Why American conservatism failed

  
Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  21 comments

Why American conservatism failed
Republicans dominate almost every arena of U.S. politics - and the (welfare) state is bigger than ever. Should we chalk this up to incompetence? More likely, conservatives know that the public actually wants the welfare state and that a modern country could not function today under some libertarian fantasy experiment.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


...Born during the industrialization of the country after the Civil War, progressivism sees society as requiring collective action undertaken by government, which can best enable individuals to flourish economically, politically and morally. This tradition, for Will, has eroded the ideals of the American founding, enervated the spirit of America and created a country that is less free, less self-reliant and poised for economic stagnation.

But the problem for Will and for modern conservatism is that, as progressivism rose in the 20th century, the United States became the most powerful, productive and dynamic nation in the world. Indeed, after the New Deal came the astonishing American boom of the 1950s and 1960s. After the Great Society came the information revolution, which the United States has dominated more than any other nation. The fact remains that in 2019, the United States is one of the most free, dynamic and innovative countries on the planet. If that is the result of a century of progressive policies, maybe we need more?

The fundamental flaw of modern conservatism is that it is unsure whether America today is a fallen republic or an astonishing success story. This confusion has produced a political crisis among conservatives, which might help explain the rise of Trump.

Ever since the 1930s, conservatives have been promising their flock the rollback of the progressive agenda. They have warned about the dangers of leaving the welfare state intact and pilloried conservative leaders for failing in this crucial task. Yet, despite the Reagan revolution, the Newt Gingrich revolution and the tea party revolution, the welfare state is still standing as strong as ever. Republicans dominate almost every arena of U.S. politics - and the state is bigger than ever. Should we chalk this up to incompetence? More likely, conservatives know that the public actually wants the welfare state and that a modern country could not function today under some libertarian fantasy experiment. Of course, they will never admit this.

In any case, the result is that conservative leaders left their base permanently aggrieved, feeling betrayed and distrustful of any new campaign promises. In recent years, as the fever grew, conservative voters became desperate for someone who had not played this game of bait- and-switch with them. And into this rage walked Trump, who easily toppled the old conservative establishment and rode the frustration with elites all the way to the White House.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago
...conservatives know that the public actually wants the welfare state and that a modern country could not function today under some libertarian fantasy experiment. Of course, they will never admit this.

The Republicans have retained power due to the logical inconsistencies of the election system including gerrymandering and the electoral college. Beginning in 1992, a time period that accounts for the effects of the conservative Reagan-Bush administrations, the Democratic candidate for president has received more votes than the Republican candidate in 6 of the last 7 presidential elections.

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
1.1  Freedom Warrior  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

Republicans are not the party inviting the world to illegally enter the country to participate in the welfare state. 

You have Dem presidential candidates actually supporting such lunacy.  Since you are all about honesty, go ahead an admit it.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Populist conservatives have become a group obsessed with grievance, which they mainly act out in a flood of whining about "political correctness". It is embarrassing to watch these grievances play out every day on a forum like this.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

One of the more interesting things we see on this forum, in a car wreck sort of way, are all the right wing predictions that Trump will easily win re-election because "the people" love him.

In 6 of the past 7 presidential elections the Republican candidate got less votes than the Democratic candidate.  There is no reason whatsoever to think that trend will change in 2020. Trump is very unpopular, for cause.

Were he popular one could argue that the 6 for 7 trend will change next year, but,..... well.

 
 
 
 
cjcold
4  cjcold    2 weeks ago

Funny how the red states are takers and the blue states are givers. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
5  Vic Eldred    2 weeks ago

There are a few flaws in Mr Freeman's reasoning.

Number 1 seems to be the idea that "progressive ideology" somehow gets credit for the fruits of the free enterprise system:

"as progressivism rose in the 20th century, the United States became the most powerful, productive and dynamic nation in the world. Indeed, after the New Deal came the astonishing American boom of the 1950s and 1960s. After the Great Society came the information revolution, which the United States has dominated more than any other nation. The fact remains that in 2019, the United States is one of the most free, dynamic and innovative countries on the planet. If that is the result of a century of progressive policies, maybe we need more?"    Answer - progressive policies had nothing to do with the US standard of living!

Number 2 is the presumption that the welfare state has flourished because it's such a great idea:

"They have warned about the dangers of leaving the welfare state intact and pilloried conservative leaders for failing in this crucial task. Yet, despite the Reagan revolution, the Newt Gingrich revolution and the tea party revolution, the welfare state is still standing as strong as ever."

Once government gives something away to people and dependency is created, there cannot be, nor has there ever been a going back!


The one thing Freeman is right on - for the time being anyway, is that the Republican Party is in the hands of a Populist leader, one who gets things done!

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @5    2 weeks ago

The article is by Fareed Zakaria , the CNN Sunday morning show host who is also an author on geo-political subjects. Where are you getting "Mr. Freeman"?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
5.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    2 weeks ago

Oh dear!  I saw Freeman's name posted near the top of the seeded article (the original). My mistake.

Does this mean all my points become invalid?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
5.1.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1.2    2 weeks ago

And jailed?  Who is after me?  Antifa?

I hope this isn't a conspiracy theory.  No kidding?

I suppose, I am to go the way of Comrade Withers, without a trace!

 
 
 
freepress
6  freepress    2 weeks ago

It is beyond astounding the level of willful ignorance that follows Republicans and/or "conservatives". 

Republicans have held the Presidency, they have held a majority across America in most states locally, statewide and in Congress or the Senate, and still they cry and whine and moan about how "terrible" things are when they have held those offices of power and have accomplished little or nothing. 

The willful obstruction during the Obama years that is still going on today while these lying obstructionists take a taxpayer salary and try to use taxpayer dollars to keep their power forever.

Republicans have held the states in the south in particular the border states for years and what did these Republican conservatives do? Nothing about immigration over the last 50 years that is for certain.

Long term problems like immigration and illegal workers have been the backbone of their power in those border states for a very long time. And rather than do something about it, they blame a Democrat when no Democrat was ever in power on those border states other than Ann Richards in Texas. 

All the political power in every border state whether it was Reagan in California or Bush in Texas, or Jeb Bush in Florida, all of them and anyone who ever held office over the last 50 years welcomed the cheap labor, turned a blind eye so that Republican donors could take advantage. Republicans embraced amnesty as a way of getting of the blame.

It has all been a shell game, a blame game and a crony culture for Republican donors. Yet the conservative Republican base buys every lie, and ignores the truth.

 
 
 
luther28
7  luther28    2 weeks ago

. Republicans dominate almost every arena of U.S. politics - and the state is bigger than ever. Should we chalk this up to incompetence?

Yes it would seem to be a fair label. For the first two years of this administration they controlled the Government in total and managed to do nothing other than a tax cut that ballooned the deficit further. They can out talk and out muscle the Dems, but alas and alack have no notion as how to govern.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
7.1  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  luther28 @7    2 weeks ago
They can out talk and out muscle the Dems, but alas and alack have no notion as how to govern.

we see how dems govern  - good job... LOL  

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
8  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

Republicans have never had near the filibuster proof control of congress it would take to roll back the welfare state.  

Can Zakaria not count votes?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
9  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Even more interesting is that the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s was provided by a factory economy.  The surge in industrial output provided the means for technological innovation, advances in science, and expansion of the nation's infrastructure.  The United States had the capability and the capacity to build and that's what the United States did.

When America builds, America prospers.

 
 
 
luther28
10  luther28    2 weeks ago

When America builds, America prospers.

Has always proved true to date.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
11  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

So called American conservatives, from William Buckley to George Will, have been pitching snake oil.  American conservatives have never been classical liberals regardless of the flimflam being published.  If American conservatives were classical liberals then they would be clamoring for unrestricted abortion, lax drug laws, gay marriage, and open borders for immigration.  In reality American conservatives have been more attuned to the philosophy of piracy than the philosophy of classical liberalism.

The Republican Party was the first (and perhaps only) progressive political party in the United States.  The Republican Party was the party of abolition, civil rights, and women's suffrage.  The Republican Party enacted and ratified the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution.  The Republican Party established the primacy of Union over states rights.

The Republican Party was established based on a protestant progressive philosophy that is uniquely American.  The Republican creed has always been grounded upon God, Union, and family.  It's true that Republican progressivism is not classical liberalism.  But classical liberalism wasn't the founding philosophy for the Republican Party. 

Classical liberalism began to wane in American politics with the establishment of the Democratic Party in the 1820s.  The Democratic Party was a political counterpoint to classical liberalism based upon an odd mix of European conservatism and liberalism.  The Democratic Party has attempted to make the politics (and government) of the United States more European.  (There were factions in the early Democratic Party who believed the American Revolution was a mistake.)

Thomas Jefferson's political party was the Democratic-Republican Party which was established upon the philosophy of classical liberalism.  But the name of Jefferson's party is only superficial; today's Republican and Democratic Parties were established on completely different philosophies.  Neither of today's political parties were established on the the philosophy of classical liberalism.  

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
12  Ed-NavDoc    2 weeks ago

Given the choice between right leaning conservatism and progressive leftist liberalism, I'll surely take conservatism any day.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
13  Ed-NavDoc    2 weeks ago

Many years ago a close friend told me something that I did not pay attention to until recently. Historically, presidents who were Democrats were intellectuals and dreamers were good at domestic policy, but generally sucked at foreign policy. Republican presidents on the other hand  were more hawkish and generally sucked at domestic policy but did better at foreign policy. Them you had sprinkling in between from both parties that could not seem to get their act together on either one, or the those that were actually good at both.

 
 
 
tomwcraig
14  tomwcraig    2 weeks ago
progressivism sees society as requiring collective action undertaken by government, which can best enable individuals to flourish economically, politically and morally.

This quote from above is actually not what progressivism is about nor how it sees America.  Progressivism is about government increasing control over the population not about freedom.  Before 1901, when Progressivism made major inroads into the US government, people relied on each other and mainly themselves to succeed.  Hard work was the order of the day and you basked in the fruits of your labors.  After 1901, government began making more and more power grabs from passing the Income Tax in 1913 to the passing of the PPACA in 2010.  If people actually paid attention to history, they could easily see this continuous power grab for what it is.

You want individuals to flourish, let them be individuals and remove many of the restrictions government has placed on them since 1901.  Conservatism is about individualism, where each individual is responsible for their own economic, moral, and political actions.  Progressivism is about government taking over everything and removing all individual choices.

 
 
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