Maybe a real conversation about Lincoln is a good idea. Maybe. Maybe it is a good idea to relive the political fights between Jefferson and Hamilton, between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, the Northwest Ordinance, the difference between the American and French revolutions, the politics of the 1790’s, the meaning of the election of 1800, the constitutionality of the Lousiana Purchase, the value of the Missouri Compromise, the debate between Andy Jackson and Henry Clay, the nullification crisis, as well as the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision. Maybe.
In the meantime, on perhaps a smaller point, I think some who are so especially concerned with defining conservatism (that is, try to articulate its nature, if it has one) may want to listen to a few of Reagan’s speeches to see how conservatism manifested itself politically victorious for the first time since Progressivism’s political victory was revealed in the New Deal and the Great Society. There are 14 speeches between 1964 and 1989. Enjoy!