A response to David Brooks.
(Page 2 of 2)
There is, of course, some jostling within the conservative movement today. But it’s not between economic and social conservatives. Brooks inadvertently reveals this in a telling paragraph:
Ronald Reagan embodied both sides of this fusion, and George W. Bush tried to recreate it with his compassionate conservatism. But that effort was doomed because in the ensuing years, conservatism changed. [Emphasis added.]
Bush’s neoconservatism made no attempt to recreate fusionism; instead it changed it. Suddenly conservatism was the ideology of a grand, impatient project in which evil was to be ended and democracy was to be grown in the Middle East like a plant viewed through time-lapse photography. Meanwhile spending increased, the government grew, and ordered liberty was disrupted as the federal government consolidated power over education, health care, surveillance, and much more. Economic conservatism was elbowed to the side as Republicans learned to stop worrying and love the feds.
This is the incompatible strain in conservative thought. It took control during the Bush years, relegating economic and traditional conservatism to window dressing. Its roots are not in Burke or Kirk, but in Leo Strauss and other anti-historical philosophers. Irving Kristol wrote that its mission was to forcibly convert traditional conservatism.
Neoconservatism… compassionate conservatism… whatever we’re calling it… was largely discredited when it failed to predict the post-liberation hardships in Iraq and the unintended consequences of its own social engineering. But now many neoconservatives — Brooks and Frum among them — have crawled back and are trying to crowbar off the economic wing of the movement. And they’re citing Burke and Kirk as they do it.
Ordered liberty is maintained through voluntary organizations like churches and community centers, as well as through a structured hierarchy of government power. Defending that against usurpation by the feds is as classically and traditionally conservative as it gets.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?