I have many differences with the philosopher Yoram Hazony, but one is purely personal. The way my life went I never had a sense of 'homecoming' after university, because I had never ceased to depend on my home - and parents. My parents were a living example of highly moral people who had no religion (mother lost her faith in the Second World War). That helps to explain why theist sociology about morality never cut ice with me.

In so far as Edmund Burke revivalist Hazony talks of handing down what is good in inherited communities and rule of law, I have no serious objection. It's when he goes on to borders and separate national paths that reality interferes. No borders or separate identities can insulate from the challenge of human survival which became existential some 70 years ago. We may all be familiar with global threats including nuclear arms, climate change, inequality, migration, and so on, but we have still not absorbed what they mean. No classical philosophy - conservatism included - has the resources to tackle them.

In the 21st century it is already possible to annihilate communities world-wide, leaving nothing to hand on to future generations (should there be any). At the same time, keeping national - or other - communal identities within the contemporary economy pushes on all the disruptions that conservatives worry about. Some of them want to back off from the 'neoliberal revolution', but still will be tied to economic growth and low taxes. Any idea that distinct national communities are going to be capable of controlling the march of AI or gene editing on their own is fantasy.

Hazony's biblical outlook has left him with the notion that international bodies are empires in drag. He is partly right in this - the EU, the World Bank, UN, and so on are indeed bureaucracies with all too little public accountability. But if the survival challenges are to be met, we will need to be teaching international bureaucrats to talk to common people - indeed address them as their advisers and servants.

Nothing I have, or ever will, say assumes that humans will step up to the global challenge they have created. But as bottom conservatism refuses to try. We will need batter than that if homo sapiens is to avoid a hasty exit from the scene.

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