by Stuart Shapiro
Steve Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute has a very insightful piece on the problems of 21st Century conservatism (and liberalism, while he’s at it). I could not do it justice by summarizing it, so please click through. Here is an excerpt:
For those willing to probe a bit deeper, however, it should quickly become apparent that we badly need to take stock of our position. Conservatism, despite these impressive electoral victories, is failing on its own terms. Start with the social indicators, which are the most important to conservatives. America’s fast-growing and largely minority underclass shows limited signs of progress or assimilation to middle-class American life. And the white middle class — the bed-rock of conservatism’s political strength and social vision — is showing signs of social stagnation and economic regress that should be sounding ominous claxons in conservative meeting halls but, so far, have attracted only the attention of Charles Murray. Stagnant income growth and mobility and a shrinking middle class are considered unhealthy by most conservative understandings of social health, cohesion, and well-being. While conservatives have plenty of macro ideas for increasing economic growth, they have fewer ideas about how to secure a wider distribution of new wealth.
I’ve posted before about how Ronald Reagan, Edmund Burke, and other conservative heroes would now be considered RINOs. I do this mainly to provoke, but it works because there is some truth to it. The last two Democratic presidents have moved far beyond the idea that all government is good. Meanwhile, Republicans are held hostage by a small portion of the electorate that thinks that all government is bad. If they can’t break free and think more like Reagan and Burke, they will either destroy the Republican Party or the country.