Yesterday's Conservatism - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Yesterday’s Conservatism

David Frum’s post on George Packer’s latest provides a valuable insight as to what motivates some, though by no means all, self-styled reformist conservatives: “While political conservatism is founded upon deep and enduring truths, political conservatism itself is a political movement that arose in response to certain conditions and that must fade with those conditions.”

Modern American conservatism, therefore, was a movement that rose up in reaction to the social turmoil of the 1960s, the economic problems of the 1970s, and the United States’ deteriorating strategic position in the Cold War during that period. It contains some valuable insights that can be applied to today’s problems and there needs to be some political movement that is more friendly to markets, skeptical of domestic government intervention, and willing to project American military power than the coalition or movement that elected Barack Obama. But Buckley-Reagan conservatism’s moment has passed into history along with Abbie Hoffman, stagflation, and the Soviet Union. Reformist conservatism is about replacing it with something else.

It refreshing to see this argument stated expressly rather than merely implied, and it is a challenging point of view. It is also an indication as to why reformist conservatives have had such trouble gaining traction on the right — that’s not close to how most American conservatives see conservatism.

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