The Elusive Oakeshott

Here is a characteristically lucid piece by Ken Minogue on Oakeshott’s supposed conservatism. It should be noted that conservatism as Oakeshott understood it, is an anathema to “conservatism” understood in the American context. I take the view that these the terms are not at all helpful and are, for the most part, vulgarized. Oakeshott was merely an epistemological skeptic and had a “high” liberality as his central value. (By the way, I don’t view Minogue’s characterization of Hayek as a libertarian as particularly accurate, but that’s a side issue). Oakeshott understood that culture was necessarily dynamic: a culture that didn’t change or was frozen by a nostalgic foundationalism, was moribund.

P.S. Thanks to Gene Callahan for alerting me to Minogue’s piece.