Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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David Brooks on domestic policy

My friend Will Hinton blogs about an event he attended keynoted by David Brooks. Brooks apparently doesn’t have anything nice to say about GWB’s domestic policy.

Update: The leader of NLT’s loyal opposition notes that Brooks’s current column, behind the execrable TimesSelect firewall, addresses this theme.

Discussions - 18 Comments

Joe - The honor is too heavy for my shoulders. Brooks’ column was in the Columbus Dispatch. Sometimes they post such things on their website, and you can cheat the Times, but not this time.

By the way, John Moser and I were heavily engaged in a discussion with some formidable bloggers (the REAL loyal - I think - opposition, who think Lincoln was a tyrant), and the whole posting and thread seems to have disappeared. What gives?

So...who just erased the entire thread on nativism?

See my entry # 3 at the "Public Policy for Parents" thread for my take on "big government conservatives" (sic) of which David Brooks is the chief ringleader.

Here I will just add that the attempt that Mr. Hinton writes about by some evangelicals to form coalitions with progressives on poverty programs is extremely misguided at best and dangerous at worst. Whether this is motivated primarily by an attempt to alter the "negative" image that many have of politically active evangelicals, or by a sincere desire of some misguided evangelicals to "do right" I do not know. I suspect it is some of both. But I challenge anyone to show me a Bible verse that commands federal governments as we know them today to take care of the poor. There is certainly a command to care for the poor, but it is a command to individuals and the Church (or Jewish society in the OT) and not for them to co-opt government for that purpose.

As Hoppe has pointed out (and no I am not a Hoppean style anarcho-capitalist), it is foolish for conservatives to believe that they can simultaneously preach and crusade against vice and poor lifestyle choices, and then turn around and put in place a system that subsidizes and facilitates it and not expect contradictory results.

It is partially because we have "federal governments as we know them today" at the expense of Church, family, and community that we have so much vice and poor lifestyle choices to begin with. That is what the evangelicals should be about, restoring authentic Churches, families, and cultures that are hospitable to and fostering of instead of hostile to what they believe.

I’m told that the post and accompanying thread were inadvertently deleted, something I’ve done in the past in my eagerness to respond to an intelligent and penetrating point made by one of our many outstanding commenters.

A treasure lost forever, to live in the heaven of inadvertance alongside much of Cicero.

Glad that was cleared up. Glad that I accept the explanation, with no rearward thought of "is it true?"
The lose of the chain, while of some moment, didn’t strike me as comparable to Cicero. Maybe my notes on a text from 10 years ago, when I had an active mind?

Brooks is no conservative. He’s fairly intelligent, but no conservative. If the Times were serious about letting both sides be heard, it would find the real thing. But it’s not and it won’t.

True Right - Is/was Safire a conservative? I’m just curious.

Anyway, Steve Thomas, as I recall you asked for the Easterly citation linking ethnic diversity to poor economic performance. Here it is (and there are others, of course)-- don’t be put off by the title, it uses a global sample, not just Africa:

Easterly, William and Ross Levine. 1997. "Africa’s Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions." Quarterly Journal of Economics (Nov)

Thanks, dain.

Steve, I didn’t read enough of Safire to know. My guess would be that he wasn’t much of one.

True Right - Why are conservatives so keen to define who’s a real or true conservative? It seems rather unconservative.

Too bad about the NATIVISM thread. I was really enjoying it.

Steve, I think there are certain issues conservatives can disagree on depending on what "type" of conservative they are or their particular emphasis. Free trade vs. fair trade for one. What is the "conservative" opinion on that? Depends on who and what type of conservative you ask.

But if the language is to mean anything, aren’t there some positions that stretch the limits of the definition? Could one believe in the total abolition of the family and its replacement by the state and still be a conservative? Of course not. That would be revolutionary. And that is an absurd example. But if you get less radical, could a "true" conservative say we need to expand Medicare? Remembering that in the 60s conservatives routinely opposed Medicare on the grounds that it was not constitutionally authorized and was unnecessary. Even squishy Bob Dole voted against the establishment of Medicare. See what I mean? If you keep moving the bar, then what it means to be a conservative becomes totally meaningless.

Whoa, I had lost track of that nativism thread, but now I read that it was "inadvertently deleted." Was dain on a tear too over-the-top and embarrassing for even the NLT gang?

The leading hypothesis for the loss of the "nativism" thread is that John Moser was typing so furiously he overburdened the server.

Steve, conservatives should not overreact to insufficient conservatism, nor should they define it too narrowly. Some people are not easy to identify as conservative or nonconservative. Others have conservative views but do little about them. Neither type should be mislabeled as liberals, traitors, and the like. However, we must be willing to know, without much difficulty, who is the real thing and who falls short of that. We must also know who is a liberal and who is a nonliberal. Despite appearances, conservatives are and long have been, perhaps always have been, a rather weak minority in American society. Minorities, when opposed by powerful forces, must stick together and be self-aware. If they don’t, they get hammered even worse than they are already.

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