Saturday, August 05, 2006

the tension between libertarians and liberals

* EJ Dionne:
"Is conservatism finished?

What might have seemed an absurd question less than two years ago is now one of the most important issues in American politics. The question is being asked -- mostly quietly but occasionally publicly -- by conservatives themselves as they survey the wreckage of their hopes, and as their champions in the Republican Party use any means necessary to survive this fall's elections.
President Bush, his defenders say, has pioneered a new philosophical approach, sometimes known as "big-government conservatism." The most articulate defender of this position, the journalist Fred Barnes, argues that Bush's view is "Hamiltonian" as in Alexander, Thomas Jefferson's rival in the early republic. Bush's strategy, Barnes says, "is to use government as a means to achieve conservative ends."

Kudos to Barnes for trying bravely to make sense of what to so many others -- including some in conservative ranks -- seems an incoherent enterprise. But I would argue that this is the week in which conservatism, Hamiltonian or not, reached the point of collapse.

The most obvious, outrageous and unprincipled spasm occurred last night when the Senate voted on a bill that would have simultaneously raised the minimum wage and slashed taxes on inherited wealth."
let's hope he's correct - although i suspect we'll see a few death-throesfrom the neocons (who aren't really cons - but they've hijacked the movement and/or the brand name) in the interim. double down. double down. double down. they are gonna cause some serious damage before their day is done - not to say the movement, but in an attempt to save their individual asses. I actually (literally) saw a proverbial 'chicken with it's head cut off' recently. that's some crazy shit - and that's what 'conservatism' looks like these days.

if dionne is right, what will the next 'battle' be? if it's the tension between libertarians and liberals, i'm looking forward to it. it could provide some creative outcomes, and will at least be much more intellectually stimulating than the nonsense we've had to endure these past years.

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