When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

08 December 2005

Running Out of Steam (David Brooks, New York Times)

It's such a shame that David Brooks's (and John Tierney's) columns are behind the New York Times's ill-conceived TimesSelect firewall. (As long-time subscribers to the Dead Tree edition of the the Times, Carrie and I get our TimesSelect for free.)

Today's Brooks column - "Running Out Of Steam" - is about the intellectual and philosophical crisis facing the conservative movement, and it's a corker.

An excerpt, because I just can't help myself:
First, most of the issues that propelled conservatives to power have been addressed. Modern American conservatism was formed by people who wanted to defeat the Soviet Union, reduce crime, reform welfare, cut taxes, deregulate the economy and reintroduce traditional social values. All those problems are less salient today.

Second, conservatism has been semi-absorbed into the Republican Party. When conservatism was in its most creative phase, there was a sharp distinction between conservatives and Republicans. Conservatives chased ideas, while Republicans were the corporate hacks who sold out. Now that conservative Republicans are in power, that distinction is obliterated.

There are a number of consequences. A lot of the energy that used to go into ideas is now devoted to defending Republican politicians. Many former conservative activists have become Republican lobbyists. (When conservatism was a movement of ideas, it attracted oddballs; now that it's a movement with power, it attracts sleazeballs.)
Running Out of Steam - New York Times (behind TimesSelect firewall)

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