Introduction to the first issue of The European Conservative.
I am often reminded of the story Andras Lanczi told us at the last Vanenburg Meeting about what it would take for conservatism to fail. He had been to a conference in Krakow where the participants (from both Europe and the USA) were considering the characteristic features of the contemporary Left.
They seem to have agreed that the Left is superior to the Right, or conservatives, in that the Left is against exclusion of any sort, and is organized internationally. The conservatives are separated by boundaries such as nation, culture, religion, tradition. While this is a criticism that we European conservatives should not take lightly, it should be noted that if it were fully correct, then this anecdote would not have reached you, and this newsletter would not be in existence.
The Center for European Renewal and our Vanenburg Meetings are doing something that has not been done well before, but it is not a conservative revolution. By force of circumstance and the accidents of history, we are compelled to temper the more exclusive and local of our commitments for the sake of what binds us in the West together. As they would say in America, “This ain’t your parents’ conservatism.” Some ‘conservatisms’ of the past have been too locally-minded. Contrarily, the conservatism in America, at least on the popular level, aspires toward a universal idealism at the expense of the local. But our unity in this conservative cause, and the ideas that bind us, are not a negation of those ligaments of local and national bodies. They are in fact a recapitulation of the very stuff out of which each great European culture is formed. We are merely re-presenting it. In the best sense of the word we are conservationists here to conserve and hand on our nations’ and civilization’s patrimony to posterity.
In the Center for European Renewal (CER) I have invested my hope for the international gathering and cooperation of European conservatives (and all those from elsewhere who are sympathetic to their cause). Our summer conference is our great annual event that should serve as the capstone of each year’s activities. This year in Madrid we will address the greatest rupture in the settled institutions of Europe in recent history: the Cultural Revolution of 1968. Being forty years removed from this singular event and its consequences has allowed time for thought and assessment. Much is in print about the Cultural Revolution. Nevertheless, it is rare that a critical assessment of the “Spirit of ’68” is heard. CER intends to work with our American friends at ISI Books to publish an edited volume containing European conservative perspectives on the “Spirit of ’68” and the future of Europe.
The European Conservative will arrive in your inbox a few times a year. Within its pages we will publish country reports and book reviews; introduce you to institutes, conferences, and publications germane to conservatism; and update you on forthcoming CER events.