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conservatives

…conservatives should not be naïve about sin. We are moving from a world dominated by big cross-class organizations, like public bureaucracies, corporations and unions, toward a world dominated by clusters of networked power. These clusters — Wall Street, Washington, big agriculture, big energy, big universities — are dominated by interlocking elites who create self-serving arrangements for themselves. Society is split between those bred into these networks and those who are not. Moreover, the U.S. economy is increasingly competing against autocratic economies, which play by their own self-serving rules. Sometimes government is going to have to be active to disrupt local oligarchies and global autocracies by fomenting creative destruction — by insisting on dynamic immigration policies, by pumping money into research, by creating urban environments that nurture innovation, by spending money to give those outside the clusters new paths to rise. The New Right

Misguided conservative notions of moral hazard and cosmic justice are some of the greatest sources of harm in our politics. We could solve most of our problems. It’s just that there are a lot of nasty, selfish people who don’t want to see them solved. Hullabaloo

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The fact is, policies that work in one era may not work in another. One reason is that success can’t be repeated ad infinitum. When Reagan came into office, top federal income tax rates were 70 percent. By the time Obama arrived in the White House, they were half that. You can’t cut taxes forever; eventually, you stop being able to fund programs that the voters want. And the economic boost from cutting taxes gets smaller and smaller as taxes get lower. This comes directly from economic theory, but you can sort of see it by looking at a graph of federal tax revenue as a percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Reagan’s tax cuts didn’t reduce revenue very much — as Arthur Laffer might have predicted. But when George W. Bush cut taxes from a much lower base, revenue plunged. Do Conservatives Have Any New Ideas?

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Have a read of Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. From my own perspective as a liberal, I am struck time and again by Vines’ unwillingness to view the Bible as having gotten things wrong. And so the fact that his conservative critics claim that he is saying just that shows just how desperate they are to discredit him. It is ironic that Paul’s critics had the same stance and the same criticisms as Vines’ critics, and that they now embrace Paul’s convoluted attempts to show that he was not being unfaithful to Scripture as themselves Scripture, while demeaning and dismissing anyone who sounds like Paul today. Conservative Hypocrisy

One visionary Socialist like Márquez is worth a thousand despairing Conservatives. Our drug of choice mightn’t be consumption or ideology; it could be nostalgia, or escapism, or resentment. If we have faith in Tradition, in the permanent things, Modernity is neither here nor there. The enemy isn’t time. In fact, it’s the same timeless enemy our race has always battled against: Materialism, pessimism, and defeatism. The medicine that has always suited man’s minor bumps and bruises is the only cure for this far greater injury. We only need to take heart. Márquez and Modernity

A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop. William F. Buckley, Jr.

Future generations will come to despise the conservative establishment of the day just as most reasonable people despise the Confederates, the Hooverites, the McCarthyites and the Nixonians today. Hullabaloo

Conservatives need to gain some historical distance from the Reagan years in order to better assess what this political achieve­ment means for the long-term health of conservative ideals. After Reagan, we need to recognize that the history of American conservatism did not point ineluctably to this outcome—and that where the conser­vative compass points after Reagan is by no means self-evident. In its formative years, American conservatism possessed a grand if distressing diversity, the fruit of serious men grappling with the deepest problems of the age. By rediscovering this past, by gaining a better perspective on where we have come from and how such conserva­tism is an authentic expression of American culture, we are in a better position to look forward. Whither conservatism now? Are conservatives now “conserving” the Reagan Revolution? Or are there other tasks—tasks left undone and tasks that are now newly pressing because of our altered economic, social, political, and intellectual contexts? I doubt that there has ever been a time when conservatism has been in greater need of a reinvigorated conversation, a deeper engagement with its emerging cultural context, or a more critical exploration of its own past. Conservatism needs a rethinking grounded in its own dialectic of ideals and principles and yet oriented to new circumstances. This challenging task must begin with a revisioned history. Conservatism: Past & Future?

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