America The Center-Left?

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Mark Steyn:

As for us losers, there's no point us going down the right-wing version of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Any shrill vicious ad hominem invective would be much better directed at each other. The Republicans lost this election. I disagree with Lisa. I think we are near a point at which America joins the rest of the west as a center-left society - that's to say, a society whose assumptions about the role of government and the size of the state are far closer to Continental social democracies than to the Founding Fathers. In a grim media-cultural environment, the temptation for American conservatism is to be seduced into becoming one of those ever so mildly right-of-left-of-right-of-left-of-center parties they have in Europe. We should have the fight about conservatism's future vigorously and openly - perhaps at Bud's Roadhouse out on Route 137 in lieu of All-Girl Mud-Wrestling Night.

I actually share Steyn's diagnosis of where America might be going. (And I'm a big fan of Bud's Roadhouse.) The difference between us, I think, is that I look at the current landscape and see an America where a certain amount of flexibility, pragmatism and new thinking among conservatives - as opposed to Jeff Flake standing athwart earmarks yelling stop - is a prerequisite for restraining the slow slide to the center-left, whereas Steyn seems sees the push for reform itself as symptom of that slide. But at least we've achieved some degree of consensus!

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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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