A quote from Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898)
American, Presbyterian, Pastor, and Theologian
It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism.
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation.
What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution to be denounced and adopted in its turn.
American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.
This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted?
Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle.
Source: Robert L. Dabney. “Women’s Rights Women” in his Discussions, vol. IV, p. 496. [read online]