Stop in the name of conservatism!

Steven Bainbridge says conservatives shouldn't be looking for new ideas:

To me, this is basically wrong headed. I can’t think of anything more contrary to the spirit of Burkean conservatism than a seach for the “next big thing.” Indeed, I would argue that a large part of the problem with modern conservatism is that Bush and the K Street Gang were more concerned with finding something big to do than with standing athwart history shouting stop.

Instead, it is the Libertarians and the progressives who are Big Idea people. Despite their obvious differences in philosophy, they share the absurd belief that if only their big idea(s) came to pass, society would inexorably progress towards some ideal.

In contrast, I stand with Buckley ("Don’t let ideologues try to create heaven on earth, because they’ll deprive us of freedom and make things a lot worse") and Bill Bonner ("Traditional American conservatism was not a doctrine of world improvement, but a mood of skepticism toward all “isms” and empire builders").



I understand that, but as a policy matter, conservatives need to figure out how they're going to stop the juggernaut. Reagan did it with tax cuts, big increases in defense spending, and deregulation. The first two are pretty much out of the picture, and no one's mounted a serious drive at deregulation for more than a decade. It would be nice if one could win an election on "Don't just do something--stand there!" This would quite warm my little heart. But it doesn't work. Conservatives need to figure out how they are going to roll back the bad ideas and prevent new bad ones from getting through. For that, they need a proposal a bit more eloquent than "Stop!"