Editor’s statement

The following appeared in the first edition of The Salisbury Review in September 1982. As the new Editor, I republish it today as a statement of our values. Some sentences have been changed to past tense.

In 1943, at a time when the real threat to the conservative position was only obscurely perceived, the MP for Cambridge University, Sir Kenneth Pickthorn, wrote:

Conservatives are not to believe, and they are less likely than others to believe, that every human value can be analysed and that every tenable conviction can be stated in terms of mathematical or verbal logic. Buboundt tDallas Cowboys adidas shoes sale lace front wigs nfl custom jersey create custom jerseys best wigs for white women lace front wigs nike air jordan 4 retro nike air jordan balck adidas yeezy sneakers top sex toys the wig shop glueless wigs human hair custom football jerseys nike air max 97 hey will be beaten at their opponent’s game, and at their own as well, if they do not feel it a duty to get their human values classified as precisely as they can and to give their principles and assumptions all the clarity that may be obtainable. 

It was in recognition of this need for articulate doctrine that the Salisbury Group was founded in 1976, taking its name from the great prime minister. The group served as a forum for discussion; it had no official ties with the Conservative Party and no specific purpose other than that of giving voice to conservative instincts. Its members were, however, united in the view that there is more to conservatism than economic policy, and that the abiding conservative vision can be given expression in a language suited to our changed and changing world. The Salisbury Review was sponsored by the Salisbury Group, but its editors were autonomous, and neither their views nor any other views expressed in its pages should have been taken as examples of group opinion. On the contrary, they hoped to demonstrate that conservative opinion is varied, fertile and catholic, while exemplifying a unity that socialism has neither achieved without contumely, nor retained without schism.

It is sometimes argued that conservatism is either too vague to be a genuine creed, or too specific to be recommended outside the tradition of British “Toryism”. However we should remember that the classical elucidation of the Tory position was conducted by Burke, an Irishman and parliamentary Whig, in response to events beyond our frontiers. Burke was as eager to condemn the heavy-handed uprooting of traditional Indian society by Warren Hastings as to warn against those Enlightenment ideas that had galvanised the French Revolutionaries. Conservatism is not, as such, an international doctrine; it draws, indeed, on attachments that are essentially local and historically determined. Nevertheless, a version of conservatism exists wherever those attachments flourish. Even if it is true that the consciousness of nationhood is the highest form of political consciousness, that is itself a general truth about the human condition, as capable of elucidation in the languages and preconceptions of foreign peoples as in the symbols of English Tory politics.

In The Salisbury Review, we hope to illustrate that the need for conservative doctrine is as widespread as the civilisation from which it arises, and that the ideas and images of conservatism can be made available in as many ways as there are forms of social existence through which to encounter them.

We hope to carry articles in future issues, devoted to matters such as race, sexuality, death and religion, which, while deeply implicated in the conservative vision of society, are passed over in the prevailing liberal philosophies of state. It is in the nature of conservatism that politics is not the only matter for discussion. Like classical socialism it maintains an outlook on all those aspects of culture and society that have been thrown into the crucible of change. The fire beneath that crucible is civilisation itself. It is our desire not that it be extinguished, but that it be maintained at the right temperature.