The radicalism of Edmund Burke?
I admit that I haven't read him for many a moon (but should have done) and so have likely absorbed much of my interpretation of his philosophy from the evocations of him by conservatives I do read. Imagine my surprise to read this piece by Corey Robin which makes the case that contrary to popular myth, the modern conservative movement didn't become radical and betray Burke's true philosophy. According to him, it was always radical.
I won't excerpt any of it here. Just read the piece, if you're interested. But from my point of view, it rings very true, mostly because it captures the essence of what I think of as visceral envy on the right --- a belief that the other side is just living more fully in the moment, with more commitment and joie de vivre. Indeed, I have long made the case that all these conservative middle aged baby boomers of the Tea Party are just finally having their "woodstock" --- which you'll recall, they literally proclaimed about dozens of their early rallies.The radicals have all the fun.
There's much more substance to it, of course which Robin's piece goes into. (There is a fair smattering of fear, for instance, that the Jacobins had nothing to lose so they would do anything, something that Burke believed was a huge strength.) In any case, it's a fascinating piece that's worth thinking about as we watch these right wingers fulfill the radical dreams(?) of Edmund Burke.
Update: Everyone's saying that Robin's new book on this very subject, The Reactionary Mind is awesome.