Conservatism’s most conspicuous difficulty in our time is that conservative leaders confront a people who have come to look upon society, vaguely, as a homogeneous mass of identical individuals whose happiness may be obtained by direction from above, through legislation or some scheme of public instruction. Conservatives endeavor to teach humanity once more that the germ of public affections (in Burke’s words) is “to learn to love the little platoon we belong to in society.” A task for conservative leaders is to reconcile individualism—which sustained nineteenth century life even while it starved the soul of the nineteenth century—with the sense of community that ran strong in Burke and Adams. If conservatives cannot redeem the modern masses from the sterile modern mass–mind, then a miserable collectivism impoverishing body and soul impends over Britain and America—the collectivism that has submerged Eastern Europe and much of Asia and Africa, the collectivism (as Orwell wrote) of “the stream-lined men who think in slogans and talk in bullets.” (The Conservative Mind)
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