Introducing Conservative Pathways

The world presently stands at a fateful crossroads, and the conservative movement is no exception. Writers and pundits have spilled much ink on whether the movement is dead, dying, warped, or has a bright future.

But what all these prognostications miss is the fundamental reorienting and transformation of conservative thought, from an almost exclusively European phenomenon to a global one. It is not just one trek leading straight from ancient Greece to Europe to America through Buckley, Kirk and Burke. Modern conservative thinking now emanates from all corners of the globe: From Africa and Asia, Europe and the Americas, from men and women of different faiths and philosophies.

They came to us through different paths to meet us at this crossroads, and many potential directions now lay before them. Some lead to dead ends. Others run in a circle. Some will claim that all the roads lead to one destination — and that destination is disputed — while others will argue that we must tread different paths while sharing ideas with each other while walking on parallel roads.

Conservative Pathways is aimed at capturing some of that richness. We aim to be a platform which gives expression to the paths which brought us here, the dilemmas we face at the forks in the road, and the directions we wish to take. We believe that by learning, rethinking, fine-tuning, and talking to each other, we can rebuild a conservative realm where we all learn and grow, even when we inevitably disagree.

Our publication is not solely or even mainly interested in the politics of the moment, with its rapid fire “hot takes” and superficial thinking. Conservative thinking, in all its forms, stresses the eternal and long lasting, the private, the communal, and the cultural. Politics is an important part of what we do, but it is not and will never be the whole story.

As Pathways aims to cultivate conversation and healthy, reasoned debate, we invite people who are not conservative to come and engage with us. Maybe you have an idea you think would be of interest to us. Maybe you think something which concerns you should also worry us. Maybe you have an interesting personal story related to what we talk about. Whatever it is, we’d like to hear from you.

As the name suggests, Conservative Pathways is not some exclusive club or church. We recognize the different voices and ideas among conservatives and do not aim to enforce a rigid party line. So long as submissions are reasoned, civil, and aim at constructive dialogue, they are welcome.

Having said what we are, let’s talk a bit about what we are not. This publication is not partisan. Conservative ideas do not “belong” to any party or tribe; they belong to humanity, including people who for various reasons will not vote for parties on the right. Having already been exiled to the wilderness, we intend to make full use of the intellectual independence it brings. We will speak what we think to be truth here, and will praise or criticize based on that alone.

This publication will also not tolerate bigotry. Since the word has been much abused, let’s establish a simple definition: Bigotry is hatred of people-as-such. Muslims as such, LGBTs as such, White men or Black men or men as such, women as such, Democrats or Republicans as such. Reasoned criticism will not be allowed to devolve into sweeping generalizations or dehumanization. People who want glorified online burning in effigy of their “enemies” are invited to look elsewhere.

Finally, this publication will not abandon liberal democracy. It has become quite popular in certain intellectual circles and some groups to reject democracy and equal citizenship in favor of various forms of non-democracy, whether it be old monarchies or futuristic paternalistic authoritarianism. We summarily and unequivocally reject them all. For all its flaws, liberal democracy and its principles of human moral equality and rights are the best bulwark against tyranny or abuse, and here we will fight for them against all comers, right or left.

We welcome you, and hope that you will enjoy and participate in the exploration and journeys in the great adventure we call conservatism here at Conservative Pathways. You can find us here on Twitter and here on Facebook.

Avi Woolf, Editor-in-Chief