Jonathan Chait can’t get his mind off the Iraq war, even when he’s talking about what he regards as the conservative obsession with ideas. As I noted last year, Chait isn’t too keen on big ideas. As he puts it now,
conservatism is more of an ideological movement than liberalism. Conservatives insist that, unlike liberals, they’re "acutely conscious of their intellectual forebears," as David Brooks once put it. Such boasts are usually decorated with references to Kirk, Hayek, and other philosophical patron saints of the right.
Like communists, conservatives have a tendency to believe that every question can be answered by referencing theory.
I admit that liberals don’t generally look to our intellectual forebears to tell us whether the Iraq war is going well. But, then, we don’t have to. We can read the newspaper.
I guess he’s not reading the New York Times, or, for that matter, anything that doesn’t begin with the view that Iraq is a fiasco. Sounds kinda theoretical to me.