Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Conservatism today

Andrew Sullivan, writing in The New Republic [username/password here], talks about the current state of conservatism in a long but good article. It starts off with this:
Conservatism isn't over. But it has rarely been as confused. Today's conservatives support limited government. But they believe the federal government can intervene in a state court's decisions in a single family's struggle over life and death. They believe in restraining government spending. But they have increased such spending by a mind-boggling 33 percent in a mere four years. They believe in self-reliance. But they have just passed the most expensive new entitlement since the heyday of Great Society liberalism: the Medicare prescription-drug benefit. They believe that foreign policy is about the pursuit of national interest and that the military should be used only to fight and win wars. Yet they have embarked on an extraordinarily ambitious program of military-led nation-building in the Middle East. They believe in states' rights, but they want to amend the Constitution to forbid any state from allowing civil marriage or equivalent civil unions for gay couples. They believe in free trade. But they have imposed tariffs on a number of industries, most famously steel. They believe in balanced budgets. But they have abandoned fiscal discipline and added a cool trillion dollars to the national debt in one presidential term.


Allen said...

I don't mind the analysis here though I have a huge problem with the author's use of the term "conservative." As long as he replaces that with neoconservative, my heart will return to its normal pace. It's partly because of him that libertarians and true conservatives can't join together in a common cause. As I stated once before, I see the difference between the two camps as essentially whether or not all the freedoms we have should allow us to readily engage in all of them. For instance, in social matters. But the agreement is in the fact that the federal government should not legislate any of this. We should work together to bring the federal government back to its proper size, then argue about what the state governments should and should not be doing. This is similar to something Lew Rockwell recently said...

"All of this leaves the question of what our political priorities should be. If it were up to me, I would push a button and reduce government to the size it was after the American Revolution under the Articles of Confederation, and then look forward to debating whether we should get rid of the rest."
--- Lew Rockwell

I am willing to toast to that!

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