The American Conservative: Good-bye to All That.
I seldom simply recommend an article on my blog. That I’m doing so should be taken as evidence that this essay by Austin Bramwell, formerly a trustee of the conservative mouthpiece National Review, totally blew my hair back. A few intellectually honest conservatives have recently begun attempts to dig themselves free of the conceptual wreckage that has been made of the conservative movement by conservative politicians. This is one of the best of that new breed of screeds that I have read in which an conservative divine declares conservatism intellectually bankrupt.
Like we didn’t already know that… but the question still remains, what now? Liberalism still has not poured a coherent intellectual foundation that antedates the New Deal and synthesizes the lessons learned since then and the vast chances in American life since the 1930s. Perhaps we don’t need any ideology beyond a salutory concern with the common welfare and hard-nosed pragmatism; but such values are harder to communicate to the electorate (such flexibility results in the laundry lists of complaints and projects the Democratic Party is notorious for, and often descends into simple interest group politics). Perhaps ideology is the scourge of American politics, not its savior.
Now that the conservatives are coming out and telling the truth about their paucity of intellectual consistency in their actual use of power, perhaps we liberals should draw inspiration from the example of these worthies and do the same. I defy anyone to frame the internally consistent premises upon which the DLC makes policy. Let’s hope that it doesn’t take a complete train-wreck such as the GOP has conducted over the past 6 years for us to wake up and realize that we too may lack the intellectual freight to keep our Democratic Majority Express on the rails.
P.S. Thanks for all the supportive and helpful comments and emails during my hiatus. It seems many of you feel that blogs like this one are the best source you have for much local and state level politics. While I’m sure to continue to comment and ask for your thoughts about national politics, I intend to refocus on local and state matters. With a greatly improved minority position in the state legislature and near complete control of Tucson government, there is a lot of interesting and, hopefully, empowering news to bring to readers. I hope some of you feel up to delivering on the promise of citizen journalism and activism as writers.