(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
A Modest Proposal
Make Conservatism Moderate Again

Today’s right-wing radicalism sits ill with the central tenets of conservatism. Conservatives would do well to rediscover the virtues of prudence, humility, and moderation.

Published on: November 13, 2017
Dalibor Rohac is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a regular columnist for The American Interest. He tweets at @DaliborRohac.
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  • rheddles

    One wonders what advice Rohac would have given both Adams, Jefferson, Washington and Franklin.

    • tellourstory

      Probably that they had a 98% chance of defeat and a 2% chance of winning the Revolutionary War, so they should just quit.

  • Muhammad Peace be Upon Me

    In short, talking about bad economics like horrible trade deals, as well as immigration reform and enforcement is radical. Calling MSM bias is radical? This is the new normal for real. Get used to it. Interestingly, progressives share the conservatives disdain for bad trade deals and MSM bias. We’ve all had enough.

  • Anthony

    While recognizing and appreciating the right of center argument for conservatism restoration, a more centered focus on the liberal order and what it has obtained for the West as well as an unceasing defense of liberal values (democratic open society) would perhaps entail aspects of conservatism’s strength, a la Edmund Burke.

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    Shorter Rohac: True conservatism means always, everywhere, and enthusiastically supporting every left-wing victory.

    Yeah. Right.

  • Dale Fayda

    Conservatism, Inc. is getting a badly needed shake-up. Deal with it.

  • AnonymoussSoldier

    I believe the reason libertarian wasn’t included is because it’s basically progressive except wanting low taxes. Still want open borders and bad deals. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb48849e3513af2a71d33ede6475142cf3c38dc44bf0b4c393cb0855ab93c765.jpg

    • AbleArcher

      Nationalist here!

    • SeaAyeA


  • WigWag

    Rohac extolls the virtues of free trade but there is no free trade. Our trading partners like China and Germany practice mercantilism while American workers take it on the chin. Trump doesn’t object to free trade, he objects to trade agreements that screw American workers so that foreign workers and American elites can prosper. Apparently thats all fine with Mr. Rohac.

    The author extolls the benefits of open immigration which he says would double GDP. But the United States doesn’t have an open immigration system. It has a system that allows in foreigners to compete with American carpenters, house painters and roofers driving down wages so much that what used to be middle class jobs are now minimum wage jobs. Are foreign physicians allowed into the United States to compete with American physicians and drive down doctors salaries? No. Are foreign college professors pouring into the United States to compete with American college professors and drive down the outrageous salaries that professors earn for doing essentially nothing? No.

    Unlimited immigration and free trade are fine as long as its working class Americans bearing the brunt while the members of Mr. Rohac’s class gorge themselves on fancy over-priced coffee drinks at Starbucks.

    Mr. Rohac laments the fact that anyone would criticize NATO but conveniently ignores the fact that the United States spends more on defense than the rest of our NATO allies put together. Does the free-riding disturb Mr. Rohac or does he think that American taxpayers should subsidize Europe’s defense until the end of time? There’s a reason Mr. Rohac that American infrastructure stinks while European infrastructure gleams. It’s because the United States spends its precious tax dollars defending ingrates like Germany, France and Italy while those countries use the money they save to improve airports, highways and the electrical grid. But Mr. Rohac thinks its unseemly if Donald Trump or his supporters might come to the conclusion that enough is enough.

    How do you explain the fact that Mr. Rohac can make a good salary sitting on his tuchas punching keys on his word-processer and producing inane articles like this one? Could it possibly be because his employer, the American Enterprise Institute, is a tax exempt institution? AEI pays no taxes on the revenue it earns and donors to AEI get to tax tax deductions for every contribution that they make. If those donors make those contributions in appreciated securities, they not only get to deduct the contribution, they escape capital gains tax on any appreciation that those assets enjoyed. What do you think Professor Rohac; do you suppose if those manufacturing companies decamping from Indiana to Mexico or China had the same tax deal that your employer does that maybe those jobs would never have left America in the first place? Or is your attitude, its good for me but not for thee?

    Mr. Rohac, the arrogance and cluelessness of your entire social and economic class is a sight to behold. Huge swaths of the American upper middle class are successful because they massively benefit from direct or indirect government funding. It’s true of doctors; it’s true of lawyers; it’s true of government employees; it’s true of college professors and it’s true for those who toil away at think tanks.

    It’s no wonder that you couldn’t care less that our government has consciously adopted policies that are turning the American working class into a new underclass. Trump was their last hope, but there’s no doubt that he’s an idiot. He will probably fail.

    If you think our country will be a better place for our children a few decades hence when we have a small cadre of the super rich, a slightly larger cadre of upper middle class courtesans and an enormous cohort of Americans stuck in the quicksand of the underclass you are sadly mistaken.

    • Mavwreck

      Some of the upper-middle-class jobs are supported by government policies – whether it’s direct subsidies, tax policies, or licensing. Some of that licensing makes sense, though – law isn’t the same in other countries, and medical standards also differ (though that’s partially caused by the law).

      The loss of manufacturing jobs, though, is much more due to new technology. Government policy didn’t create it, and it can’t destroy it. It can add extra factors (protectionist tariffs) but those have other unintended consequences (artificially higher prices). You can’t blame technological reality on the elite.

      • SeaAyeA

        Not to beat you up here, but you’ve fallen for corrupt, corporate propaganda. It’s not true. It’s not the fault of the robots. It’s not even the fault of the wages. I’ll show you. It’s directly linked to whether or not a country employs smart, protectionist trade policies, and currency policy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1528724bcf33275b5871265236e22c4ee20b7cd3bcc6a2c7468212859758de6b.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78ffd99ecdf4f5e3addfabca11553723b16d12f1c13187ec55b32b6f69bdc02b.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d973da9490cbbd11a8fcc8295a2a84bb92b95111c0517b373a6dc4ddb2f24eed.png

      • WigWag

        There’s no question that technological innovation is reducing the need for blue color workers. But Carrier didn’t leave Indiana for Mexico because of technology and automobile manufacturers did create thousands of jobs in Mexico because the technology was better there. It wasn’t better technology they were after, it was cheaper labor. NAFTA encouraged this trend.

        Not only were tens if not hundreds of thousands of good paying American jobs lost, the displaced workers found themselves competing with each other for the few good jobs that remained. What do you suppose that meant for American wages?

        The establishment wing of the GOP, the conservatives that the author of this post is so fond of, were always evil. But it wasn’t Republicans who advocated for NAFTA and later the TPP, it was Democrats.

        What’s the Democratic solution for dealing with so many millions of displaced workers? They want to do the same thing with the white working class that they previously did to the black working class; put them all on welfare.

        As for the resultant despondency, dependency and drug addiction, Republican and Democratic elites couldn’t care less.

        Neither could, I suspect, Mr. Rohac or the rest of the hacks at the AEI.

        • Mavwreck

          I agree that manufacturing jobs were moved for cheap labor. However, they were only able to move because of improved technology. Without effective and efficient transportation and communications, factories couldn’t make things in these other countries (with somewhat effective quality control) and ship them back here.

          • FluffyFooFoo

            Like diesel big rigs from Mexico?

            There is also some new business model that emphasizes manufacturing near your buyer, which is why you see a number of Euro and Asian auto factories moving to America.

        • D4x

          Post-NAFTA, one million American manufacturing jobs migrated to Canada by 2002, largely because medical insurance is not included in unit labor cost. Back then, I had been forecasting the US economy, including the use of and trade stats, for almost ten years, as part of my jobs, and for the trade. Never forgot that statistic: Canada, in addition to Mexico, and China.

          Thanks for saving me the time of reading Rohac. I totally agree with your initial comment, except my view of President Trump was formed in the 1980’s, without paying attention to his reality-tv era. He is strategically, spatially, smart; and his Social (Interpersonal) Intelligence is incredibly high.

          America’s pundit class is a bunch of scarecrows, flapping their diplomas, but fuelling a mass hysteria, the 21st century Salem Witch Trials, that shows no sign of ending.

          • WigWag

            One of the things about the pundit class that I find most remarkable is how self satisfied they are. They actually think they’ve earned respect and that they’ve advanced as a result of their hard work and intelligence. None of that is true.

            Pundits who bloviate on television or write columns for newspapers are little more than high powered propagandists. Pundits who work for universities or think tanks are even worse than that.

            When the charitable deduction was written into the tax law decades ago do you think the intention was to provide temporary landing pads for political hacks waiting to return to government jobs once a President of their political party returned to the White House?

            Think tanks like AEI contribute nothing of value to society. The fact that they exist solely because of tax incentives provided by the Federal Government is astounding and infuriating.

            If manufacturing plants in the Midwest were not required to pay taxes and investors in those plants could deduct those investments as itemized deductions on their 1040 returns, manufacturing workers would be as happy as our nation’s bloviating pundits are.

        • Pait

          More and better education for the younger generation, plus job training for workers when applicable, and a welfare safety net for the displaced workers who are unable to take advantage of newer opportunities. Yes, that’s what Democrats propose. Makes sense to me. Republicans would once have agreed.

          • WigWag

            I don’t totally disagree, Pait. The problem is that its far more complicated than you make it out to be. The Democratic answer to more and better education for the younger generation is pretty much limited to paying teachers more money; there’s no evidence that will improve anyone’s educational prospects. But its even worse than that. We already know that once children are born into the underclass, almost nothing works to help them escape it. The social pathologies endemic to the underclass are so intractable that no one has figured out how to remediate those pathologies. Liberal Democrats don’t know how to do it and neither do conservative Republicans.

            If you don’t believe it, look at the educational systems in urban centers like Detroit, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago. Educational spending in these areas is amongst the highest in the United States but on almost any parameter you can think of, these systems fail. Democratic remedies like more spending or midnight basketball don’t work. Republican remedies like charter schools or prayer in the classroom don’t work. Once children in these areas are born into the underclass, their chance of escaping is very low. It’s not that Americans of good will don’t want to help these children; it’s that nobody knows how to help these children.

            The economy delivered to us by Democratic and Republican elites pretty much requires at least a bachelors degree for entry to the middle class but under ten percent of children born to low income families in the 1980s and 1990s have earned a four-year degree by the time they are 25. The problem is not that these children were doomed to attend poor elementary and secondary schools, the problem was that these children came from families that were so dysfunctional that they arrived at school without the discipline required for learning.

            There’s no question that the government programs adopted by the Democrats helped create a burgeoning black middle class; that was a great thing. But those same programs and the neoliberal policies the Democrats adopted a generation later, destroyed the prospects for millions of African Americans. Middle class manufacturing jobs that were once the portal to economic success for black Americans were shipped overseas just as the number of government jobs was declining; hence the creation of the black underclass.

            Now the Democrats and Republican establishment wants to do the same thing for the white working class that they did for the black working class decades ago. They adopt policies that insure that jobs which provided a portal to a middle class life are shipped to Mexico, China and other areas in Asia while offering displaced workers the opportunity to to collect social security disability payments or other forms of welfare essentially forever. When elites did this to the black working class we ended up with the crack epidemic. Now that they are doing precisely the same thing to the white working class we have an opioid epidemic on our hands; who could have guessed it.

            Pait, I think the reality is that we are unlikely to reach a stage where most Americans successfully graduate from college in the near future. For tens of millions of Americans a college education will never be a reality. If we keep destroying good paying jobs for these Americans who will never be college-educated, we are going to end up without much of a country left. A society run by a small percentage of college-educated elites while tens of millions of Americans languish on welfare is simply not viable. But that is the future that Democratic and Republican elites have in mind for us.

            No one, including Donald Trump and his supporters, is suggesting that all trade be eliminated or that all immigration be banned. We need fair trade; we should be no more or no less mercantilist in our outlook than Germany or China is. Immigration is fine, but lets admit doctors and college professors in from other countries to compete with American doctors and college professors so we can bring down the costs of medical care and college. The American working class has suffered enough; lets not admit low-skilled immigrants who will compete with them.

            Education and job training are fine in theory, Pait. But they are no solution at all to black Americans already trapped in an underclass created by the American elite of white Americans who are joining their fellow black citizens in an underclass from which they and their children will never emerge.

          • Pait

            The implementation is difficult. The problem is in the details. The main idea is very clear: trust the hard work and inventiveness of the people. Help those who need, and invest in the future.

            A rant full of nattering negativism, blame, race baiting, does none of it.

          • Tom Scharf

            If I was the best shoe manufacturer in the USA, what does that do for me? Try asking employees to work for $2 / day. Do yourself a favor and look where all the shoes are made, and then go find out why this is the case. “The hard work and inventiveness of the people” has created a global economy that has hollowed out the US middle class to benefit lower classes on other countries.

            Optimizing national GDP is not the same as looking out for the welfare of citizens, a government’s primary responsibility. Free trade and manufacturing innovation has caused major problems in flyover country. Your answer is “let them eat cake” with a big side serving of platitudes. The ruling and knowledge classes care about themselves, and they do that very well. You might find this alarming, but half of our citizens are below average and will remain that way. They deserve fair representation, and they aren’t getting it. I suggest people work a little harder to improve their lives before the pitchforks and torches come out. And.they.will.

          • Pait

            Correct, the people left behind are not getting fair representation. They voted for a part of child molesters who serve them platitudes about going back to mythical good old times, while poisoning their air, water, and food, and taking away their health benefits to make space for tax giveaways to billionaire donors.

            What they need is good education for the young, job training and opportunities for the displaced, a safety net for those unable to take advantage of new opportunities, and health care for all. Not Medicare cuts.

            My shoes are made in Brazil. Those hardworking Brazilian shoemakers spend their earnings from shoe factory jobs on products and services from America (to a large extent).

          • solstice

            In the next decade, artificial intelligence will also render high-skilled, college-educated workers obsolete but, as usual, your doom-and-gloom analysis ignores exponential trends in science and technology.

          • CosmotKat

            What you call doom and gloom I would call intellectually honest commentary from WigWag that is truth based and blunt. It does not discount advances in technology, but let me ask you how do these advances reach those people WigWag has, with great respect and concern, highlighted as most in need and appear suffering from too many years of failed public policies?

          • solstice

            Here’s what WigWag repeatedly ignores in his prognostications: 1) Technology will render all human beings (and not just the poor and the uneducated) obsolete in the near future. The following decade will likely witness artificial intelligence exceeding human capabilities in every field of human endeavor, and it already outperforms the most talented and educated humans in a number of crucial tasks. 2) Science and technology will, in the near future, enable us to modify ourselves in unprecedented ways in the near future. Rapid advances in CRISPR gene editing technology, 3D printing, computing power, and nanotechnology will (theoretically) enable us to dramatically enhance our capabilities and solve many of the seemingly intractable problems to which WigWag refers (drug addiction, mental and physical incapacitation, environmental degradation, dysfunctional families and communities, inherited genetic conditions etc.). As we unlock the secrets of the human brain, we will, for example be able to halt the mechanisms in the brain that lead to destructive addictions. 3) A highly advanced and self-aware artificial intelligence may decide to eradicate the human species altogether, thereby rendering moot WigWag’s dystopian vision of an evil cabal of elites dominating over the disenfranchised masses. 4) Current birth rates and demographic trends (upon which WigWag bases many of his predictions) are of trivial importance vis-a-vis current scientific and technological trends. 5) WigWag attributes the ills that have afflicted the West in modern times exclusively to the evil cabal of elites while ignoring the dramatic economic and technological changes in previous decades that made such negative developments inevitable.

          • WigWag

            “A highly advanced and self-aware artificial intelligence may decide to eradicate the human species altogether, thereby rendering moot WigWag’s dystopian vision of an evil cabal of elites dominating over the disenfranchised masses.” (Solstice)

            I totally agree Solstice; if a highly intelligent and self-aware artificial intelligence decides to eradicate the human species altogether, then its problem solved!

          • CosmotKat

            I recall the last chapter of a book titled,”The History of Knowledge” where the author predicted the next civil rights battle will be C.R. for robots. Sounds crazy, but in a world filled with agitating community activists and zealots of all types nothing seems to be too far-fetched anymore.

          • Boritz

            That’s the pessimistic/downside of these predicted advances. The optimistic prediction would be to lay waste to the galaxy like clouds of locusts blocking out the sun in a wheat field.

          • FluffyFooFoo

            No one can help them, because it comes down to helping one’s self. Culture is very powerful, and not all cultures lead to success. We can’t live their lives for them. They must make the difficult choices.

          • Tom Scharf

            The people who can’t compete in the knowledge economy still can’t compete with job training. Coal miners just don’t make good coders in almost every case. They want self respect, not welfare. The economy needs to be more diverse for the middle and lower classes.

          • Pait

            The economy is diverse. It changes over time. Some lines of work cannot compete anymore. We can deal with it the old fashioned American way: trust the hard work and inventiveness of the people, help those in need, and invest in the future.

            Or we can write rants full of nattering negativism, blame, race baiting, and whatnot. Doesn’t work, but it’s an alternative.

          • CosmotKat

            That’s been what the Democrats have been proposing for over 50 years and where are we today? Education is
            worse off and declining while cost per student escalates and today poor D’shawn, now 22, has the reading and comprehension of a fifth grader if that. The poor have more toys and more to eat, but they are still poor and job training, did you not read Tom Wolf’s radical chic and mau-mauing the flak catcher? It’s all a ruse to redistribute money to community activists, who litter the non-profit scene, who then dole it out for personal favors and power, but training, not so much. Republicans still agree, but they cannot embrace the failed policies of the Democrats and people like you insist on more of the same bankrupt principals and discredited policy from Democrats.

          • Pait

            If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. If you like the proposal of increasing funds for education but don’t like the results of cutting them, why not try to follow the proposal instead of blocking it?

            There are 2 alternatives: either fund education, which we know from US and international experience works; or write ideological rants full of nattering negativism, blame, race baiting, and whatnot, which we know doesn’t work, but, well, whatever.

          • CosmotKat

            Evidently in our school system ignorance is the goal and people like you want people to pay even more for a failing systems. Who is blocking reform, Pait? It’s not me.

            Those might be your alternatives, but to the real thinking person neither gets to the heart of the issue and is negative, ideologically oriented, and a failed attempt at a smear.

          • Pait

            Not it is not. Ignorance is not the goal of the school system.

          • CosmotKat

            Of course it isn’t, but that’s what we are getting in a significant portion of our student population. Top students will always do well and these are not always students from exceptional families however; the programs for exceptional students often are eschewed for politically popular issues such as the so-called education gap. That gap never gets reduced, why? Priorities in education should be education, not social engineering and certainly not indoctrination.

          • Pait

            So you backed off from your previous statement that “in our school system ignorance is the go” and moved on to “priority …[is]… indoctrination” which is equally false. That style of argument turns a discussion into a waste of time.

            You see indoctrination everywhere; perhaps you should ponder the phenomenon that psychologists call “projection.”

          • CosmotKat

            Not all, apparently you fail to recognize sarcasm. It’s not false at all.
            Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. That all changed and it was a Columbia University professor, John Dewey, who saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change, someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society. Now we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. Why do you reject reform?

            Projection, ha! You make me laugh. That. is. a. fact.

          • Pait

            I’d given up on the conversation but I can’t help coming back to say that sarcasm doesn’t mean what you think it means.

            If you meant what the words usually mean, then it isn’t sarcasm. It’s just ignorant and prejudiced paranoia.

          • CosmotKat

            Then you validate my assertion you cannot recognize sarcasm.

            Yes, I am sensing your ignorance and prejudiced paranoia. Why is it that progressives like you are hate filled raging bigots and always project the those negative qualities onto others?

          • CapitalistRoader

            Ignorance is not the goal of the school system.

            Correct. Union teachers’ and school administrators’ salary and compensation is the overriding goal of the school system.

          • Pait

            If you think people trying to get better compensation is evil then we should close all private businesses and let everyone make a living working for trollbot factories inside the Kremlin.

          • CapitalistRoader

            Hey, Pait, I’m just repeating what this NEA bigwig said:

            It is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.
            National Education Association General Counsel Bob Chanin (2009)

          • Tom

            Ignorance may not be the goal of the school system, but it sure seems to be the result.

          • Pait

            Speak for yourself.

          • Tom

            Look, I get that admitting to institutional failure is painful, but if something is failing in its mission it’s much less painful to admit to it than to keep pretending that it isn’t.

      • Joe Eagar

        On the other hand, government policy does have a huge effect on how many high wage low skilled jobs the economy creates. Which is what we care about, not manufacturing per se.

    • CosmotKat

      Well said, WigWag, as always. I appreciate your thoughtful commentary and the issues and questions you raise make for what might be an interesting reply if Mr. Rohac had the courage of his convictions to do so. To me it seems these AI writers are isolated within their own echo chambers not realizing there are a lot of people who think great thoughts and disagree with his very narrow point of view, but don’t have the same time that is afforded academicians when they are trying to make this country great again for the middle class.

      One question: “Trump was their last hope, but there’s no doubt that he’s an idiot. He will probably fail.”

      Is that your view?

      • WigWag

        Thanks for the kind words. There are advantages to the fact that Trump is a bull in a china shop. Only someone brazen enough to take all the incoming ordinance directed against him has a chance of smashing what I think is a rotten and corrupt status quo. Trump is willing to do that; its why American elites hate him so much.

        On the other hand, there are things about Trump that really bother me. I think it was a huge mistake to hire Generals McMaster and Kelly; they’ve helped ruin Trump’s foreign policy. Secretary of State Tillerson was another disastrous hire. It’s true that left-overs from the Obama Administration have tried to undermine the Trump agenda, but it was incompetence on his part to allow those hold-overs to keep their jobs in the first place. Attorney General Sessions has turned out to be a terrible choice; the fact that there is an independent counsel distracting the Trump Administration is all Sessions’ fault.

        While I believe in economic nationalism, Trump is far from a perfect messenger.

        • CosmotKat

          Thanks for taking the time to respond. I find myself in total agreement with you for all the reasons you cited. I watched a bit of Sessions grilling in Congress today and it’s obvious he was a bad selection. He appears timid, unsure, and very inarticulate. All the traits a guy in his situation does not need nor do the American people. It’s not his fault. I blame Trump and his advisers. However; it’s been said it took Reagan two years to gain his footing and I suspect Trump will as well. Status quo got to go!

        • Wayne Ville … a Deplorable

          You are mostly spot on but you need to allow President Trump to execute his plan. It has been 40 years of leftist control in this country, it will take more than a year or two to put things back on track. A close look at what the President has done in the first year should give you clues to his long term plan. Many think that Trump is not smart enough for the job but I think he is 10 years ahead of his detractors. The swamp creatures in and around his cabinet are there because of his negotiations with the swamp. He fully knows that they will out themselves, then he can place those that will make a difference. You simply cannot take over a large entity and turn it around in a day. It takes planning. I think Trump has the plan. After all have you heard anyone talking about the $84B deal he struck with China? Probably not because the fake news only wants you to know that the basketball players he got released wasn’t such a big deal.

    • FluffyFooFoo

      He’s singing for a return to the status quo.

  • Jonathan Dembo

    Mr. Rohac seems to argue that conservatives should defend their political values, modestly, and accept inevitable defeat until there is nothing left to lose . . . and only then fight to win, when their backs are against the wall. This is bad advice. When the enemy is at the gates is not the time to decide to fight back for real. By then, the enemy has already won. So-called conservative “radicalism” only exists today because gentlemanly conservatives have failed to stem the tide of liberalism.

  • Gary Hemminger

    You can’t have a third of the US promoting radical agendas and calling conservatives Nazi’s for decades, promoting open borders, and identity politics and expect to have the conservative party just sit back and act statesmenlike. It is not going to happen. Especially if the media, universities, and entertainment industries are doing the same. It is simply not rational. The problem isn’t the radical left and right; the problem is that the center doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it but complain, yet continue to vote their side of the radicals. Time to stop voting at all. Do not vote for democrats or republicans. Especially any of them that call the other side evil.

  • Psalms13626

    Mr. Rohac keeps on misspelling “submit willingly to inevitable left wing triumphs” as “moderate”. Pardon my French, but [email protected] that noise. I like winning.

  • Joe Eagar

    Oh come on. Donald Trump is the apotheosis of “radical centrism”. The Trump movement is not lacking for policy moderation, it’s political moderation that it lacks. And that’s a whole different animal.

    • CosmotKat

      Please elaborate what is lacking in policy moderation?

  • Angel Martin

    The Western elite has deliberately undermined the economic security of their middle class, and attempted to bring in a third world cohort to replace them. The Western elite are like absentee landlords who think they have the right to rule lands they know nothing about, worked by people they don’t like.

    here is their fate, repeated many times over the centuries.https://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/artists_a-k/cole/800px-Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836.jpg

  • QET

    TAI is a journal about policy, not politics. I don’t think TAI writers really understand what politics is, nor the psychology and motivations of the zoon politikon. The bit about unprecedented peace and material prosperity is certainly correct, but in fine Hegelian fashion those very conditions tend to negate themselves and we are in one of those periods of negation. If you’re developing a new dating app in Silicon Valley and just received your Series A financing, these seem like the very best of times. But the price the Western liberal order has paid for its material comfort has been the increasing constraint on human liberty and action in the name of “policy.” As Nietzsche knew, human beings would rather will the destruction of their own peace and comfort than not will, and limitation of human will is the ne plus ultra of all policy.

  • Tom Scharf

    People simply don’t believe the prognostications of the globalists anymore. It sure seems like they have built a self serving economy for the knowledge class and left the working class in the dust to fend for themselves. This may not have been their intention, but it is the result. The globalists have abandoned the working class, not the other way around.

    The evidence suggests they care more about the working class of the Chinese than their fellow countrymen. Unfortunately for the globalists, the Chinese don’t get to vote in local elections.

    They don’t even pretend to care anymore, it has turned into ugly condescension with racial labels being the salve to soothe their guilt and failures. When the globalists start caring about their local people, they might start getting votes from them again, otherwise they will be wondering in the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

  • Proud Skeptic

    Modern conservatism reflects the opposite of modern progressivism. When one has gone extreme, the other must do the same in order to balance things out. To suggest that one moderate itself in the face of extremism on the other side is to suggest suicide.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I guess y’all know there is no “conservatism” on offer or electable in the USA that is not a coalition of gun nuts, religious nuts, racists, gay haters and the fattest of fat cats. If conservatism was moderate, it wouldn’t be “conservative”.

    Sure, there are still a few thoughtful old Republicans (probably by birth) who would rather they were not associated with constant lying on environmental matters, fiscal affairs, regulatory affairs, education, trade, health care and nearly everything else. They should simply have thrown in the towel and become Democrats. I did—–three and a half decades ago. Why? Because since Reagan you cannot be in the GOP and be a person of balanced honesty. If you’re there, you’re captured in what you can ever support openly. The present moment with Trump and Trumpism is not an anomaly on The Right side. It has been building to this via the constant spin of untruth for a long, long time.

    • Tom

      I guess y’all know there is no “progressivism” on offer or electable in the USA that is not a coalition of petty tyrants, antireligious nuts, racists, the envious, and the fattest of fat cats. If “progressivism” was moderate, it wouldn’t be “progressive” in today’s definition.

      Sure, there are still a few thoughtful old Democrats (probably by birth) who would rather they were not associated with constant lying on environmental matters, fiscal affairs, regulatory affairs, education, trade, health care, voting rights and nearly everything else. They should simply have thrown in the towel and become Republicans. Why? Because since Carter you cannot be a Democrat and be a person of balanced honesty. If you’re there, you’re captured in what you can ever support openly. The present moment with Clinton is not an anomaly on The Left side. It has been building to this via the constant spin of untruth for a long, long time.

      If you found this to be a caricature of the Left borne out of hyperpartisanship rather than any kind of reality whatsoever, I’m glad. Because it is one, and it bears as much resemblance to reality as the screed I just adapted.

      • Jim__L

        Is there a typo in here?

        • Tom

          There might be, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

    • CapitalistRoader

      They should simply have thrown in the towel and become Democrats. I did—–three and a half decades ago. Why? Because since Reagan you cannot be in the GOP and be a person of balanced honesty.

      Up yours with your balanced honesty horse crap.

      If not for Trump we’d currently be subjugated by another corrupt Chicago Machine POTUS. Had that happened–and like Chicago–we’d never, ever have another Republican federal executive branch again. She would have extended Obama’s sleazy, corrupt administration and Her appointments to the judicial branch would have certainly cemented a permanent, national socialist government for the next fifty years.

      You got it all wrong, FriendlyGoat and Dalibor Rohac. We dodged a bullet by not electing that disgusting shrew. Yeah, we’ll probably go right back on to our progression to fascism in 2020 but, dammit, at least we got a four-year breather with hopefully at least one more fantastic Supreme Court appointment.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I kinda believe in politics which represents human rights for all the people. That was my big change from supporting “conservatives”. They have devolved to speaking mostly in sound bites lies like yours here—-corrupt Chicago Machine, sleazy, socialist, shrew, fascism.

        • CosmotKat

          The sound bite kettle calling the sound bite pot, black Herr Goat?

    • Anthony
      • Fred

        Where else but from Anthony could we get such incisive, complex, subtle and nuanced analysis. Ladies and gentlemen . . ANTHONY!

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. From my “off-the-wall” department here:

        Something I learned from my first real boss (who happened to be a company owner) was this in respect to dealing with pushy salesmen politely—–“Well, send us something in writing and we’ll take a look at it.”

        Instead of thinking we need to invite “populists” to speak here and there in order to know what they are offering, we need to be reading their transcripts and informing them that we’d really rather evaluate their proposals ONLY that way. YES, we will LOOK at it, and NO, we are not interested in literally HEARING it.

        Germany and much of the world once suffered greatly from Hitler who was a performance artist. America is now suffering from performance artists here—–such as Limbaugh, Palin, Bannon, O’Reilly, kooks like Milo and, most famously, Trump. Put their speeches on paper and what happens? It suddenly reveals itself as drivel and worse.

        • Anthony

          The next to last paragraph lays it out pithily and quite frankly. As for the last paragraph, I’ll leave it to you and take the 5th.

          My three takeaways from Buruma’s piece (by the way, a colleague of WRM’s): 1) a peculiar form of self-pity; 2) social status arouses more envy and resentment in our populist age than money or fame do; 3) the feeling of being victimized by liberal media, academics, intellectuals, experts….

          Lastly, you’re welcome.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I really don’t get the “victimhood” thing of people on the right—–with some exceptions.
            Some of the church folks are really mad at anyone telling them they ought to stop dissing LGBTs.
            Some (much) of the working class has had its lunch eaten and somehow imagines that college professors and feminists did it, when in reality competitive business types did it.

          • Anthony

            That was Ian Buruma’s point: the complete self-pitying/victimization charade needs to be pointed out as you’ve done consistently.

            Here’s something related to preclude self-pitying that was share with me: questions to ask going forward are 1) what world am I living in? 2) what are the biggest trends in this world? and 3) how do I (and my country) align so that I (and my fellow citizens) get the most out of these trends and cushion the worst. Perhaps, more thought on that direction rather than seeking scapegoats may stem the faux victimization narrative where not applicable

          • FriendlyGoat

            I would prefer 1) What philosophical trends are we living in (since there really is only one world)?

          • Anthony


        • Fred

          Gimme a break FG. What Anthony said above was completely non-substantive. It was typical, cliched hyper-partisan pabulum. You may approve because of your own ideological blinders, but it is essentially no more than regurgitating left-blog talking points. It involves no thought or genuine analysis. And he wouldn’t even have tried to defend it if he could see my response. Anthony is a putz.

          • FriendlyGoat

            What Anthony originally said above was excerpted from the top blurb of the piece he was linking to me by Ian Baruma, appearing at Project Syndicate. I wouldn’t have the faintest idea why anyone would need to attack him for that. But, then again, looking back on my 2-3 years of experience in the TAI comment section, I don’t have much real understanding of why most of the “gang” here has attacked me at one time or another for expressing left-side views.

            “The gang is the gang” is all the explanation I can deduce, and, growing weary of derision, I wrote most of them off and blocked them some time ago. You’re an exception, but if you called me a putz, you wouldn’t be.

            As for Anthony, I appreciate a guy who aspires to wisdom, who recognizes it when he sees it, who “gets it” that various negative communications in America have now tilted the country away from it. Some people say, “Give me that old time religion” while they whack and diss every good thing in sight. I say, “Keep talking human rights, kindness, honesty, sense, even against the grain of the current “trend” which was barely (barely) foisted on us by a few (few) too many fools in WI/MI/PA—– and maybe we won’t go completely off a mean cliff forever.” Anthony does that too.

  • Jonathan Dembo

    Whoever wrote this article, or who influenced this article to be written, has no stomach for a democratic fight. The author seems to think that winning is unnecessary, that good manners and moderation, is a good substitute. He takes the attitude that the battle is not worth the trouble if anyone’s feelings are hurt. That in a nutshell is why conservatives have lost so many battles in recent years. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  • Stephen

    In themselves, prudence, humility, and moderation are hardly winning political messages.

    And here, I thought the author was writing about…politics?

  • champ

    WTF are you talking about??? I’ve read better posts on Loony Tunes…

  • It pains me to say this, but the Party of Lincoln, to say the least, has indeed fallen very far from its original roots.

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