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How To Fix a Broken Elephant: A Recipe for Electoral Health In Six Incredibly Difficult Steps

America desperately needs a disciplined, conservative political party — a thing the GOP has not been for quite some time. Here are the six steps those small-c conservatives of the #NeverTrump variety will have to take if they want to stem the rise of Trumpism in their party.

The End of Absolute Sexual Morality

My friend Darwin observes: When trying to make-nice to conservatives, proponents of “same sex marriage” tend to emphasize it as a way of enshrining commitment and sexual morality. However, while this tends to suggest that same sex relationships should have the same moral obligations and boundaries as traditional ones, in practice I have never known…

Triaxial Epistemology

By way of Popehat, Arnold Kling on a root problem with contemporary political discourse, summarized in the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Kling’s three “languages” are ways of talking about politics and government, and they align roughly with the progressive, conservative and libertarian viewpoints. Progressives, Mr. Kling thinks, typically express opinions using an “oppressed-oppressor axis”: societal…

Ideology is the Enemy: Prelude

Over the next several weeks months I will be writing about the recent ascendance of ideology in the United States and why it worries me.  Specifically, I worry that the voting public’s generations-long desire to live in a peaceful, vibrant, financially feasible and pluralistic community is being slowly replaced with a willingness to abandon those…

“You don’t ‘seize’ the center, you create the center”

When I learned it, I thought the motion for this month’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate – “The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die” – was simply dreadful.  How could the opposing case possibly be made without fighting a losing battle with the proposition itself?  Of course the GOP needs to win more votes from the center; of course they’ve been successfully characterized as out-of-touch with centrists.  And indeed, the pre-debate poll showed a staggering 65% in favor of the […]

Sully’s Rosetinted View of Traditional Familial Norms

I am not anti-family values. I do not think that “what a family consists of” can be endlessly reconfigured without consequence. There are causes and effects, particular familial institutions and outcomes associated with them. But I do view the family with a lot of skepticism. At least one important reason why is that the institution and the relations which…

Conservatives’ Jim DeMint Problem

In service of defending his proposition that departing far-right Senator Jim DeMint is a “hero” whose record is one libertarians should celebrate, Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney makes an argument that many on the left’ll find surprisingly agreeable. Carney’s take, bluntly put, is that there is no ideologically principled separation between fiscal and social conservatism. And, really, who better…

A Theoretical Case for a Romney Presidency From a Foreign Policy PoV.

Over at Blinded Trials the esteemed Dr. Saunders has a post up about how W. Mitt Romney, much like John McCain before him, has managed to alienate potential voters with his mendacity and pandering to the Republican base. In response to said post Jaybird says: There is a part of me that is vaguely troubled by the…

What’s the Matter with New York?

Two months ago, which is, like, 49 months in blog-months, Kevin Drum suggested there was a very good essay to be written called “Why People Hate Liberals.” This is not that essay. But it reminded me that there’s something that irritates me quite a lot about liberals. And I say this as a full-fledged card-carrying pretty-much-liberalish-certainly-more-left-than-rightist. That…

Mugged By Their Own Narrative

As Team Romney continues the process of self-immolation, various journalists have discerned a pattern in conservative reactions to his collapse. Echoing Richard Cohen’s column from several days ago, Fareed Zakaria notices that Romney is deeply constrained by the Republican Party’s pursuit of purity: So Romney could present a serious economic plan with numbers that make…

American Process and Its “Occasional Services to Liberalism”

Liberals endure much teasing for their inability to articulate just what liberalism means.  Even their best and brightest flounder at the task.  “[T]here is something deep within liberalism,” Michael Tomasky attempts, “that prevents it from degenerating into fascism, and that is its explicit recognition that the state must serve both common purposes and individual liberty.” …

Coolness Isn’t Everything

Upon further reflection, I’d like to emphasize one more thing about conservatism’s uncoolness. Here goes: It should go without saying that “cool” politics and “desirable” politics don’t always overlap. Indeed, any overlap may be purely incidental. In other words: even if conservatism is persistently lame, that isn’t especially relevant to whether or not conservatives have valuable…

The Artist as Judge

Some months ago, I wrote of Marilynne Robinson that, Regardless of her political preferences, her worldview, in its starkly Calvinist way, and insofar as it’s expressed in those novels and Absence of Mind, is conservative in a way that goes far beyond the political. I further claimed that her novels Gilead and Home were “at…

Conservatives, pop culture, and the language of the right

So an old post at my now-basically-defunct solo politics blog about conservatives and pop culture has accidentally sparked off a pretty interesting symposium at Acculturated – a conservative blog about pop culture and society. There’s a lot of interesting entries from people like James Poulos, Lee Siegel, and Ed Driscoll (to name a few) under the…

Talk radio, taxes, and the Bible

~by M.A. Conor P. Williams, in Conservatism Isn’t Radical—It’s “Modular”, argues that there is a certain amount of mental jiu-jitsu involved in shifting frameworks from argument to argument. An interesting test of this very case came up this morning with the local radio talk host bringing up the topic of the death penalty in conjunction with…

Lugar and Mourdock

~by Sam Wilkinson This was the quote that got me: “If the GOP is going to win elections, it’s going to win them fair and square with real Republicans, not fake ones.” That’s from (the apparently controversial) Tom Van Dyke. referring to Senator Richard Lugar’s loss in Indiana’s Republican primary. Lugar was beaten soundly by…

Like any truly great politician, the real Mitt Romney doesn’t exist

“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.” ~ Romney Communications Director Eric Fehrnstrom on whether his boss’s hard-right turn will alienate general election voters. That’s a lovely image: an…

Rise of the right-wing double-speak machine and the Sandra Fluke affair

Think of this as a brief addition to Tod Kelly’s last piece which reminded me how unbelievably silly the American political scene has become. This whole Sandra Fluke affair – my eyes just glaze over. I can’t help it, it’s like so many of the other nontroversies plaguing our national discourse. The Limbaughs and Coulters and Becks of…

No, Americans are not “operationally liberal”

Responding to my demurrer to “the old saw that Americans are ideologically conservative but operationally liberal,” Yeggmen sticks up for the saw:  what researchers have (repeatedly) done is get a bunch of people together and have them fill out a long and comprehensive political questionnaire. They ask them to choose an ideological label, vague questions…

Conservatism: Defender of the Modern Welfare State?

I am grateful for the incentive Jason’s rebuttal provides to study conservative thinker Michael Oakeshott.  However, I respectfully disagree with Jason’s conclusion that “esteem[ of] the present … on account of its familiarity” suffices to establish conservatism.  Thus, I stand on my assertion that there is something more to the idea of conservatism than unthinkingly…