Rod Dreher comments at National Review's Corner:
Beauty has been clamorously present in the American Conservative Mind through its almost total absence. The tradition of regard for woodland and wildlife was present from the beginnings of the nation and continued through conservative exemplars such as the Republican Theodore Roosevelt, who established the National Parks. Embarrassingly for conservatives (at least one hopes it is embarrassing), stewardship of the environment is now left mostly to liberal Democrats.
Well, almost. Millions of deer and duck hunters, and RV-ers at national parks, attest that the Lee Greenwood Republicans love natural beauty too, even if their Washington counterparts don't vote much for it.I might also add that conservatives have pretty much abandoned the field when it comes to the beauty of cities, leaving urban planning almost entirely to left-leaning types. The recent conservative response has been Joel Kotkin and Robert Bruegmann saying "Laissez les exurbs rouler!" Really, guys -- do you think that's the best we can do?
I suppose the conservative aversion to urban design arose because the work of urban planning falls in mainly in the public sector, which has been terra non grata* to conservatives at least since Barry Goldwater.
But that's a big mistake for conservatives. It's not as if the public sector is someday going to wither away and Adam Smith's Invisible Hand is going to start building roads and public parks.
Beauty with a capital "B" has strong conservative credentials, going back at least as far as Plato.
*Pardon my marriage of terra incognita and persona non grata, which ought to add up to "disagreeable territory".