Fighting for Conservatism


Long-time readers will know that I still consider myself a conservative, even one who feels repelled by so much the current administration and Congress have been up to: higher levels of spending than any administration since FDR, a doubling of the debt owed by the next generation, infringing on states' rights, politicizing the constitution, bungling the most important war of our time, having more time for Terri Schiavo than Hurricane Katrina, pork-barrel corruption, undermining habeas corpus, authorizing torture, cynically using religious faith for political purposes.

None of this, I believe, is authentically conservative. None of it is what I became a conservative to support. I know I am not alone in feeling like a refugee from a political tradition I once felt very much at home in.

My book is an attempt not to make bloggy quick points about all of this but to take a few steps back and ask the harder questions about how we got here, what conservatism can still mean, and to make a solid case for restoring conservative values to their pride of place: limited government, lower spending, individual responsibility, individual freedom, prudent foreign policy, a separation of religious faith from electoral politics, states' rights, checks and balances, and balanced budgets. I want a return to the "leave-us-alone" coalition of Reagan and Goldwater.

In the next few days, I'll be YouTubing short segments of my presentation at the Cato Institute last week, along with David Brook's rebuttal, and our debate.

Here are the first few minutes. More to come: