Skip to content
Tyler Cowen

What True Conservatives Should Care Most About

There are three threats to civilization that demand more attention than anything else: war, pandemic and environmental catastrophe.

Re-enactment of Empire.

Re-enactment of Empire.

Photographer: Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images Europe

If you are a true conservative — and I use the term not as Ted Cruz might, but in its literal sense, as in conserving what is of value in the modern world — then you should be obsessed with three threats to the most vital parts of our civilizational heritage, all of which are coming to the fore: war, pandemic and environmental catastrophe.

These three events have frequently caused or contributed to the collapse or decline of great civilizations of the past. After being seriously weakened by pandemics and environmental problems, the Roman Empire was taken over by barbarian tribes. The Aztecs were conquered by the Spanish, who had superior weapons and also brought disease. The decline of the Mayans likely was rooted in water and deforestation problems.