My friend Steve Teles, who teaches political science at Brandeis, thinks I erred in identifying opposition to decreased inequality of income as the commonality among the various brands of conservatism. (Steve is somewhat above the fray, describing himself as a Whig.)
We’ll all know more about the subject when his book The Evolution of the Conservative Legal Movement, 1970-2004 is published, but in the meantime he writes:
What holds all those folks on the conservative side together, fundamentally (along with a few substantive issue) is hatred of liberals. Disgust, on a very deep, gut level, and a sense that conservatives are marginalized in the institutions liberals control and a sense that they manipulate language and procedure to control those institutions and to keep conservatives out.
Whether they are libertarians or Christian conservatives, they usually have some combination of anecdotes that reinforce this perception, and they’re not always wrong. The sense that liberals control “everything” is obviously stupid–but it’s a sense of local injustice and mariginalization that
usually motivates people, and in the mainstream media and universities, there’s probably something to it.
So I think looking for the glue on the positive side of overlapping ideology is probably the wrong way to look at it–the negative side of shared resentment is the better way to go about it.