Jacob Levy wants to know why he can’t come up with suitable modern American conservative thinkers “to teach alongside Theory of Justice and Anarchy, State, and Utopia.”

He could teach the Twelve Southerners, I’ll Take My Stand. You can find their principles stated here. But he doesn’t want to allow “everything will go to hell if the South isn’t allowed to remain the South” in to the “suitable” camp. The problem is, if you throw that out, you don’t have a lot of American conservatism. (And why, if you’re a conservative, shouldn’t you very strongly believe that the South should remain the South?)

Some folks suggest Whittaker Chambers, Witness. Which is a nice piece of conservative, Christian anti-Communism, and has an intelligent-design argument in it, but probably fails on the “datedness” test. You can find Chambers’s foreword here.

Why not Samuel Huntington, “Conservatism as an Ideology,” from the APSR (June 1957), 454-473? Here you find Huntington making what I regard as the best possible intellectual argument for modern American conservatism (which doesn’t mean it’s very good, especially not in the context of 1957, but): “Today, the greatest need is not so much the creation of more liberal institutions as the successful defense of those which already exist. This defense requires liberals to lay aside their liberal ideology and accept the values of conservatism for the duration of the threat….” Certainly, that’s an argument that has stuck around.

UPDATED: I read further that Oakeshott is the echt conservative, although he’s not American. Very well, then, Oakeshott:

To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.

Which means you really ought, if you’re a mid-century American conservative, to defend racial segregation, in all its tried familiarity, its actual factuality, its near and limited sufficient convenience. And they do that. So why does Levy rule out teaching the relation between conservative principles and defense of segregation?