In light of Richard John Neuhaus’ comment about orthodoxy, I thought I would quote a bit from a piece I posted earlier from Jerry Muller on conservatism & orthodoxy:
The orthodox theoretician defends existing institutions and practices because they are metaphysically true: the truth proclaimed may be based on particular revelation or on natural laws purportedly accessible to all rational men. The conservative theoretician defends existing institutions above all because they are thought to have worked rather well and been conducive to human happiness. For the conservative, the historical survival of an institution or practice —be it marriage, monarchy, or the market—creates a prima facie case that it has served some human need. For conservatives, the very existence of institutions and traditions creates a presumption that they have served some useful function. In addition, conservatives tend to be acutely sensitive to the costs of radical change. Elimination or radical reconstruction of existing institutions may lead to harmful, unintended consequences, conservatives argue, because social practices are interlinked, such that eliminating one will have unanticipated negative effects on others….
Thus, although orthodox and conservative thinkers may sometimes reach common conclusions, they reach those conclusions by different intellectual routes.
My own participation in Secular Right is understood in light of my perception that the “orthodox” outlook, broadly understood, has bled into modern American conservatism. Of course, orthodoxy is not simply a feature of conservatism, there are plenty of orthodoxies which are operationally accepted as if they were of metaphysical import on the American Left as well.