Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created.
Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk.
Here again, with this principle, I find myself agreeing and disagreeing. Certainly people are imperfect. Some moreso than others. I know of noone who'd argue to the contrary.
However, my faith system teaches me to pray and act, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Perhaps a key phrase would be the “utopian domination,” Kirk references. Surely, people chaff under restrictions imposed upon them – even restrictions for noble purposes (see Prohibition, both of alcohol in the past and of other drugs presently).
To this extent, both conservatives and liberals (on different issues) are correctly wary of imposed morality. At the same time, we are called upon by our humanitarianism as well as our God (for those of us who believe in such) to work for a better world.
Who can disagree with wanting to end hunger? War? Pollution?
Myself, I don't share Kirk's pessimistic view that “to seek for utopia is to end in disaster.” The anabaptists (Amish, Mennonites, etc) have done it and done it remarkably well, I'd say. And they're not the only ones. In Kirk's defense, perhaps it might be fair to say that they're not seeking utopia, but a right and just way of life. Semantics. Maybe.
So, for now, I'll acknowledge that it is a tricky road to walk, between working for a better world and imposed morality. But it is a road worth walking and to avoid it altogether would be a great shame.