20 Jul 2010

“A Modernized, Reformed Conservatism”

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David Frum

David Frum, guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan, recently proposed the parlor game of writing a one-sentence description of a “modernized, reformed conservatism.”

His own offering went as follows:

A reality-based, culturally modern, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible politics that supports free markets, limited government and a peaceful American-led world order.

In other words, “modernized, reformed” conservatism of the Frumish variety would be:

A conservatism subservient to the opinions of the journalistic and academic establishment (reality-based);

Committed to the aesthetics and favored causes of the community of fashion (culturally modern);

Supportive of the left’s program of conferring official status and special privileges to victim groups (socially inclusive);

And faithful to the Luddite dualist heresy which regards human life and productive activity as intrinsically transgressive, contaminative, and blameworthy (environmentally responsible);

Whenever possible, of course, when not obliged by its commitment to all of the contemporary left’s principal agenda items, MRC (Modern, Reformed Conservatism) would be in favor of free markets and limited government.

Those markets, of course, would inevitably not be all that free, since they would require all sorts of regulating for purposes of environmental protection, redistributivist social justice, socially-engineered diversity, and coercive tolerance, by a government which could hardly be very limited, considering all the matters it would necessarily need to supervise, control, regulate, and direct.

Foreign policy is treated as a rather vague afterthought, but it is similarly couched in oxymoronic, having your conservative cake, though applauding as the left eats your lunch, terms. Mr. Frum refers to a peaceful American-led world order. The “peaceful” reference is obviously intended as a subtle reproach to the policies of the previous Republican Administration which indulged in war.

America ought to lead the world, but it should be obliged to do so using pan-pipes rather than its military. This tag end of a single sentence fails to provide room for an explanation about how the US ought to go about peacefully leading countries which provide bases for terrorist activity directed at American civilians.

I’ll play. What Messrs. Sullivan and Frum would like would be:

A conservatism agreeable to unstable journalists of foreign nationality intent on promoting the homosexual subculture’s political agenda and cultivating personal careers within the media establishment.

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SDD

I seem to recall that when it was suggested that Joe Lieberman might represent a more “modernized, reformed liberalism,” it didn’t meet with a lot of enthusiasm on the left.



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