Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems.
For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.
This is the principle of Kirk's with which I probably most strongly disagree. His notions of “preservation of classes” and “justification of inequality” spark a creepy negative reaction in me.
While I am certain that most conservatives have no desire to “keep anyone down,” this principle seems to help perpetuate the thought. “We need our happy slaves, after all.”
And, while I agree that equality and a just egalitarianism will not be seen this side of Heaven, the whole suggestion that, “The poor, ye will always have with you” has been used way too often to justify doing nothing.
I do agree with his suggestion that society requires honest and able leadership (now more than ever), but what's he getting to? It sure sounds like he's talking some serious class denigration or oppression or something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this one creeps me out.
As I have no doubt that most of our conservative friends don't wish to be oppressive towards “the lower classes,” I'd be glad to have someone give me a better interpretation of this principle, because the way he states his point leaves me very cold.