There are many interesting thoughts here--Yuval Levin’s distinction between the conservatism of continuity and the conservatism of (loss and) despair; a discussion of what happened to the Spirit of ’01 (Ross Douthat suggests that Southern evangelicals weirded everyone out; David Blankenhorn thinks we’re weren’t asked to do enough--a version of ann argument I made here); and lots of other stuff you’ll have to read for yourselves.
Here’s a provocative (almost) closing thought from Ross Douthat:
I think that one
of the things that conservatives need to recognize about the post-9/11 era is that there was a moment when conservatism had a change to essentially become the governing elite of the United States. I think that we’ve failed that test, and I think one of the reasons we’ve failed that test is
because we exist still in parallel institutions that have failed to become plausible as the dominant institutions of American life. And while Harvard University is less important than it was perhaps
thirty years ago, and the major national networks are less important than they were thirty years ago, they are still important. They are still close to dominant. And insofar as philanthropic dollars can change them rather than creating alternative paths, I’d like to see that path explored.