of "multiculturalism," and of the liberal attempt to sever the Constitution from the religious and cultural inheritance that first created it.
For the conservative temperament the future is the past. Hence, like the past, it is knowable and lovable. It follows that by studying the past of America--its traditions of enterprise, risk-taking, fortitude, piety and responsible citizenship--you can derive the best case for its future: a future in which the national loyalty will endure, holding things together, and providing all of us, liberals included, with our required sources of hope.
Sept. 11 was a wake-up call through which liberals have managed to go on dreaming. American conservatives ought to seize the opportunity to utter those difficult truths which have been censored out of recent debate: truths about national loyalty, about common culture and about the duties of citizenship. You never know, Middle America might actually recognize itself at last, when addressed in this way.
Scruton was also spot-on here
"The Left is united by hatred, but we are united by love: love of our country, love of institutions, love of the law, love of family, and so on... what makes us conservatives is the desire to protect those things, and we're up against people who want to destroy them."
There are also some good quotes from here in which we see his conception of a close interrelationship between patriotism and conservatism
So do I agree with Scruton? I think I do. I have long seen hate and anger as the wellspring of Leftism and that seems inimical to love of country.
My previous comments on Scruton are here and here
I must stress in closing that we are talking here about the wellsprings of conservatism rather than day to day political issues. Patriots can and do have different opinions about current issues. There are even some gullible conservatives who think anthropogenic global warming is a thing