Alan Jacobs asks a question here that he does not answer. That question concerns whether he is a conservative or not.
“So is there any sense in which I might plausibly be called a conservative? I don’t really know; I’ll leave that to others to decide.” With such a kind invitation, how could I turn away? The answer is yes, Jacobs is a conservative. The three touchstones he sets out are a consistently pro-life position, a commitment to subsidiarity, and a respect for tradition.
To be fair, he offers some evidence to the contrary — he thinks, for example, that Obamacare was at least an attempt at something well-intentioned, and not, for example, what it was, which was the largest assault on the principles of subsidiarity in the history of mankind. But this just means that he is a conservative who is not being cynical enough. But such things take time — conservatives like to age in the cellar, like so many fine wines, with a thin layer of dust on their rounded upper part.
There was another sense in which Jacobs was not being conservative, and that was in his disdain for labels. But labels are cool, especially when they drive unlabeled progressives frantic. But however much fun they are, labels still create some questions we must answer.