“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. Bradley...


This article is from TOS Vol. 1, No. 3. The full contents of the issue are listed here.

The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism
C. Bradley Thompson
Share Free Audio Available: To download an MP3 of this article, click here. In 1994, American voters elected Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in forty years. This ascent to power gave Newt Gingrich and his colleagues the opportunity to launch their “Republican Revolution” with its signature “Contract with America” platform. The election was said to mark the end of an era—the era of big government liberalism that had dominated American political life since the New Deal. After struggling for almost half a century to gain political power, the conservative movement finally seemed to have reached the political promised land.

In theory, the “Republican Revolution” proposed to “relimit” the powers of the federal government and to restore some of the basic principles and institutions of free-market economy. The preamble to the “Contract with America” pledged to the American people that the GOP would put an end to “government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money.” 1 The political goals of the Gingrich “revolutionaries” were not revolutionary in any meaningful sense, but they did promise to begin some necessary reforms. As a rule, the Gingrich Congress preferred less to more government controls. In practice, the Republicans began to whittle away at the welfare state. Their first post-election budget proposed to eliminate three cabinet agencies (the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy) and more than 200 federal programs. Within a year, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had reduced federal spending by almost $14 billion. 2 Such early successes led even Bill Clinton to declare in his 1996 State of the Union address that the “era of big government is over.” 3 A Republican Congress passed and Clinton signed far-reaching welfare reform legislation that promised to end “welfare as we know it.” 4 By the end of the 1990s, America’s political fault line appeared to have moved considerably to the Right for the first time since the early 20th century. The advocates of limited government faced an historic opportunity to begin the process of dismantling the welfare state and deregulating the economy. So how goes the Republican Revolution twelve years later? What is the state of the American political Right in 2006? Judging by electoral results and political appearances, the Right is flourishing. For the first time since before the New Deal, the Republican Party controls all three branches of the federal government. There is a Republican in the White House surrounded by conservatives; Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Senate; and seven out of nine justices on the Supreme Court are appointees of Republican presidents. Republican grand strategist Karl Rove and several conservative pundits say that prospects look good for the GOP to become America’s “permanent majority.” It is not just Republicans but conservative Republicans who are driving this train. As William Rusher, co-founder of the modern conservative movement, reports, the “conservative movement has come to dominate the Republican Party totally.” 5 In other words, the Republican Party has finally purged itself of the moderate, non-ideological, country-club, Rockefeller Republicans that once dominated the party in the 1950s and ’60s. The conservative moment—the moment when conservative Republicans become America’s ruling class—has arrived. For over forty years, ever since the Goldwater election debacle in 1964, conservatives have methodically pursued ideological control over the GOP. Now that they do control the Republican Party and all three branches of the federal government, what exactly have conservatives bequeathed to America? Here are some hard facts. Government spending has increased faster under George Bush and his Republican Congress than it did under Bill Clinton, and more people work for the federal government today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. During Bush’s first term, total government spending skyrocketed from $1.86 trillion to $2.48 trillion, an increase of 33 percent (almost $23,000 per household, the highest level since World War II). The federal budget grew by $616.4 billion during Bush’s first term in office. If post 9/11 defense spending is taken off the table, domestic spending has ballooned by 23 percent since Bush took office. When Bill Clinton left office in 2000, federal spending equaled 18.5 percent of the gross domestic product, but by the end of the first Bush administration, government outlays had increased to 20.3 percent of the GDP. The annualized growth rate of non-defense and non-homelandsecurity outlays has more than doubled from 2.1 percent under Clinton to 4.8 percent under Bush. 6

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. what they have in common.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. or is there something in their basic philosophy that has led them to embrace big government? Why have conservatives moved to the port-side of liberalism? To answer these questions and to understand the split personality of the conservative movement. as compared to 78. conservatives. http://www. To what ideals do today’s conservatives subscribe? What are their political goals? In recent years.e. this is the ideal that American conservatives have long claimed to be conserving or restoring. is a political philosophy—one that George Bush genuinely embraces and that has formed the policies of his administration. Mr. In The Conscience of a Conservative.5 days just to pay their federal taxes. As Thomas Jefferson eloquently summarized in his First Inaugural address: “A wise and frugal government.theobjectivestandard. Political analysts now speak of the great conservative “crack-up. In other words. which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement. Feeney. As Tom Feeney. which.2 percent more for the federal government under George Bush than under Bill Clinton. despite President Bush’s much vaunted tax cuts. college-educated. most traditional conservatives cynically assumed that Bush was using the moniker as a catchy electioneering phrase. Compassionate Conservatism Compassionate conservatism came to prominence during the 1999 Republican primaries and the 2000 Presidential campaign when George W..” To understand the state of the conservative movement and where it is headed. Maintaining internal order. and this is the ideal that animated the American Founding.” He defined the Founders’ “proven philosophy” in the following terms: “The legitimate functions of government are actually conducive to freedom. Two generations ago.” 8 Enabling men “to follow their chosen pursuits with maximum freedom”—this is the proper purpose of government. rode into power on just such a platform of limited government. from January 1 until July 12. suburban women who twice helped to elect Bill Clinton.” the marginally liberal. more importantly. conservatives denounced the growth of government and called for a revolution to roll back the Leviathan State created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.. What few traditional conservatives understood at the time was that candidate Bush actually meant what he said. Americans actually pay more in taxes today than they did during Bill Clinton’s last year in office. then you were living in a socialist society. is “to demonstrate the bearing of a proven philosophy on the problems of our own time.. This is the sum of good government. They recognized that the only legitimate function of government is to protect each individual’s right to act on his own judgment—so long as he does not violate the rights of others. we must examine the various ideologies that now dominate it. Compassionate conservatism. he continued. to protecting private property. a clever rhetorical strategy to capture the vote of America’s so-called “soccer moms.” The challenge of conservatism. with their Republican Revolution. let us first recall the basic ideals that have traditionally been regarded as the gold standard of true conservatism: the ideals associated with Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” The Founding Fathers created a free society grounded on the moral sovereignty of the individual. Thus. eventually most came around to supporting it—in part because they saw that it helped to elect Bush in 2000 and then reelect him in 2004—but.5 days in 2000 under Bill Clinton. titled “Cost of Government Day. the Founders established a government limited to the protection of individual rights—that is: limited to making and enforcing objective (i. that this new creed gave expression to his previously unarticulated core philosophy—one shared by many other politicians and voters. Increased spending inevitably means increased taxes. 2 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . and how they shape today’s Republican Party. rather than simply being a slick vote-getting slogan.” At the heart of the ideological wars now engulfing the movement are two putatively conflicting philosophies: a moral philosophy called “compassionate conservatism” and a philosophy of governance known as “neoconservatism. To set some context. What happened to the idea of limited-government conservatism? Have the conservatives been corrupted by power.. When state and local taxes (controlled in the majority of places by Republicans) are added to federal taxes. The 2006 annual report from Americans for Tax Reform. to resolving civil disputes. meaning they worked full-time for the government for more than half the year. Bush ran as a compassionate conservative.” 7 Just so. He wrote that the “ancient and tested truths that guided our Republic through its early days will do equally well for us. in turn. point to the principles of America’s Founding Fathers. five days a week. Bradley. removing obstacles to the free interchange of goods—the exercise of these powers makes it possible for men to follow their chosen pursuits with maximum freedom.” sums up rather nicely the intrusive role played by Republican government in the lives of ordinary Americans. however. because compassionate conservatism brought to the surface principles that traditional conservatives had silently followed for decades. At the time. Although some conservatives in 1999 openly mocked the idea of compassionate conservatism.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. While this is the ideal that defined the American Founding—and the ideal to which Goldwater conservatives have long claimed allegiance—it is not the ideal to which today’s conservatives subscribe. the conservative intellectual movement and the Bush administration are engaged in a very different kind of revolution—a revolution for big-government conservatism. administering justice. keeping foreign foes at bay. which shall restrain men from injuring one another. regarded by many as the political Talmud of conservatism. one must understand the nature of these two conservatisms. the average American has worked 10. a congressional Republican put it: “I remember growing up and reading in some school textbooks that if more than half your paycheck went to the government. Yet today. The report says that Americans had to work 86. In 1994. and to enforcing contracts. rights-respecting) laws. the conservative intellectual and political movement has become strained and divided. Americans worked for the government eight hours a day. Goldwater explicated the principles of conservative government. Accordingly.

says Myron Magnet.. “to a sweeping rejection of liberal orthodoxy about how to help the poor. is not for the Federal government to abolish welfare and leave it to “those with a stake in the community” to help those about whom they care. they do not believe that government itself needs to deliver those services.” as well.. Christian love for liberal pity as the motive for expanding and perpetuating the welfare state. have a “duty” to serve the needs of the poor. perceptual-level mentality.. by way of our government.” 16 The foregoing is a sample of the theory behind this movement as articulated by its contemporary theorists.rational sentiment that serves man as an automatic.g. It was this Frenchman’s glorification of compassion first in his Discourse on Inequality. 13 Such a policy serves only to redirect taxpayer dollars from government welfare agencies to private religious and civic organizations. Rousseau’s elevation of compassion to the center of ethical discourse launched a moral revolution in the West that has slowly percolated into the manners and mores of American life. It amounts. Americans are inundated on a daily basis—whether via the Oprah Winfrey Show. though designed rhetorically to rely on and appeal to traditional Christian virtues (e. compassion—the desire to relieve the pain and suffering of others—is a pre.” 14 During the 2000 election campaign. compassionate conservatism fully accepts the liberal notion that we have a “duty” to help the poor—compassionate conservatives simply disagree with liberals as to how to help them. and judge such facts.” Myron Magnet. think again. and compassion is the virtue of feeling and acting accordingly. says Magnet.” further explains the political meaning of compassionate conservatism. have in fact made the lot of the poor worse over the last 35 years. of being overwhelmed by a catastrophic sense of shame and guilt. candidate Bush occasionally mouthed support for a market economy. mercy. their solution.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. and of then reacting on one’s range-of-the-moment feelings. a mentality that processes all moral and political matters emotionally and then acts accordingly. but he saved his true enthusiasm for the notion that the poor and downtrodden deserve not only our compassion but our “love” and “charity. is for the Federal government to outsource the administration of welfare: Although [compassionate conservatives] acknowledge the role of government in helping those who need assistance. 18 Thanks to Rousseau. http://www. however. It “takes us back to the future by acknowledging the huge growth of the state while articulating a better way for government to help those whom prosperity has left behind”. immediate. it “endorses government help for seniors who need prescription drugs and for parents of needy school children”. praises George W. as described by Bush advisor Stephen Goldsmith. Michael Knox Beran.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. was most inspired by the moral writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau—the Prophet of Compassion. “intuitions” or “feelings” are the way to know. drug use. another leading theorist of compassionate conservatism. that first elevated a minor sentiment into a major virtue. Bush for his “unashamed use of the 'L’ word” and for being driven “by a belief in the redemptive power of love. According to this sentimental ideology.. “is concern for the poor—not a traditional Republican preoccupation—and an explicit belief that government has a responsibility for poor Americans. “liberal prescriptions. Bradley.” 9 Why reject the liberal orthodoxy on this count? Because.” 12 The compassionate conservative solution.” which means desiring to relieve the pain and suffering of others. the goal is to induce in Americans en masse an arrested.” 10 As such statements reveal. and infallible moral guide. Its advocates seek to uphold this moral principle through “free-market mechanisms”—hence “conservatism.theobjectivestandard. at least superficially. But who is ultimately responsible for this trend among conservatives? What are compassionate conservatism’s deepest philosophic roots? The new politics of compassion. good intentions notwithstanding. At compassionate conservatism’s core. or the New York Times—with maudlin scenes and stories of human 3 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . love. needs-as-claims are the fundamental human reality. and the aged—hence “compassionate. 17 For Rousseau and his intellectual descendents. is that government bureaucrats are incapable of promoting the long-term success of the poor. compassion is the moral leitmotif of American culture. illegitimacy. Small. local civic associations and religious organizations have the detailed knowledge and flexibility necessary to administer the proper combination of loving compassion and rigorous discipline appropriate for each citizen. Compassionate conservatives decry the liberal welfare state for causing the “worst-off” to be “more mired in dependency.. writing for The Wall Street Journal’s series “American Conservatism. Fox News. according to the Bush Administration.” 11 The problem. describes it as representing an “epochal paradigm shift” in American political thinking. It is a strictly perceptual-level phenomenon of seeing and feeling the pain and suffering of others. the homeless. Instead. that “lasting and profound change in a human life comes most often when care is offered on a personal level by families and by those with a stake in the community. school failure and crime than they were when the experiment began. a leading theorist of compassionate conservatism. The net effect is the same: The wealth of Americans is forcibly taken and redistributed to serve “compassionate” purposes. The delivery method adopted by today’s pushers of compassion is to harp day and night on those who fail and suffer.or sub. What is this philosophy? What are its principles and goals? The guiding moral principle of compassionate conservatism is the idea that we. and then in Emile. and it “provide[s] people with a wide variety of choices as to how they can best put government assistance to use.” 15 Compassionate conservatism substitutes. and charity). Stephen Goldsmith. CNN. evaluate. who are motivated by a burden of the heart to improve the lives of those around them. the sick. he writes. Lest you think compassionate conservatives feel any sense of shame about trampling the traditional Goldwater conservative belief that wealth redistribution is a violation of rights.

thereby ushering in a new social-political order. The moral ideal to which our culture aspires is the moist eyes of the wet nurse. and America is suffering because of it. describes compassionate conservatism as: “an across-the-board effort to revive responsible citizenship. A moral code that upholds compassion as a virtue is the antipode of a morality of justice. and finally. you the private individual—have a “duty” to support—nay. Yet when we see social needs in America.. my administration will look first to faith-based programs. sloth. 20 If compassion is a virtue. evasion. and attributed to. that the federal government must coerce your love and compassion by taking your wealth and giving it to “private” organizations that will use it to serve “those whom prosperity has left behind. By heralding sensitivity to the suffering of others as the height of virtue. suffering and need represent man’s essential metaphysical condition. which holds that man must live in selfless service to the needs of others—which means that rational.. It is not for their achievements that the weak are admired but for their failures. productive men must sacrifice (or be sacrificed) for the sake of irrational. Compassionate conservatism accepts the collectivist premise that solving the problems of the poor is the “duty” of society as a whole.” 22 4 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM .” 21 “We have a responsibility. Political “wisdom” is measured by. Forget about why a person failed to insure his Gulf-coast dwelling.” Bush later emphasized. no-fault morality that takes people just as they are. the radical individualism. because he feels more suffering. The moral relativism promoted by this weepy sentiment naturally leads to political egalitarianism. a central tenet of the politics of compassion. “He who feels the most pain. just give him some money. that you—you the taxpayer.” The so-called “love” advocated by the proponents of compassion is not directed toward human virtue but toward human vice. Forget about what caused a jobless person to be jobless. he described the goal and moral meaning of his proposal: “Government will never be replaced by charities and community groups. Jim Wallis.” On the day that the President unveiled his new program to earmark billions of dollars in federal welfare spending for faith-based charities. speaking in language that would have warmed Rousseau’s heart. To lack compassion in this new world is to be morally deprived if not morally depraved. this is an utter inversion of morality.. and so Americans today feel compelled to constantly display their sensitivity and to show that their “heart is in the right place. government has got to move. just give him an apartment or a house. Once we peel away the sentimental rhetoric and cut through the doublespeak.” Fundamentally speaking. therefore. to love and support—the poor. just give him a job. and that the formation of moeurs likewise turns on the training of the sentiments.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. Personal responsibility or lack thereof (the cause) is irrelevant to the compassionate. has more compassion. On the one hand.” which Brooks defines as “sacrifice for the greater good. Wallis and other leaders of the Christian Left have publicly challenged the President to live up to his own values and to show greater compassion. greater spending. Rousseau believed that politics—particularly democratic politics—is intimately connected to the people’s moeurs or manners. Wallis is right. “that when somebody hurts. and the economic inequality unleashed by Lockean liberalism. Rousseau’s ghost now oversees a nation of social workers. Ours is the Age of Compassion. and demands more sacrifice. on the other hand. Bradley. that needs—the needs of others—constitute a moral claim on your life. The Oprahization of American culture has made compassion the standard by which we judge whether men are good or bad. Sojourners. “just accept their plight and help them. this is an attempt to negate the law of causality—to sever consequences from their causes. At the heart of compassionate conservatism is the altruist-collectivist code. Rousseau sought to overcome what he saw as the rational self-interest. editor of the leftist Christian magazine.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. it is the annihilation of morality.” as it were. Thus neoconservative writer David Brooks. and today we have a new politics of compassion that comes in both liberal and conservative forms. wins. unproductive men. But Wallis excoriates President Bush’s unprecedentedly high levels of social-welfare spending as niggardly and immoral. To treat compassion as a virtue promotes a kind of moral relativism—a non-judgmental. Forget about why a person has saved nothing for retirement. Observe how compassionate conservatism’s moral message empowers the Christian Left. “Don’t judge people. it demands that one suspend moral judgment—that one not discriminate between the suffering caused by elements beyond one’s control and that caused by irrationality. Rousseau’s goal was to ennoble the sentiment of compassion in the hopes of transforming Western man from self-regarding to other-regarding..” 19 Compassion is now regarded as the cardinal virtue in American politics. misery. second. In the world of Rousseau and Clinton and Bush. Rousseau’s ideas took hold.” its proponents say. those who feel and satisfy the needs of the greatest number of people. They are encouraged to put their failures on display and to exercise compassion at every turn. The redistribution of wealth is. http://www. It paralyzes one’s ability to evaluate and judge the ideas and actions of individuals. compassionate conservatism’s moral and political teaching boils down to this: first. and those who suffer less should be sacrificed for the sake of those who suffer more. agrees with President Bush that the purpose of government is to feel people’s pain and satisfy their needs. And how have the president and other compassionate conservatives responded to such charges? They have responded in the only way their moral code permits them to respond: by calling for more spending.” How does this theory translate into policy and practice? At the heart of compassionate conservatism’s policy agenda is President Bush’s plan to “revolutionize” the welfare state through his “faith-based initiative.theobjectivestandard. He is also more “moral” than Bush.

faith.) Forced charity is an oxymoron that destroys the good will and generosity associated with genuine charity. when Republicans are in power. Worse yet. goals. federal money will go to churches and organizations run by Marxist-orientated (so-called “liberationist”) Christians in order to promote liberal-socialist values. Charity is the act of reaching into one’s own pocket and giving a dollar to someone of one’s own choosing. 'God loves you. is what one does voluntarily with one’s own money to help others about whom one cares. Charity. That is done when someone. Charity is. .” 25 The purpose of President Bush’s faith-based initiative is to create a religious welfare state—that is: to go beyond the secular welfare state by feeding both the body and the soul—filling the body with soup and filling the soul with religious dogma. Jews. “I’ve learned that God comes first. Further. While charity is not. Compassionate conservatism’s proponents tout President Bush’s faith-based initiative as an application of free-market principles to welfare. It is also worth mentioning that they are inimical to the very Christian “virtue” they purport to uphold: charity..” Republican senator Rick Santorum. But this is an Orwellian perversion and an utter corruption of free-market principles. Buddhists. and the recipients of this “charity” have the freedom to choose between various government-sponsored and governmentregulated denominational soup kitchens.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. What are the consequences of compassionate conservatism when applied to the question of foreign aid? In logic. generally regarded as a “right-wing” conservative. and the morality of self-sacrifice. Despite the President’s occasional protestations to the contrary. something freely chosen and benevolently given.. Bradley. On the premises of compassionate conservatism. grab for and use this billion-dollar giveaway to support and spread their particular faith. As a representative example of the content of these videos.” it follows that the labor and wealth of a prosperous nation like America should be sacrificed to the “needs” and misfortunes of poor nations. If secular welfare is bad for the poor. by definition. and I love. 23 Such “privatization” of the welfare system does give rise to a certain kind of “competition”: Protestants. Rastafarians. if the labor and wealth of individual Americans should be sacrificed to the “needy. the faith-based initiative is. In the president’s faith-based initiatives. There is no such thing as “market competition” between semi-private charities for the favors of government bureaucrats who have the power to arbitrarily give away money that is forcibly taken from other Americans. all things considered.. This political competition between churches for taxpayer money is the beau idéal of compassionate conservatism. is it not immoral to neglect the misfortune and suffering of others no matter who or where they are? Where can one draw the line? What would Jesus or Rousseau say? One cannot draw a line—which is why compassionate conservatism also seeks to internationalize American “charity. otherworldliness.” Liberal and conservative Christians will. it is a violation of the separation of church and state. one woman testifies. it is not what someone else chooses to do with one’s money for others on one’s “behalf. objectively speaking. Compassionate conservatism places government in the business of propagating religion. and the redirection of the welfare state toward conservative. The White House has recently produced video agitprop that features people discussing how various faith-based charity programs have changed their lives. how much worse is welfare that aims to convince them that their reasoning minds are incapable of understanding the important truths. about promoting religion. that. . Under Bush’s faith-based initiative. in the end. some good soul puts an arm around a neighbor and says. life and happiness on earth are not important. churches and faith-based charitable organizations. When Democrats are in power. we see compassionate conservatism’s two distinctive features: the use of “free-market mechanisms” to achieve welfare-state goals. Churches and charities compete with one another for government funding. Muslims. and that the key to “eternal” prosperity is to sacrifice their values in the name of the Lord? Observe the gargantuan hypocrisy of conservatives who posture as defenders of property rights and helpers of the poor while advocating the violation of property rights to fund programs that poison the poor. Compassionate conservatism’s principles and policies are inimical to a free society. Scientologists. a virtue. and you can count on us both. let us have none of it.” taxpaying citizens give less to genuine charities because they recognize that they are paying twice. http://www. If this is compassion. This is sheer government coercion and forced redistribution of wealth. (The latter is what children properly call stealing. No government policy can put hope in people’s hearts or a sense of purpose in people’s lives. as a result of being forced by the government to be “charitable. the federal government has been enlisted to do the “Lord’s work.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C.’” 24 The goal of the Bush administration’s faith-based initiative is clearly transformative: to change hearts.” writes Stephen Goldsmith. Hindus. it can be a rational endeavor so long as self-sacrifice is not involved. This is what compassionate conservatives mean when they advocate combining “free market” policies with religious programs for the poor. conservatives have damaged the very idea of charity and curtailed the benevolence that makes it possible. .. and various other California-style churches compete to offer the most love and the best soup—and with your money. As the President himself said in support of the initiative: “[W]elfare policy will not solve the deepest problems of the spirit. Catholics. the Unification Church.theobjectivestandard. especially religious.” Charity is not a “duty” to give up the fruits of one’s labor to those whom one would not support of one’s own free will. it is not the phenomenon of other people or the government reaching into one’s pocket and giving one’s money to someone of their choosing. But genuine charity withers when faux charity is forced. properly understood. puts it plainly: Compassionate conservatism “targets the poor and 5 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . The Bush administration’s program aims to make “funds more accessible to neighborhood and faith-based organizations that administer a mix of love and discipline. henceforth. By effectively nationalizing charity. federal money will go to the likes of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority to promote conservative-socialist values—and both parties will give money to Muslim “charities” in order to demonstrate their religious tolerance. Governmentfunded welfare is distributed by sub-contracting and out-sourcing the “politics of love” to private middlemen—namely.

. they manage the leading conservative journals and magazines. Jacques Chirac. whether they are across the street or across an ocean. in the end. Despite all their loose rhetoric about applying “free-market” solutions to the plight of the poor. For the last several years. Like the aging hippies of the New Left. and instead embrace a morality of self-sacrifice and governmental coercion. and. to be administered by the U. of course. distinguishes the approach of compassionate conservatism to the world’s poor from that of compassionate liberalism? The answer is. Paul O’Neill. Over the last 25 years. This explains the spectacle of President Bush’s former Treasury Secretary.N. Richard Perle. In order to encourage ever-greater amounts of sacrifice from the American people. he disagrees only over how the money should be raised and administered. French and Mexican presidents Jacques Chirac and Vicente Fox. But given the moral code of the compassionate conservatives. does precisely that. http://www. such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorp programs. Such “voluntary” service requires. compassionate conservatives accept the moral premise of liberal-socialism: that you have a moral duty—a moral duty that will be enforced by the state—to love and support those who have needs greater than your own. it is barely an exaggeration to say that neoconservatism is conservatism.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. 28 “Why should Vicente Fox.. he has created the ironically named USA Freedom program to pay “volunteers” for their service. more open to socialist redistribution.” What. the politics of compassion fosters a “caring” political community—a community that upholds selflessness as its greatest virtue. a leading neoconservative foreign-policy expert. arguably. the involuntary expropriation of taxpayer wealth so that young Americans can learn that working in a soup kitchen or changing bedpans in a nursing home is somehow nobler than pursuing their own goals or creating wealth. sovereignty. compassionate conservatism imposes “duties” on individuals and nations that are limitless and without borders. he promised to tax the American people himself in order to increase U.N. neoconservatism has come to dominate the conservative establishment. get the credit for compassionately feeding Africa.. have been calling for a world tax to help fight poverty in “developing” nations.S. compassionate conservatives reject the idea of basing morality on reason and instead embrace a morality grounded in feelings.” 26 In other words. the most intellectually active faction of the post-war intellectual Right. hurting for help. The ultimate goal of compassionate conservatism—like that of compassionate liberalism—is to make all Americans more compassionate and.theobjectivestandard. “when my administration is the most compassionate of all?” Bush supports the moral premise and goals of the world tax. Like the U.” elaborating the ways in which they are. 27 America.. They reject the possibility of a morality of self-interest and individual rights. they control the leading conservative think tanks. Then. who—after traipsing around rural Africa in a business suit. President Bush has challenged all Americans to devote at least two years of their lives to volunteer for community service. therefore. and.S. Bush and his administration. Who will bear the largest burden of this world tax? The American people. respectively. aid to poor nations from $10 billion to $15 billion within three years. they run the wealthiest conservative philanthropic foundations. the reigning ideology of the conservative movement and Republican policy makers.. The neocons have become so influential and so confident of their place in the conservative intellectual 6 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM .” President Bush undoubtedly thought to himself.” The New York Review of Books ran an article entitled. under the tutelage of the compassionate conservatism. is to be imposed on airline travel. led by U2 rock star Bono. Bradley. states that President Bush “on issue after issue. has reflected the thinking of neoconservatives. The new tax. Consider further how compassionate conservatism molds America’s foreign-aid policy. By promoting other-regarding over self-regarding virtues. has promoted the alleged virtue of sacrifice. He said that “we” Americans are duty-bound to “share our wealth” with poor nations. and Kofi Annan. Howard Dean charged that “President Bush has been captured by the neoconservatives around him. But an even more influential philosophy. How would compassionate conservatives respond to a Hillary Clinton administration that might call for Americans to sacrifice three or four years of their lives to community service or that might demand a massive tax increase to support the poor? What could they say? What possible moral argument could they offer to oppose political programs that are simply more consistent applications of their own moral principles? There is only one possible “free-market” solution to the problem of poverty that is consistent with individual rights: to abolish the welfare state. and carbon emissions (among other things). and they have a significant presence in the major media.” 29 The neocons are. currency transfers. How has the Bush administration responded to the idea? Immediately after rejecting the idea of a U. This is the moral premise on which the Bush administration. fundamentally. he wants the American people to sacrifice their wealth to the world’s poor. is neoconservatism. nothing.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. like every Democratic administration since the New Deal. but he wants his administration to be the model of “morality. of course. They teach at the best universities.. during the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Both insist that another nation’s need creates a moral duty that Americans must accept and fulfill. “The Neocons in Power. today. Neoconservatism Compassionate conservatism has exerted an enormous influence on George W. It is widely acknowledged today that the Bush administration has been deeply influenced by neoconservative ideas.-administered tax as a violation of U. no steps will be taken toward this goal on their watch.N. and he has proposed a significant expansion of existing government-service programs. and receiving daily lectures from African politicians on the moral obligation owed by America to feed the poor of that destitute continent —returned from Africa and lectured America on the “moral imperative” that we give billions of dollars in aid to the poor around the world. To that end. President Bush publicly sanctioned the moral purpose of the tax. If one child suffers—if there is one person in need anywhere in the world—then you and your fellow countrymen have a moral “duty” to do something about it.

. therefore.” but now they aim to fix that.” 36 Ultimately. This is the same Herbert Croly who bragged that his political philosophy was “flagrantly socialistic both in its methods and its objects.’” Such virtues include: 7 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . Kristol actually rejects the fundamental principles of a free society. so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his “The Man Versus the State. rules least. Kristol’s first task in converting the conservative intellectual movement into a political movement capable of governing America has been to redefine its guiding principles and its relationship to traditional American values. but. is that they are too beholden to that old-fashioned Jeffersonian idea that the government that rules best. indeed inevitable. and capitalism are neither morally edifying nor practically sustainable. establishment that one of their most articulate spokesmen.” what ideas. and support for. they have viewed conservatives as “the stupid party.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C.” was a historical eccentricity. into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.” which is his blueprint to purge the GOP of its attachment to what he mockingly dubs the “Leave Us Alone” philosophy of small-government conservatives.” Irving Kristol. Theodore Roosevelt. neoconservatives have always had a rather distant and uneasy relationship with traditional conservatives. the growth of the state remains unabated. Irving Kristol and David Brooks believe that 19th-century ideas. doyen of the neocons. such as natural rights.” he wrote.” He applauds the fact that the conservatives and the Republican Party are “now significantly less anti-state and more pro-community than two years ago.” 35 Not surprisingly. Likewise. then. as immoral. has declared: “We’re all neoconservatives now. too ideological.” Conservatives. is that traditional conservatism (including Goldwater conservatism)—with its proclaimed attachment to Jeffersonian principles of individual rights. Former Trotskyists in the 1930s and 40s and then liberals in the 50s and 60s. Bradley.. Kristol writes.” Brooks announces.” 31 Historically.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. is the first variant of 20th-century conservatism that is “in the 'American grain. “a society that ultimately deprived men of those virtues which could only exist in a political community which is something other than a 'society. According to Kristol. But they are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on “the road to serfdom. Kristol further indicated how he and his friends understand the role of the state in American public life: Neocons do not like the concentration of services in the welfare state and are happy to study alternative ways of delivering services. they know that the 19th-century idea. The neocons. we have to answer the following: What are the fundamental moral and political principles of neoconservatism? What does the “neo” mean? And how is neoconservatism transforming the conservative intellectual movement and the Republican Party? In a much-discussed essay entitled “The Neoconservative Persuasion. At a deeper level. Neoconservatism. follow their hero Herbert Croly’s admonition to his fellow Progressive socialists that “Reform is both meaningless and powerless unless the Jeffersonian principle of non-interference is abandoned.” Ironically. and too beholden to an outdated Jeffersonian conception of government. In his Weekly Standard manifesto on the neoconservative persuasion. limited government. that the continuing growth of the state leads to serfdom..” Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century.” 33 What unites Croly and the Roosevelt cousins is the idea that the individual should be subordinated to a paternalistic state. Brooks is pleased to report. Kristol has described the conservatives’ desire of “returning to a 'free enterprise’ system in which government will play the modest role it used to” as representing a dangerously “utopian counter-reformation. and their cavalier acceptance of. and economic freedom—is outside the American grain or even un-American. according to the neocons. and American conservatism in general. “have become re-reconciled to the idea of some government action. “A society founded solely on 'individual rights’ was. what really bothers the neocons about small-government Republicans is that they are too principled. the neocons have never abandoned their deepest moral commitments (as we shall see). http://www. individualism. principles such as individual rights. sums up their agenda: Their aim is to “convert the Republican Party. “reducing the size of government cannot be the governing philosophy for the next generation of conservatives. That the neocons would turn to such a statist triumvirate for inspiration and guidance reveals much about their plan to “reform” the Republican Party. “The era of small government is over. As with John Stuart Mill. he does not believe.’” What an extraordinary claim! The implication. more importantly. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology. are in the American grain? To whom do they turn for inspiration and guidance? At the top of the neocon’s pantheon of American heroes are three individuals who had a major destructive impact on individual rights in America: Herbert Croly. against their respective wills.” 30 What does this mean for America? To answer that question. of course. and laissez-faire capitalism. the neocons view any attempted return to a pre-New Deal world as not only impractical and fanciful. and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.” 32 If the Jeffersonian tradition is supposedly outside the “American grain.” the same TR who said that “every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it. as did virtually every thinker on the Right in the early post-World War II period. the Old Right’s opposition to the New Deal appalls the neocons. David Brooks of The New York Times.. limited government.” and the same FDR who insisted that all Americans must act “as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of the common discipline. limited government. seeing it as natural. according to the neoconservatives. 34 Not only is Kristol not bothered by the growth of the state. The neocons regard such ideological nostalgia as “doctrinaire” and as fostering “moral self-righteousness. were historical “eccentricities”—ideas better forgotten than defended. The real problem with traditional conservatives and Republicans. neoconservative columnist David Brooks has systematically laid out in the pages of The Weekly Standard and The New York Times what he calls a plan for “creative destruction.theobjectivestandard.

Bradley. not to say perfection. people need governmental action of some kind if they are to cope with many of their problems: old age. offering elements that were wanting in capitalist society—elements indispensable for the preservation..” Kristol praises utopian socialism because it is “community-oriented” rather than “individual-oriented. Likewise.” Kristol writes. as neoconservative Ben Wattenberg has written: “I personally think the welfarists have probably gone too far and I am prepared to examine case by case. in any centrally principled way.. is that it begins with the individual.” Kristol also described the likelihood that the proposed Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act would actually pass in Congress and then work in practice as a “fantasy. for example.. he argues. they “agree on more and more”: It is very hard for us to define what it is that divides us. The only interesting political question is: How will they get it? 45 The neocons rhetorically hide their fundamental moral commitments. to satisfy people’s “needs”—in the guise of pragmatism. they seem to support the idea of a welfare state rather begrudgingly and pragmatically. As do all good socialists.” Why fight the tide of history? Or. regarded (falsely) by some as one of the most important moral defenses of capitalism written in the twentieth century. to begin with. Kristol joined many liberals and socialists in characterizing Bill Clinton’s “two years and out” welfare proposal for able-bodied welfare recipients as “cruel. and Clinton’s welfare reform legislation has been a moderate success story. for better or worse. to “infinite emptiness.theobjectivestandard.” 40 As we will increasingly see. they will get it. or how much should be going into social security. 43 Presumably Kristol saved his third cheer for the moral ideal espoused by his first ideological love. they disagree merely over the best means to achieve their shared ends. As a specific instance of the neocon’s pragmatic reasoning.” He admires socialism’s ideal man for transcending the “vulgar. “I shall. Kristol and his friends embraced the “desired aims” of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs (and apparently they still do). say. 41 Kristol regards the “socialist ideal” not only as “admirable” but also as a “necessary ideal. Leon Trotsky. drug use.g. In the 1960s. If the growth of the state represented the road to serfdom for Hayek. pragmatically. and Jerry Springer.” and “ruthless. neocons hold that welfare should be regarded as a right because it is grounded in people’s “needs”—and.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. but broke with liberals only over how to satisfy the people’s needs and deliver their rights to welfare. “needs” are synonymous with rights: In our urbanized. in turn.. and that conservatives should try to make it better rather than worse. the principles espoused by John Adams. according to Kristol and friends. . ultimately. indeed.” 38 In other words. 37 The problem with the Founders’ liberalism. A secular capitalist society—a society that enables its citizens to pursue their self-interest—inevitably degenerates. We might. The great political lesson that the neocons have successfully taught other conservatives and their Republican students over the course of the last twenty-five years is to embrace rather than resist the growth of the state.” 42 This comes from the author of Two Cheers for Capitalism. But Kristol favors expanding Social Security and Medicare on the expedient grounds that senior citizens are a powerful voting bloc and because they are socially “unproblematic.” “unfair. and James Madison lead inevitably to the Marquis de Sade. Kristol’s neoconservative colleague. pragmatism is the neocons’ modus operandi. which.” 46 Well. what went wrong and how we ought to rectify it. and which neoconservatives are arguing. . he says. But where are the principles that separate us? 44 Where. They need such assistance. for example. the fantasy became reality. illness.” by which he means that welfare-for-seniors does not lead to the same kind of social pathologies (e. teenage pregnancy) that it does for other groups. disagree about the details or the scope of health insurance plans. such as universal medical and child care and increases in social security. as an unfortunate reality of contemporary American politics that conservatives must learn to accept and use in order to remain politically relevant. Do not expect such success stories from advocates of a conservative welfare state. or about the level of taxation that should be imposed upon corporations. http://www. as Kristol explains. and a philosophy that begins with the “self” must accommodate and allow for selfishness. a sense of distributive justice. industrialized. contrast Kristol’s critique of welfare programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with his support for expanding Social Security and Medicare. A free society grounded on the protection of individual rights leads inexorably to an amiable philistinism. and the pursuit of personal happiness. led to increased crime. Capitalist society itself—as projected. choice. “assume that the welfare state is with us. by insisting that the only meaningful question to ask is “How?” In an essay published several years ago in The Wall Street Journal. they demand it. in the writings of John Locke and Adam Smith—was negligent of such virtues.” 39 At first blush. The neocons are committed proponents of what Kristol calls a “conservative welfare state. But Kristol’s seemingly reluctant and realpolitik acceptance of the welfare state as historically inevitable and politically necessary masks what he really thinks. and gang activity. for the neocons. into a culture of isolated individuals driven solely by the joyless quest for creature comforts. according to Kristol. etc.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. which is that the welfare state is a moral good. Thomas Jefferson. Abby Hoffman. limiting the state to the protection of individual rights represents the road to nihilism for the neocons. Kristol is deeply committed to the moral ends of the welfare state. He supports reforming AFDC because it created a culture of dependence and perpetual poverty. depending on which socialists. highly mobile society. 8 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . and a common vision of the good life sufficiently attractive and powerful to transcend the knowledge that each individual’s life ends only in death. unemployment. a fund of shared moral values. has stated publicly that the differences between socialists and neoconservatives are greatly exaggerated. Neocons agree with the underlying moral principles of the socialists. In fact. materialistic.. of our humanity. and divisive acquisitiveness that characterized the capitalist type of individual. an easygoing nihilism and. . Nathan Glazer. This is why he not only supports saving and perpetuating most New Deal welfare programs but would also expand the socialist welfare state to include new programs. as Neo-Conservatives are supposed to do.

50 In other words. According to Irving Kristol. they eschew principles in favor of a mode of thinking—and they scorn thinking about what is moral in favor of thinking about what “works. giving people choice about how they want those services delivered. and using power in certain ways. in a neoconservative state. Instead.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. Bradley.” This is Kristol's “First Law” of politics: There are occasions where circumstances trump principles.” by which he means that. The neocons urge Republicans to drop their limited-government principles and to consider only the immediate problems of the present.” Once in power. is that it has had no vision for how America ought to be governed.” they argue.. creative statesman. . They also believe that if government is in the hands of the wise and good. thereby. is a strong “dose of Machiavellian shrewdness. How does a conservative welfare state work? And how does it differ from a liberal welfare state? The neocons advocate a strong central government that provides welfare services to all people who need them while. Develop an agenda that will get you elected and keep you in power. which means: shape it in politically advantageous ways (i. .” For over twenty-five years. neocons want political power to create a certain kind of society—a virtuous society guided by the right purposes—purposes that they are very reluctant to share with the general public. a clear sense of one’s ideological agenda and the devious routes necessary for its enactment.. unconnected to all other problems.. says Kristol. The neocons unabashedly describe themselves as pragmatists. one who possesses some political imagination. Policies such as these have the obvious advantage of reconciling the purposes of the welfare state with the maximum degree of individual independence and the least bureaucratic coercion. above all else. What GOP strategists need. for too long. . Kristol’s advice to Republicans is: Stop taking your principles so seriously (as if that were ever a problem). they have fought an ideological war against ideology.” 49 The neocons’ message to traditional conservatives and Republicans is. Hayek and Trotsky. . they choose their own “private” health and child-care providers.” 48 A governing philosophy is ultimately about getting. according to Kristol. . they eagerly advise Republican politicians to relinquish any principled advocacy of individual rights or economic freedom. the people are allowed to keep and spend their property only by permission of the state. For too long. nor is it how one becomes a governing majority. but in recognizing the occasions when one’s principles are being trumped by circumstances. will see such occasions as possible opportunities for renewed political self-definition. If compassionate conservatism injected love into the hardened arteries of Republican politics.” the characteristics of which are “quick-wittedness. the people are permitted to choose from among a handful of pre-authorized providers. When the neocons urge Republicans to think entrepreneurially what they mean is that Republicans should abandon their principles and develop rhetorical strategies and political tactics for getting elected. people should be allowed to keep their own money— rather than having it transferred (via taxes) to the state—on condition that they put it to certain defined uses. are not the wide-open choices of a free market. Neoconservatism is a political philosophy concerned with.theobjectivestandard. Like socialists. at the same time. Kristol sums up the neoconservative position this way: The basic principle behind a conservative welfare state ought to be a simple one: wherever possible. According to Kristol. in a neoconservative state.. generate more tax revenue that will be used to fund the conservative welfare state. . The neocons call this scheme a free-market reform of the welfare state. Statesmanship consists not in being loyal to one’s avowed principles (that’s easy). and without reference to principles. The . power. according to Kristol and company.. earn more money. in ways that buy votes). A “philosophy of governance” is a philosophy for how to govern. the neocons aim to reinvent the Republican Party by urging it to develop a new “philosophy of governance” or “governing philosophy. and cutting government spending. which is to say that there is no recognition of the principle of property rights. and parents receive vouchers and choose which schools their children will attend. rather. The neocons are much more concerned about “who rules” than they are about the limits of political rule. Indeed. he urges conservatives and Republicans to act less like political “accountants” and more like political “entrepreneurs.” the neocons occasionally support tax cuts—but not because they want to return to taxpayers money that is rightfully theirs.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. In practice. . he 9 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . They would also have the advantage of being quite popular. it ought not to be limited too much by constitutional rules and boundaries. That is what makes it “conservative. Let us proceed to decode it. articulateness. wise statesmen can somehow reconcile individualism and collectivism. spur economic growth—and. keeping.” freedom and socialism. As economic “supply-siders. Because the neocons believe in the moral propriety of a welfare state. .” 47 In other words. of course.e. Be clever. focusing on such pedestrian goals is not how one gets elected. The problem with the Republican Party hitherto. Instead. The most remarkable issue about the neocons’ notion of a “governing philosophy” is that it is a strategy for governing without philosophy. That is how the neocons reconcile Adam Smith and Karl Marx. http://www. Republicans have been concerned with such mundane tasks as balancing the budget. lowering taxes. And. in effect: “Grow up! Get over your ideological hang-ups. “there are moments when it is wrong to do the right thing. the GOP has been guided by what Kristol mockingly calls a “businessman’s mentality. The successful statesman. they advocate lowering the marginal tax rate because it will provide an incentive for people to work harder. rights and “duties. this means that the coercive force of the state is used to provide for all of the people’s needs—from universal social security to health and child care to education—but the people choose their own “private” social security accounts. The choices. the GOP must learn how to “shape” rather than balance or cut the budget. then neoconservatism infused blood-thinning cynicism into the Republican blood stream.” Decoding what the neocons mean by this vague notion of a “governing philosophy”—a phrase frequently repeated in their writings but rarely discussed and never defined—is the key to unlocking the ultimate meaning of their political agenda.

” 52 By adaptation. http://www. The neocons have a dyspeptic reaction to arguments grounded in moral principles. Discretionary spending at the federal level has increased by 49 percent since President Bush was sworn in to office. Bradley. “Thinking politically” means compromising with liberals. Kristol.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. Republicans should go along but insist that parents be given vouchers to send their children to the day-care facility of their choice.. the neocons begin with the here-and-now and the expediencies of the moment. according to the neocons. Republicans should neutralize liberal pretensions by encouraging “greedy” and “profiteering” corporate executives to voluntarily donate their profits to charities.. It means that Republicans should co-opt the liberal message in order to expand their political base and to form a permanent ruling majority.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C.” which means that socialist ends will be achieved with conservative means. They regard political reality as a state of constant flux. but with the caveat that conservatives can do a better job of doling out the goods and services. The neocons’ new Republican Party seeks to restore not a Jeffersonian model of government..” The neocons’ pragmatic rationale for this wholesale capitulation is that “If it’s going to happen. Don’t concern yourselves with principles. They fail to grasp that compromising one principle inevitably leads to hundreds of compromises in practice. why not take the credit?” If we’re going to have a new form of socialism.theobjectivestandard. Republicans should steal the issue from the Democrats and advocate a system of universal health care but one that allows people to choose their own doctor or HMO.” which means to assess and “confront the reality” of their immediate political situation and to “adapt” to changing political realities “in a self-preserving way. 55 This is the neocon methodology. Let us now take a closer look at just how big our government has become since Republicans took control of the federal government. Conservatives are being asked to compromise their principles. particularly when liberals claim the moral high ground on issues that concern the alleged “needs” of the people. but rather the Prussian welfare state. Observe who is being asked to compromise what here. argues.” 53 In other words. At the heart of the neocons’ “governing philosophy” is a pragmatic method for gaining and keeping power. it comes as no surprise that a Republican-dominated government has ushered in a new era of big government. They cynically declare that the “age of ideology” is over. Their advice to the Republican Party is to compromise and accept the moral ends of liberal-socialism. is what it means to be “in the 'American grain. is that the “merits of pre-emptive spending seem destined to remain forever incomprehensible to the conservative cast of mind.” writes Kristol.” 54 The “art of government. is to translate the “liberal or radical impulse into enduring institutions. they would see this as a problem only if they opposed welfare programs. the neocons add Bismarck to their list of statesman-like heroes. The most damning indictment of Republican profligacy can be seen in the Republicans’ abuse of non-entitlement spending. a hundred years ago. for that matter) to be moderate. Ideas Have Consequences Given the moral premises and methodologies of compassionate conservatism and neoconservatism. Republicans should encourage American companies to hire environmentalists as advisors. the neocons are referring to the process of adjusting to the principles and policies of those who currently hold power or who threaten your power. This. As pragmatists. neoconservatives can offer no principled opposition to the creation of new welfare programs in the future. such as child or health care. If radical environmentalists launch a public relations campaign against global warming. they advise Republicans (and Democrats. As William Kristol has written: “A minority party becomes a majority party by absorbing elements of the other party. According to Kristol. liberalism will always have the upper hand and will always dictate the future. a lesson that conservatives seem constitutionally unable to learn. Moral appeasement of this sort serves only to embolden the Left. the “idea of a welfare state is in itself perfectly consistent with a conservative political philosophy—as Bismarck knew.” 56 In addition to TR and FDR. If liberals commence a public campaign against the profits of “big business” or the salaries of their executives. But lest we think that President Bush is the only big spender in the 10 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . by which they mean that the self-righteous moralism of the Old Right and the New Left must be abandoned so that they can get on with the business of managing more efficiently the practical and inevitable realities of the modern welfare state. the way to defeat liberalism is to become a liberal.. prudent. concern yourselves with acquiring and keeping power. flexible. why shouldn’t Republicans claim victory for having put it into practice? The problem with Republicans.’” This is their contribution to “the stupid party” and to American life. they eschew thinking of political issues in terms of black and white. This is what it means to “think politically. which they do not. particularly arguments either for capitalism or against the welfare state. and given their prevalence today. If feminists propose to nationalize pre-school child care. Liberals are being asked to compromise only the way in which welfare is delivered. is chameleon-like in his ability to redefine his principles in the light of changing circumstances. for instance. advises that it is both desirable and possible to figure out a workable “amalgam of the prevailing 'Left’ and 'Right’ viewpoints. according to Kristol. In this relationship. Of course.” 51 which means a harmonious mixture or “golden mean” between capitalism and socialism. What specific advice have the neocons offered to Republicans in this regard? Here are the kinds of tactics the neocons have recommended (these might sound familiar): If liberals launch a national campaign for socialized medicine. Having abandoned principles. They urge Republicans to “think politically.

Consider some of the particular programs that the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans have supported over the last five years. that it is too restrictive. And without a moral argument. Second. unless the welfare state itself is—and it isn’t. there’s President Bush’s signature welfare program administered by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. it will assume greater control over the private prescription drug insurance industry.’ Mr.5 million low-income people who do not pay taxes. all their other arguments are feckless.3 billion).com/issues/2006-fall/decline-.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C.” 59 Only a Republican could view the expansion of a government program as a free-market reform. doctors. Even more ominous. $149 million to the Compassion Capital Fund (for the perpetually “needy”).” and “competition” can reform the social insurance programs of the Left.997 (costing $27. the welfare state that Bill Clinton began to dismantle has been given a second life. and drug producers—a right that will be protected and administered by the government.4 billion to house the homeless. Ten years later.439 (costing $10 billion) to 13. Republicans launched a variation on Clinton’s plan by partially socializing drug benefits for seniors. as the tentacles of government regulators quietly and slowly strangle the private health-care and insurance industries. supported tariffs on steel imports (welfare for the American steel industry). a staggering tenfold increase.” What conservative intellectuals do not. The Republican position on government spending comes down to this: We can spend the government’s money more prudently than Democrats. The amount of money that the Bush administration has taken (or proposes to take) from American taxpayers for redistribution to the irresponsible and unproductive is utterly staggering: $50 million to fund mentors for children of criminals in jail. the GOP prescription drug plan uses ostensibly “private” middlemen (i. Under George Bush and the Republicans. the Republican Party has presided over the biggest explosion in federal spending and the greatest extension of the welfare state since Lyndon B. if history is any guide. and as the “privatized” system begins to collapse (as it surely will). In 1995. which represents the largest expansion of the federal government in over thirty years. As a result of this one Act. Whereas the liberal welfare state created a culture of dependence.e.. offered a tax “refund” to 6. federal education spending has grown by 100 percent since Bush took office. First. and competition drives down price. it will quietly invoke additional pricing and regulatory controls over the nation’s pharmaceutical industry. Republicans defended this new program as an example of how “private ownership. such as those at the Heritage Foundation. they do not tell the whole story.. and that it does not give senior citizens enough “choice.. Take for example the “No Child Left Behind Act. passed a $180 billion farm subsidy bill (welfare for farmers). This is a classic model of the Republican approach to welfare. as with all entitlement programs. Johnson’s Great Society programs of the 1960s. $1. let us not forget that discretionary spending has exploded since the Republicans took over Congress in 1995. Democrats. the number of congressional “pork barrel” projects added to Republican congressional budgets increased from 1. $75 million for the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative. our welfare state will foster virtue and the public good. and various forms of deviant social behavior.theobjectivestandard.. Of course. ballooning costs are expected in subsequent decades.” 60 While some conservatives. $206 million for an abstinence-only program. Apparently recognizing this. and extended the American welfare state to Africa by offering the people of that continent $15 billion in AIDS relief. Conservative estimates put the cost of this Medicare drug benefit at more than $724 billion over the next decade. they have done so only on the grounds that it costs too much. Of course. perpetual poverty. and as much as $2 trillion ten years beyond that. not surprisingly. every single domestic agency of the federal government (with the exception of the Environmental Protection Agency) experienced inflation-adjusted budget increases. of course. Between 1995 and 2005.” “choice. further inhibiting the creation of new life-enhancing and life-saving drugs.” which Ted Kennedy virtually wrote for President Bush and which represents the greatest expansion of the federal government in education since the creation of the Department of Education in 1979. in a pithy statement of the philosophy that inspires most of the Republican proposals. The GOP plan is particularly distressing in that it claims to reform the system by applying free-market principles to a corrupt and inefficient Medicare program. 58 Worse yet. There was a time when the likes of a prescription drug entitlement would have been regarded as inherently unconservative. semi-private insurance companies) to administer a brand new welfare program. the Bush administration enthusiastically signed into law a multi-billion dollar prescription drug bill. we can expect the federal government to assume ever-greater controls over the entire health-care industry in at least two ways. 11 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . Like the faith-based initiative. $150 million for a drug-addiction program. Bradley. As shocking as these numbers are. Then. Writes George F. This is all the more remarkable given that just several years earlier the Gingrich “revolutionaries” of 1994 promised to abolish the Department of Education. liberals will blame the system’s failure on the “free-market” reforms and then demand ever-greater command and controls over the health-care system. GOP. have denounced the Drug Benefit program. for instance. and cannot make is a moral argument against such a program. The Republican position was captured by Newt Gingrich in a story in The New York Times: “'Choice creates competition.. More important than the amount of money spent is what the money is being spent on. Will: A “prescription drug entitlement is not inherently unconservative.” The Republicans’ prescription drug entitlement program applies the same moral premises that under girds Medicare: that people have a “right” to health care—a right that trumps the rights of taxpayers. http://www. $240 million for promoting healthy marriages and responsible fatherhood. Republicans raised the alarm and then defeated Clinton’s plan to socialize the health-care system. Gingrich said. lambasted the bill as an attempt by Republicans to “privatize” Medicare. putting many such companies out of business when people stop buying something they can now get for “free. 57 Since it took control of both the White House and Capitol Hill. The Bush administration and their Republican allies in Congress have. Times have changed. will not. By the end of President Bush’s first term.

His most ambitious program is his faith-based initiative. It would use government funds to expand social programs run by religious organizations. the Republican Party. and the conservative intelligentsia have now fully and openly embraced liberalism’s two basic principles: altruism and pragmatism. Day two: They concede that people in need have a right to government assistance. Day one: Republicans denounce. Bush has famously defined himself as a compassionate conservative with a positive agenda. George Bush “hasn’t abandoned conservatism”. Not even Goldwater conservatives can offer an alternative to the welfare state. must learn to “make prudent accommodations” to the welfare state. Almost by definition.. It matters not one whit to me whether my earned wealth is forcibly redistributed by a Hillary Clinton or a George Bush government. Bush abandoned the all-but-hopeless fight that Mr. he says. because it produces more wealth that can be subsequently “shared” with the less fortunate.” Conservatives. liberty.) This means they support transfer 12 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . and help take care of the poor. . The conservative movement has stepped both its feet into a philosophic sinkhole and is drowning in a miasma of sentimental mush and cynical manipulation.” Is there a conservative in America who would dare challenge Brownbacks’s moral standard? Likewise. love each other. Promoting spending cuts/minimalist government doesn’t do that. The political subjugation of the individual in the name of the morality of sacrifice is the essence of both. conservatism invokes the altruism of Jesus. Big government conservatives are favorably disposed toward what neoconservative Irving Kristol has called a “conservative welfare state. The reason: People like big government so long as it’s not a huge drag on the economy.” (Neocons tend to be big government conservatives. With respect to individual rights. Republicans cower.” 63 Would Newt Gingrich. and the elderly—Republican resolve collapses. A second trait is a programmatic bent. and property. Compassionate Conservative”).. ennobled. but there has never been any philosophic substance to their arguments. we’re supposed to love God.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. is religion. from his Christian faith—specifically from the Second Great Commandment. What the mandarins of the conservative establishment do not and cannot understand.” 62 Every time Democrats and liberals launch a moral counterattack against the “mean-spiritedness” of even the most modest conservative reforms. and saved it. Alabama Governor Bob Riley states the general conservative position succinctly: “According to our Christian ethics. quite simply. Reagan and conservatives on Capitol Hill had waged to jettison the Department of Education. More importantly. the conservative position comes down to this: The free-enterprise system is good because it “works” better than any other system. instead. It is true that the GOP and its intellectual allies in the conservative movement have employed the rhetoric of rights. this makes him a big government conservative. in a word. given their philosophy. When faced with the charge repeated time and again that they represent big business. Reagan failed to reduce the size of the federal government and why Newt Gingrich and the GOP revolutionaries failed as well. Once one peels away the folksy rhetoric. For neocons such as David Brooks. Day four: They shake hands with their Democratic partners and declare that a new era of bipartisanship and consensus has finally arrived. which is to love your neighbor as yourself. . children. after decades of an impossible struggle in which conservatives fought liberal government programs while accepting and agreeing with liberal altruism. .. The process typically works like this. Consequently. Bush’s neoconservative defenders go beyond Buckley’s “prudent” accommodations to the welfare state. he’s opted to infuse the department with conservative goals. Buckley tells conservatives that they must accustom themselves to the fact “that certain fights we have waged are. He understands why Mr. because they too accept its moral premises. 61 And so they have. Compassionate conservatism and neoconservatism have not corrupted the GOP as some conservatives have argued. then flee and surrender the moral high ground. and the patriotic slogans. while neoconservatism provides them with a philosophy of governance that shows them how to devise (allegedly) more cost-effective welfare programs. and the “greedy”—and that their “cold-hearted” policies hurt poor women. The common denominator between compassionate conservatism and neoconservatism is what Fred Barnes calls “big government conservatism. a leading conservative Republican (dubbed recently as “Mr.theobjectivestandard. with nervous indignation. the growth of welfare and regulations. there is and can be no fundamental difference between a secular-liberal welfare state and a religiousconservative welfare state. limited government. or even Barry Goldwater denounce Riley’s assertion? Liberalism invokes the altruism of Marx. William F. Another trait is a far more benign view of government than traditional conservatives have. they have simply exploited and brought to the surface principles that have been at the heart of the conservative intellectual movement from the beginning. and capitalism on explicitly moral grounds. says that his “focus on compassion comes . Rush Limbaugh. The Bush administration.. either way. Instead. Day three: They propose to save particular welfare programs through pragmatic reform. and openly embraced the philosophical roots of the Left. mainstream conservatives have never made a philosophic argument for individual rights. they are embarrassed by. abandoned their former half-formed principles. Mr. is that conservatives—to the extent that they ever had any interest in defending individual rights and limited government—lost the fight because they never engaged the enemy with the only kind of weapon that could win: a moral argument against the claim that those in “need” have a moral claim on one’s life. Compassionate conservatism permits Republicans to demonstrate publicly how much they “care” for those in need. and both camps are indebted to Rousseau for his emphasis on compassion.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. lost. and have always worked very hard to hide. . turn. So Mr. Why? Why do all conservatives accept the moral premises of the liberals? The answer. the rich. they have finally and officially given up. Big government conservatives prefer to be in favor of things because that puts them on the political offensive. . Bush: First. Ultimately. he’s realistic. they openly support its moral ends. Bradley. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. http://www.” a philosophy of governance embodied in the person of George W. he’s “modernized. the hollow bromides. my money is seized. the fact that capitalism can only be justified if each and every man has a moral right to live and work for his own sake and not as a sacrificial beast of burden to the “needs” of society.

To stand on principle. Bradley. limited government. Measured according to this. In a few decades. Goldwater conservatives claim to stand for absolute and certain moral principles. and that freedom is part and parcel of our heritage. Arguments from authority or tradition will not do. it is not the liberals or the socialists but rather the conservatives who bear the greatest guilt for dragging America down the road to statism. they simply invoke the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” as self-evident. the principle of individual rights.theobjectivestandard. and capitalism (thereby serving as a brake against the ambitions of the Left)..com/issues/2006-fall/decline-.” As we have seen. Conservatives have always run at a full gallop from having their philosophy identified with a morality of “selfishness. to offer a moral argument in support of capitalism. payments that have a neutral or beneficial effect (Social Security. reborn.. Conservatives may posture as supporters of individual rights. If the American principles of limited government and capitalism are to survive and serve our lives and the lives of our loved ones. http://www. The ultimate meaning of big-government conservatism was captured recently in the Christian Science Monitor.) In contradistinction to the relativistic Left. It is radically insufficient to quote the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence or the speeches of Abraham Lincoln as if that constitutes an argument. transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government’s budget. What aspiring advocates of capitalism need is a philosophy that identifies and defends the moral core of individualism—the ethics of rational egoism. halting steps. and true. Thus there is no meaningful difference between the Christian sentimentalism of the New Right and the moral relativism of the New Left. is now considered by conservatives to be impractical and imprudent. thus. The principles on which America was founded should be venerated because they are true and right and crucial to human life—not because they are “ours” or because they are old and dear. They both treat emotions and feelings as their means of knowing what is true and good—and what they “know” to be true and good is that self-sacrifice is moral and self-interest is immoral. by Patrick Chisholm. principled alternative to conservatism. Its intellectual leaders do not believe in or have the ability to validate philosophically the principles on which this country was founded. Medicaid) and oppose those that subsidize bad behavior (welfare). but when they are in power they have a proven record of hastening our descent into socialism (which is fueled by the mutual desires of the Left). They share the same moral premises and political ends. 65 The redistributionist state that began with the New Deal. in reality. That great men advocated freedom.” Not only have conservatives and Republicans abandoned any semblance of a principled moral opposition to the welfare state. one must also defend it on the more fundamental grounds that it is moral in theory. as a “necessary evil” about which they can do little but compromise.” But self-interest is and always has 13 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . they are morally opposed to these values. But capitalism simply cannot be defended without a moral argument—a moral argument in support of individual rights and against their violation—which means: in support of self-interest and against self-sacrifice. limited government. or about $1. conservatives often claim to stand for private property. It is not enough to defend limited government on the grounds that it works in practice. But how is this principle validated philosophically? This is the question that leaves even the Goldwater conservatives stammering in dogmatic assertion. But if you ask them to defend and prove such principles philosophically. they now fully embrace it morally and politically. In the early 1960s. (Other conservatives do not believe in such principles. they differ only marginally in the means they choose to achieve their shared goal: the welfare state. if you ask them to define individual rights objectively. Nor is it enough to show that the regulatory welfare state does not work. This means that proponents of these principles must find a philosophic alternative to the conservatives’ stale bromides and folksy speeches. They need a rational. has now been saved. moral principle. the policies of compassionate conservatives and neoconservatives merge to promote a shared common end: the violation of individual rights for the sake of “general welfare” and for the “needs” of the “less fortunate. transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending. Chisholm writes: Certain trends have been favoring the left for the past several decades.and neo-conservative policies of the Bush administration have served to advance the long-term ideological and political agenda of the redistributionist Left. but. just. the US government’s main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. who reported that the compassionate. As the United States advances toward socialism by a series of gradual. George W. they must be defended uncompromisingly as moral. Thus there is no meaningful difference between the aims of today’s conservatives and those of today’s liberals.. end the conversation. and. one must also show that it is immoral. are truths.. Medicare. either. Bush. 64 Conservative intellectuals and Republican politicians no longer hold their noses and reluctantly accept the welfare state as an unfortunate political reality. is the touchstone of a free society.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. A truly free society is defined by its understanding and protection of individual rights—the right of each individual to act on the judgment of his own mind so long as he does not violate the same rights of others. This. and advanced by the Conservative Revolution. Those who want to defend the American principles of limited government and capitalism must do so on objective philosophical grounds. and capitalism. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget. will go down in history as the first Republicans to openly and explicitly advocate a conservative welfare state as a “positive good.4 trillion per year. When they are out of power. and their history is one of actively betraying them. and that was radicalized by the Great Society. A New Moral Code The conservative movement in all its forms has demonstrated repeatedly its unwillingness and inability to defend the political principles of a free society. but they are not arguments. No: Today’s conservatives and their compassionate leader. this is what must be defended and embraced as an absolute.

liberty.” It is the ideal that animates the Declaration of Independence. For conservatives. thus it is the only moral code that can support capitalism. Man’s metaphysical condition is that he is a rational. serve as a moral and legal fence that defines boundaries of human action between individuals in their relations with each other and between individuals in their relations with the state. http://www. and the pursuit of happiness matter. art. it is the moral and legal mechanism by which people live together peacefully. which means that he has the power to pursue life-serving goals and happiness or not. free of the one and only thing that can prevent them from doing so: physical force. the principle of man’s rights. integrated moral code: to guide him in the pursuit of such life-serving goals. The recognition of individual rights implies three things: first. He must choose on a daily basis whether to be rational or irrational. Observe how conservatives react when liberals play the poverty guilt card. Those who refuse to recognize and embrace egoism refuse to recognize and embrace man’s rights. it is the only system in which individuals are fully free to act on their own best judgment. is that individuals must be free to pursue their own self-interest—which means. observe their intellectual disarmament when liberals taunt them about the needs of the downtrodden.theobjectivestandard. at the heart of individualism. Because of their fear of challenging the morality of self-sacrifice and championing the morality of self-interest. is the politics of individualism (i. to “society. free to pursue his values) and.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. the proper moral purpose of government is to protect his right to do so. It is in man’s self-interest and it is his fundamental right to pursue a life of happiness—which means. just or unjust. been. and choose to reject capitalism. romance. For conservatives to argue. that no man should be coerced into sacrificing his liberty or property in order to satisfy someone else’s needs or wants. honest or dishonest. This notion is the fatal philosophic flaw that has destroyed the concept of individual rights in the minds of Americans.) Capitalism is the only social system that upholds the principle of rights. But this principle. second.” to the “common good. property. and third. life-enhancing values. The only “obligation” connected with individual rights is the obligation to respect the rights of others—which means. to give up some part of his life. It is precisely because man has free will that he requires a moral code—a moral code that will help identify the long-range material and spiritual requirements of his life. The proper moral purpose of every individual’s life is to pursue his life-sustaining. whether by individuals or by governments. travel. for others. a moral teaching that forces men to sacrifice their interests for the alleged sake of others is doomed to failure. not to initiate physical force against them.. independent or dependent. This is what it means to live in a free and civilized society. Bradley. properly understood. Americans must remember what conservatives have forgotten (or never fully understood): that the United States was founded on the idea that individuals have unalienable rights to life. It is the only moral code that entails and supports the principle of individual rights. But this is not what conservatives mean by the term. volitional being with no pre-programmed or automatic code of values. property. as virtually all of them do. liberty. Rational egoism holds that each individual should pursue his own welfare or self-interest—and that no one has a right to force anyone to act against his own judgment or to sacrifice himself for the “sake” of others. obligations to provide goods or services to the unproductive—is a blatant contradiction. it is the reason why man’s inalienable rights to life.. What the principle of individual rights means. the obligations imposed by rights represent the “duties” we owe to others.” This means that the individual has an obligation to sacrifice. What conservatives purporting to defend capitalism do not (or will not) recognize is that altruism and individual rights are philosophic opposites that cannot be reconciled. Each man is a morally sovereign entity. friendships. observe their “me-too-ing” moral appeasement when liberals laud self-sacrifice as the essence of moral virtue. in “the American grain. conservatives—more so than liberals—have obliterated the concept of rights in the minds of Americans. Man is a being of self-made soul. hardworking or lazy.e. It is the idea that each individual owns himself and has both a right and a responsibility to pursue his own interests according to his own judgment while respecting the rights of others to do the same. and the pursuit of happiness.. that each man must accept full responsibility for governing his own life. (Their neoconservative and compassionate-conservative brethren recognize it. 14 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . then. in practice. Any attempt to ground capitalism on. is the morality of egoism applied to a social-political context. is egoism. the individual free of government coercion. that man’s only reciprocal social obligation is a negative obligation—to not violate the rights of others. and so forth. financial security. that “rights impose obligations”—meaning positive obligations. But to say that “rights impose obligations” is the moral equivalent of saying that food requires poison in order to be nutritious. or to reconcile it with. Rational egoism is the only moral philosophy (and capitalism is the only social system) that recognizes each individual as an end in himself and as the proper beneficiary of his own productive actions. The principle of individual rights prohibits the initiation of physical force against people. What validates this principle? The same thing that validates all objective moral principles: the fact that man’s life depends on it.” to the “public interest. Rights.. At the heart of capitalism. This is why man needs a consistent. to use Irving Kristol’s language. Conservatives use the notion of “obligation” or “duty” as a moral counterbalance to the individualism connected with the idea of rights. This is why no person is legitimately the master or the slave of another. to pursue a rewarding career. recreational activities.. These rights are valid only if individuals morally own themselves and are the proper beneficiaries of their own efforts.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C.

have either rejected principles as such. 1996.. Budget of the United States Government. June 10. City Journal.” http://www. “American Conservatism: The 'Compassion’ Factor. “The Neoconservative Persuasion.gov/news/releases/2002/03/ 20020322-1. June 12.” Wall Street Journal. see Clifford Orwin.whitehouse. Share If you enjoyed this article. February 5.” The New Republic. 11 (page reference is to reprint edition). 2000. 4 Remarks by President Clinton upon signing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. 30 David Brooks quoted in Sam Tannenhaus. have explicitly embraced the moral premises of the Left.126. “The Neoconservative Persuasion. “Moist Eyes: Political Tears from Rousseau to Clinton. “When Left Turns Right. 2003. they could discredit capitalism (the politics of self-interest). Martin’s Press. 2005. 1963).” http://www.gov/house/Contract/CONTRACT.” AEI Bradley Lecture Series. fascists.” Washington Times. 2003. D. why not make objective journalism a staple in your life? Subscribe to The Objective Standard today! Return to Fall 2006 contents This article is protected by copyright law. however.html. April 3. August 25. 2006. 18 For an excellent discussion on this phenomenon. p. 12 “A Blueprint for New Beginnings: A Responsible Budget for America’s Priorities” 2001. March 1997. because it is the only moral social system. Permission is hereby granted to excerpt up to 600 words. 3 William Jefferson Clinton. “What Compassionate Conservatism Is—and Is Not. 1979). 8 Barry Goldwater. http://www. as is increasingly the case. They have ceded the principled high ground to the Left by accepting the moral rationale for the welfare state—altruism and its attendant notion that “need” is a legitimate moral claim. 34 Irving Kristol. “American Conservatism: The 'Compassion’ Factor. 11 Ibid. and “How to Reinvent the GOP. Theodore Roosevelt. Nov.” New York Times.csmonitor. Endnotes “Republican Contract with America.whitehouse.. State of the Union Address. 2003. 1960. and “What Compassionate Conservatism Is—and Is Not. 543. 2000. by running from the former. 5 Editorial. August 22.html. 6 The data included in this paragraph and the next two is drawn principally from: Stephen Slivinski. Promise of American Life. “The Neocons in Power.gov/news/releases/2002/12/20021212-3. 7 Quoted in Eric Pfeffer. emphasis added. 2004. 20 Jim Wallis. KY: Victor Publishing Co. Brooks quoted in Sheldon Richman.. 17.cfm?action=sojomail. “An Initiative for the GOP Faithful. Transcript at: http://www. conservatives have compromised and sold-out the rights of the American people. p.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. p. Because they refuse to defend capitalism morally. April 30.hooverdigest.’” Washington Times.2. no. March 22. They must defend capitalism—not only because it works better than any other social system—but also. 209. They have always known that by demonizing egoism (the ethics of self-interest). The Promise of American Life (New York: Dutton.org/004/goldsmith.html. September 1. 1964). 2005. “The Grand Old Spending Party: How Republicans Became Big Spenders. introduction. “Conservative Lament. Rusher quoted in Ralph Z. January 29.html Office of Management and Budget (OMB).com/specials/neocon/neoconQuotes. contact the editor at editor@theobjectivestandard. and notes by Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books. 14 Myron Magnet. 23 Stephen Goldsmith. The Conscience of a Conservative (Shepherdsville. June 5. or. “Federal Spending—By the Numbers. 1999. 22 “President’s Remarks on Labor Day. 2003. “Tax Foes Lament Later Arrival of 'Cost of Government Day.” The Future of Freedom Foundation.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030901. 21 “Remarks by President Bush in Announcement of the Faith-based Initiative.” Weekly Standard.” Wall Street Journal. Howard Dean quoted in U. April 14. Washington Times.whitehouse. 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September 16. “What Is Compassionate Conservatism.html.. First Inaugural Address. 2000. Conservatives. April 30. conservatives could be faulted for lacking the courage to morally defend capitalism and for diluting whatever good principles they had with an admixture of bad or contradictory principles. 2002.” The Weekly Standard. emphasis added. Those who value freedom and capitalism must abandon altruism and the fantasy philosophies that support it (including religion).” Townhall. Masters (New York: St. 2003. reprint.” Hoover Digest.” p. and liberals have always understood the integral relationship between egoism and capitalism. 13 Stephen Goldsmith. 35 Herbert Croly. Washington.html. 2001.. 1990). on the basis of egoism. http://www. “The Era of Small Government Is Over.” January 29. Masters and Judith R. Today’s conservatives.html. p.pbs.house. January 29. 130–33.” PBS. D. The New York Times. 34. 26 Senator Rick Santorum. http://www. 152. 1999. 2005. October 2. 10 Myron Magnet. 1996. Bush. September 13. http://www. Fiscal Year 1996 (Washington.hooverdigest. December 12. 25 Quoted in Amy Sullivan.C. http://www.” Hoover Digest. “Conservative Compassion Vs.” Sojourners.gov/news/usbudget/blueprint/bud07. http://www. August 11. In the 1950s and 60s.theobjectivestandard. “Compassionate Conservative or Cowboy Capitalist?”.org/004/goldsmith. 2000. 29 Richard Perle quoted at: http://www. Masters. providing that the excerpt is accompanied by proper credit to the author and a link to the full article at the website of TOS.” Weekly Standard.” Wall Street Journal. 31 Irving Kristol.” City Journal. 2003. 15 Michael Knox Beran. 2005. 1933. August 25. 2006. adapted from a speech given at the Hoover Institution. August 24. Communists. May 3. translated by Roger D. Spring 2005. 28 George W. 27 Paul O’Neill interviewed on “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. emphasis added. 16 Stephen Goldsmith. “The Death of Compassionate Conservatism. 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The Neoconservative Vision: From the Cold War to the Culture War (New York: Madison Books. Jessica Shoemaker. 36 http://www. 2005. emphasis added. 57 Citizens Against Government Waste.” Government Waste Watch. 53 William Kristol. Compassionate Conservative. 2006. 45 Irving Kristol. p. 43 See Mark Gerson. 201. 27.. “'Big Government Conservatism’: George Bush Style. 174. 543.” Wall Street Journal. contribution to “Neoconservatism: Pro and Con. 1989.” Christian Science Monitor. 222. 65 Patrick Chisholm. 64 Fred Barnes. “End Game of the Welfare State. Looking Ahead (New York: Basic Books. February 9. Two Cheers for Capitalism. 40 Irving Kristol.” Two Cheers for Capitalism. Irving Kristol. p. ix. 2003. “Medicare Debate Focuses on Merits of Private Plans. 47 Irving Kristol.com/issues/2006-fall/decline-. 1983). “A Conservative Welfare State. 116–117. “Triumph of the Redistributionist Left. p. Two Cheers for Capitalism.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_porkbarrelreport. emphasis added. Buckley. “American Conservatism 1945–1995” The Public Interest. 118. “Pork Barrel Report. August 7. “Of Decadence and Tennis Flannels. Daniel Bell. 39 See Wall Street Journal. 1993. “A Response to George Gilder’s 'Why I Am Not a Neo-Conservative.” New York Times. October 23. p. 1982. pp. 1989. Kristol. 52 Ibid. 46 Irving Kristol. emphasis added. p. Bradley. emphasis added. 63 Terry Eastland. March 5. January 23.. 1993.cagw. 2006. p. Two Cheers for Capitalism. 119. 2005. (New York: Basic Books.” Reflections of a Neoconservative: Looking Back. pp.” Washington Post.” New York Times. “The Social Gospel Lays an Egg in Alabama. 2004. May 3. 165. “The Majority Party. 2021. 118.. Two Cheers for Capitalism. pp.. “Mr. 1980.” Wall Street Journal. June 9. 116. no. p. “When It’s Wrong to Be Right. “Medicare Prescription Drugs: Medical Necessity Meets Fiscal Insanity. and a conservative in culture. March 24. 1988.” Quoted in Peter Steinfels.” Cato Institute Briefing Paper. 55 Irving Kristol. Ben Wattenberg. p.“The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism” by C. 1993. 4. 41 Irving Kristol.” National Review Online. 1997). (New York: Basic Books. Will. “A Conservative Welfare State.” Wall Street Journal. Fall/Winter 2005. 59 Robert Pear. June 14. and Stephen Slivinski. 44 Nathan Glazer. Two Cheers for Capitalism. “The Grand Old Spending Party: How Republicans Became Big Spenders. has described himself as “a socialist in economics.” Wall Street Journal.” Wall Street Journal. pp. 37 Irving Kristol. 42 Irving Kristol. “The End Game of the Welfare State. 60 George F. July 24. a liberal in politics. p. Wall Street Journal.. Fall 1995. 2005.” Cato Institute Policy Analysis.” website: http://www. Two Cheers for Capitalism. 2001. 48 Ibid. “God Bless Godlessness. June 14. 116–20. June 14.. 51 Kristol. April 22. 1978). 56 Ibid. The Neoconservatives: The Men Who Are Changing America’s Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster. 499. p. vol. 91. and “The Trouble With Republicans. p. 2003. 1993. 1979). 2003. 54 Irving Kristol. “Socialism: An Obituary for an Idea.” Weekly Standard. 50 Irving Kristol. 62 David Brooks. 38 Irving Kristol. 2003.” Partisan Review. “The Coming Fiscal Hurricane. Looking Ahead.’” National Review. See also. “A Questionable Kind of Conservatism.” Religion in the News. “The Savior of the Right. Reflections of a Neoconservative: Looking Back.. 61 William F. September 11.” Weekly Standard. 16 of 16 1/14/2011 9:30 PM . emphasis added. The neoconservative sociologist and long-time friend of Kristol and Glazer. 58 Joseph Antos and Jagadeesh Gokhale. January 30. 119. 1983). September 13. no. 237–38. Riley quoted in Lisa San Pascual. September 11. 49 Irving Kristol.” Wall Street Journal. 88.theobjectivestandard. August 15. p.

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