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American ConservatismNOMOS LVI$
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Sanford Levinson, Melissa Williams, and Joel Parker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479812370

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479812370.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Anti-Governmentism in Conservative Thought: A Note on Garnett’s Conception of Religious Freedom

Anti-Governmentism in Conservative Thought: A Note on Garnett’s Conception of Religious Freedom

Chapter:
(p.197) 5 Anti-Governmentism in Conservative Thought: A Note on Garnett’s Conception of Religious Freedom
Source:
American Conservatism
Author(s):

Ingrid Creppell

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479812370.003.0005

This chapter argues that the essence of at least one important wing of American conservatism is “anti-governmentism,” a striking deviation from the calls for “law and order” that some might identify with conservatism. Strong anti-government conservatives see government as, on the one hand, too intrusive and powerful, and on the other, as corrupt, biased, weak/inept, and alien. Looking at the last chapter’s strong defense of religious freedom, this chapter comments that the capacity to achieve one’s religion—to be religiously free—essentially requires positive government involvement to make space available. Thus, religious freedom and anti-governmentism are fundamentally incompatible demands: the flourishing of religious freedom cannot rely on weak government.

Keywords:   American conservatism, anti-governmentism, religious freedom, conservatism, weak government

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