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Beyond Neoconservatism

Jim Henley is smart:

What was a distinctly neoconservative position on “benevolent hegemony” and the primacy of unilateral American military power has simply become Republican Party ideology. The Republicans have become a party of nationalism, traditionalist social values and subventions for its constituents (from “faith-based initiatives” to corporate welfare) and nothing more. For all their carping about “Old Europe” Republicans have transformed themselves into a European-style Christian Democratic Party - at best. You could kick Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith to the curb and shutter the Weekly Standard and the broad mass of the Party would still hate France and love war.
Yes, I agree. There continue to be differences -- important differences, even -- between the neoconservative intellectual strand and the more mainstream conservative nationalist strand, but these differences are not essential. Jim's also right to not hold out "hope that the Democratic Party can be transformed into a generally libertarian institution by rediscovering its Jeffersonian roots." What I could imagine happening would be for the Democrats to react to the transformation of the GOP by becoming something resembling a European liberal party, which is to say market-oriented and vaguely libertarianish in spirit, but in practice very accepting of a large state sector in the economy. Sort of like if Olympia Snowe had her own political party and didn't wind up caving under pressure at every turn. More likely, though, we'll just see a kind of convergence between the US and European political models where the Christian Democrat Republicans compete with a Democratic Party that eventually adopts the socialism-lite that now prevails on the European center-left. Certainly my prediction would be that over my lifetime big government is going to get much bigger. Right now the Republican unwillingness to have any taxes or right their big spending laws in a way that makes sense is sort of wrecking the country, but someday the Democrats will win again and find it much easier to fix and expand programs the GOP has already put in place than they ever would have to create these things in the first place.

March 31, 2005 | Permalink


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Sure, Matthew, we're "bound" to go back leftward some day. And Billy Carter's left big toe corn will be cloned and grow into a Hipppotamus.

Once again, you freedom hating Liberals refuse to see how far into socialism we've already gone. You ain't seen nothing yet! When we're done, this already-beautiful meritocracy will be that much more True, more Just, more Perfect. You whiners and complainers will taste life as it should be.

And we successful beings of beauty, purpose, glory, and freedom will reign over your pathetic, hands-held-out, weak, prisoners of broken utopian dreams. We have only just begun, you disgusting little sheep. Rightward ho, and away we go, embracing Freer Freedom all the way.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty | Mar 31, 2005 11:18:20 AM

Al !

Posted by: opit | Mar 31, 2005 11:36:07 AM

I am not Al. Is this one of your mind-of-the-universe 'we are all one' rantings? Justice is freedom is money. You must learn this equation to survive the coming economic Rapture.

Yes, The Economic Rapture. So sayeth I, bringer of truth. Beware, you cadgers. The moment is approaching.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty | Mar 31, 2005 11:41:43 AM

Actually what I can see happening (and it's starting to happen right now), is the strain on the Democrats moving from a left-center butting of horns towards an ideological-pragmatic butting of horns.

For example, the argument for a single payer system won't be because it's right. It'll be because out-of-control costs are destrying the economy at large, and single payer is needed to bring it in check.

The funny thing is, the pragmatic stance just happens to be the prevalent one about these parts. So things should work out fine when it comes to keeping the grassroots involved.

Posted by: Karmakin | Mar 31, 2005 11:45:42 AM

Even assuming, as predicted by MY, the body politic loses its collective mind, in the coming decades the feds will be spending so much money on medical care and social security for the elderly that there will be no money left over to intrude into other sectors of the economy.

Posted by: ostap | Mar 31, 2005 12:13:01 PM

European Christian Democrats? Do you mean the German model, its Bavarian subset, or the party of Don Sturzo, which at least included significant elements well to the left of most mainstream American politicians?

Posted by: Gene O'Grady | Mar 31, 2005 12:28:44 PM

I don't believe it took me this long to see someone say what I have thought for sometime, that unless Bush absolutely runs the table with his program and the Rep. hold on to power through 06 and 08, they have perfectly set up the Democrats to be able to set up a decent government health care system which is a “fix” to the out of control system instituted by the Reps.

Posted by: Napoleon | Mar 31, 2005 12:38:03 PM

Christian Democrats in Europe are very different form republicans because they are.
- Much less for free market than republican
In fact the difference between Social-democrats ans Christian-democrat is more about values.
- They are not for "small governement".
I think that it's only American maybe English.
- They are not nationalistic.
In Europe Christian Democrat are those who promote EU in the since the 50s and now.
(Adenauer in Germany, De Gaspieri in Italy)
They are much less nationalistic than for instance Gaullist in France.



Posted by: JLS | Mar 31, 2005 1:09:58 PM

What is the current definition of what is to the right of Neoconservatism?

And to the left of it?

Posted by: Movie Guy | Mar 31, 2005 2:21:59 PM

Like what everyone else said. The Republicans' views on economics are very far from those of Christian Democrats in Europe.

Posted by: Andrew Boucher | Mar 31, 2005 2:22:12 PM

The dems can become a liberal Gladstonian. Nay. They are a Gladstonian liberal party. So, are most social democrats in Europe.

Posted by: Nick Kaufman | Mar 31, 2005 4:43:50 PM

there is a newly forming libertarian caucus within the Democratic party called, appropriately, the Democratic Freedom Caucus. here's their website: http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/
and their blog: http://libertariansforamerica.blogs.com/

Posted by: colorless green ideas | Mar 31, 2005 5:35:55 PM

The interesting thing is, Europe is trying to move away from that model more toward something like the American model. They're trying to get rid of the parastatal national airlines, end the too-cozy relationship between business leaders and politicians, etc, while we're bringing politicians and businessmen closer together, keeping our airlines afloat, etc.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Apr 1, 2005 12:35:10 AM

We're spending peanuts on Medicare/SS in terms of GDP.

Posted by: Twirlip of the Mists | Apr 1, 2005 8:52:08 AM

We're spending peanuts on Medicare/SS in terms of GDP.

Our Government spending on healthcare (Federal programs--government employees, VA, medicare, and medicaid) is approaches what most European countries spend as a percent of GDP for their entire health care system. So obviously they are getting a much bigger bang for the buck.

Posted by: Freder Frederson | Apr 1, 2005 10:25:30 AM

I am very interested to follow reading your comments and I would like to know more about ideas and thoughts about of de Gasperi.
Con you suggest me something about his politic history and some statements about him.

Posted by: orietta | Aug 30, 2005 6:02:56 PM

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