Prophecies Often Err

Conservatism, RIP?

Posted: June 25, 2013

Here’s a quote for you: Conservatism is “anti-intellectual, insensitive to questions of civil liberties, hostile to reforms, more concerned with using political processes for social protest than with improving the quality of life in America by informed public policy and ameliorative social programs.”

Care to wager a guess as to who may have uttered or written these sentiments? MSNBC bleater Chris Matthews, perhaps? Or Markos Moulitsas, originator of the Daily Kos? The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne Jr., maybe?

No, the political obit-writer who penned these words was Alan Crawford. His name may draw a blank because this particular compound sentence was written in 1980, in Mr. Crawford’s pseudo-elegiac tome “Thunder on the Right.”

Our point: Folks are perennially predicting the certain demise of the conservative movement. It’s gotten so bad these days, the likes of Mr. Moulitsas and New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait are pleading with Republicans to get religion on immigration reform ... to preserve their party’s viability. Oh, what faux sympathy laced with condescension. What these liberal writers really desire is for conservatives to give up the ghost and embrace statism.

But, as Steven Hayward pointed out Friday in commentary for Powerline, “there’s nothing new under the sun here ... Republicans are always in danger of moving too far to the right, the establishment media tell us.” It was that way in the ’50s when Bill Buckley founded National Review, and in the ’60s when Barry Goldwater, even in defeat, set the initial charges for conservatism as a modern politicalforce. A force, by the way, that attained full flower — in the person of Ronald Wilson Reagan — shortly after the publication of Mr. Crawford’s dire indictment.

Those liberals, we thinks they doth protest too much.


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