Conquest’s First Law…

The historian Robert Conquest died yesterday. One thing he was famous for, as well as writing poems and exposing Soviet tyranny, was his “Three Laws of Politics”: the first of which was “everyone is conservative about what he knows best”. How true was this? A social science professor probably knows social science best but he or she is probably quite radical about it. Perhaps Conquest’s Law is most applicable where enterprises involve practical wisdom, with all the particulars of concrete affections, concrete risks and concrete losses than can teach us of the value of caution and prudence. Perhaps a fault of times is that more people are allowed to live in a world of comfortable abstractions.

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