The linked article is, IMO, an important read for all of us in the think tank/free market movement. I’ve often started feeble attempts to write a nearly exact commentary, and thankfully, some one wrote it for me.
It encompasses many of the things I’ve attempted to communicate in various debates/discussions with colleagues at Heartland and out on the Free Market Rubber Chicken circuit. It applies to libertarians as much as conservatives.
MODERNIZING CONSERVATISM cogently lays out exactly why the conservative movement is heading toward rough waters.
While I don’t agree with every aspect of prescribed remedies, the need for a reformation of the movement is 100% accurate, IMO.
Some titillating excerpts…
“Long-term evidence indicates that the starve-the-beast strategy not only fails, but may make the problem of unrestrained spending growth worse, suggesting that a “serve the check” strategy might be a more effective means of curbing the growth of government spending. The simple explanation for this seeming paradox is that the starve-the-beast strategy currently allows Americans to receive a dollar in government services while only having to pay 60 cents for it.”
The “no new taxes, ever, for ever and ever, Amen” is actually driving the nation into the dirt. Every dime of debt, deficit spending, and borrowing, is a tax of some sort. We may have reached the point where stopping a tax increase while increasing spending leaves America worse off than before.
My prescription has always been a tax swap combined with an entitlement swap. This is, of course, too obscene for the followers of Grover Norquist to countenance.
Too bad. Grover and the left are both wrong. We need some revenue increases to buy off the left to enact real entitlement reform, and they need to understand that failure to transform (not “reform”) Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are imperative. Absent some compromise, the US fades as a premier nation.
“While the activists and political strategists must think and act in terms of victory as a practical matter, conservative and liberal intellectual leaders should not. There are three dominant political facts of our age that conservative thinkers (and also liberals) need to acknowledge. The first is the plain fact that neither ideological camp will ever defeat the other so decisively as to be able to govern without the consent of the other side. This is not merely my political judgment; it is sewn into the nature of America’s basic institutions and political culture.”
If you can’t accept the above paragraph, then you may as well skip the article. You are mistaken to do so, of course, but you may well be beyond the reach of reason. We aren’t going back to 1910, 1880, or 1789, and no, the Articles of Confederation were NOT superior to the Constitution.
I believe the article can (and perhaps, should) be taken into account in terms of reformulating some strategies in the free market movement. Even if you believe in the ability to get back to a “First Way” fundamentalism, the only possibility would be to accept, and implement, the direction Hayward is pointing.