What Conservative Paradigm?

A great piece in Intellectual Conservative

I agree with Mr. Lord that Republicans are unlikely to lose control of Congress this Fall, but I think that has more to do with the realities of local gerrymandering that make incumbents extremely difficult to unseat. I am not at all persuaded that it has anything to do with a “conservative paradigm” that supposedly exists in this country.

Mr. Lord makes a compelling historical case that the dominant liberal paradigm that arose under FDR continued to thrive under Truman, despite the Republican takeover of Congress in 1946. He makes a far less compelling case that there is a dominant conservative paradigm in existence today, or that it would survive a Democratic takeover of Congress this Fall (assuming such an event were to occur).

Does any of this sound familiar? It should, because it still reflects the heart of the domestic political agenda: public housing programs and massive government subsidies of the private housing industry, an ever-increasing federal role in primary and secondary education, the ever-expanding reach of Medicare and related health insurance programs (steadily moving towards socialized medicine), continued wasteful agricultural subsidies and special-interest legislation of all types (recall the “bridge to nowhere”), a constant push to raise the minimum incomes of lower wage earners (whether through minimum wage laws or tax subsidies), and, always, more and more “rights” and “affirmative action” for women, racial and ethnic minorities, and now sexual minorities (see, e.g., recent Supreme Court decisions on homosexual sodomy and affirmative action in college admissions).

All this despite the so-called “conservative revolution” of 1980.

It’s a long article but a good read.


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