F.A. Hayek, “Why I Am Not a Conservative,” in The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
This is valuable in so far as it applies to history, though there wasn’t much liberal about attempts to recreate the English aristocracy in the colonial and antebellum South. It doesn’t, however, contribute much to any understanding of American politics, whether that of today or that of 1960. As I’ve said before, conservatism is best understood as an ideology interested in preserving prevailing power structures — and that was an interest that the powerful quickly developed in the New World, even if it was something they didn’t bring along with them.
This quote is followed up with a protest that “some time before this, American radicals and socialists began calling themselves “liberals,” which is a real “fuck off, Hayek” moment, because by this time the serfdom his “socialists” had supposedly set society on the road toward had completely failed to materialize. This misgiving over nomenclature was either opposed to a tiny minority of real socialists, in which case, there were still many mainstream liberals who could accurately describe themselves as such, or he is mistakenly identifying mainstream liberals as socialists. Neither makes sense.