John_C_Calhoun_by_Mathew_Brady,_1849The quote from Kirk below, and his quotes from Calhoun, are straightforward evidence of the convergence between traditionalist conservativism and non-Marxist socialism. I’ve discussed that convergence here and here. Peter Kreeft also gets at the same idea here.

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“Stripped of all its covering,” Calhoun declared in his terse and inexorable way, “the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or a consolidated government: a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting ultimately on the solid basis of the sovereignty of the States or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, and violence, and force must finally prevail.” He was not speaking of South Carolina alone, nor even merely of the Southern states, Calhoun said: once the absolute power of majorities to do as they like with minorities is accepted, the liberties of no section or class are safe. Having reduced South Carolina to submission, the interests which passed the Tariff of Abominations and the Force Act would proceed to other conquests.

He predicted a similar exploitation of industrial workers in the Northern cities: “After we are exhausted, the contest will be between the capitalists and the operatives; for into these two classes it must, ultimately, divide society. The issue of the struggle here must be the same as it has been in Europe. Under the operation of the system, wages must sink more rapidly than the prices of the necessaries of life, till the portion of the products of their labor left to them will be barely sufficient to preserve existence. For the present, the pressure is on our section.” These words were written in 1828, two decades before the promulgation of the Communist Manifesto and they were written by the conservative planter of Forth Hill who warned the old agricultural interest and the new industrial interest and the yet inchoate masses of industrial labor that when law is employed to oppress any class or section, the end of constitutions and the substitution of ruthless power is at hand.

Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind, page 171

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