Like most conversations in the public sphere this is one that is only informed by contemporary journalist babble, and the rhetoric of political hacks. Sadly, this mere bit of knowledge suffices.
If the world of the chatting classes were more populated with people who actually read history, we could have a discussion about Oakeshott and his opponents, or what Hayek was on about.
The short answer, however, is that Americans have difficulty processing the idea that there are classes of people and that everyone doesn’t (and shouldn’t) know the exact same thing. What Conservatives wanted out of the ruling class never really applied to the masses. So in fact it is indeed unfair to democratize such social strictures. I don’t think any Tory would care how the average Jamaican immigrant pronounced his vowels or how long his dreadlocks would be or what herb he packed between his cheek and gums. He wouldn’t be expected to testify before the House of Lords on any account and thus his personal demeanor, or sex life were of no consequence whatsoever. But to assume the responsibilities of high office require a strict adherence to a measured form of behavior and ethics which we clearly see our current candidates lack entirely.
If a Tory opposed public schools, it would have been in an era where the relative ignorance and chaos of the masses were abundantly clear. I can hear a Tory arguing…
“What is the point of a public school, if all it delivers unto society are the likes of squabbling idiots like Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman? We’d be better off without it as it adds tax expense to the government without any evidence of benefit to the hoards. What mathematics will they learn? None! They’ll walk like zombie sheep through the streets chasing Pokemon without the slightest idea of how their smartphone masters operate. They’ll vote for charlatans and whores. It will be the ruination of the public sphere as they propagate their pornography and pratfalls on YouTube. This my fellow powdered Whigs is what we would deliver to our children should we choose to ‘educate’ these masses. We’d all be better off having them all work in the factories. Something they themselves will only discover and admit after spending years in prison. “
In the end, myself personally, I find that in this era it is quite difficult to rise from poverty and illiteracy into the ranks of an independent, moral man of means which is the model upon which our Founders modeled this republic. Why? Because such a small fraction of the public will ultimately bother to read the books and educate themselves according to the actual truth of history and civilization.
We acknowledge the elites among us without bothering to understand how and why they exists, and therefore attack them blindly. This is the age of Morlock America, and of course the Morlocks don’t even know why they are called that. So it comes as no surprise that those who would demand equality, as if it were some trick or treat candy, argue how important their diversity is as they block highways knowing full well that walking across freeways and fighting cops gets one killed.
We have come to the moment where a former military officer, who has sold state secrets to the enemies of America is defended. A man who complains that others won’t change his sex for him, and is now trying to sue because he failed to commit suicide and his jailers punished him for it. The traitor to whom he leaked documents is now the hero of a popular movie across the country.
What indeed is worth conserving?
Well, I know what is worth conserving and there is little question in my mind. Whether or not zillions of tweets get those matters communicated to the interwebz is really none of my concern. I’m not sure today’s mainstream politics will ever figure that out, and so the American poets of the 21st Century may end up as maudlin as the Russians of the 20th.
But there will be poetry.
I close in reminding all readers here that for the overwhelming majority of human history, people were not educated in free government schools. They were homeschooled, or not schooled at all. Are we learning yet?