War, Economy, History; or, the radical evil of American "Conservatism"
Here's a very interesting book review by Jacob Heilbrunn of Darthmouth prof Jeffrey Hart's new book on "The Making of the Conservative Mind." Hart is a longtime contributor to National Review, the newest anti-bush con, and has written a sort of intellectual history of 1950'sff. conservatism, from the non-neo-con, non-evangelical-perspective. Nevertheless, the best graph in the article, which has already been tagged by wash monthly's kevin drum is Heilbrunn's response to a lot of the aristocratic handwringing: In reality, though, conservatism hasn't really changed all that much. The Christian right has certainly infused it with moralism and anti-Darwin mumbo-jumbo, but what's more striking about the GOP over the past 100 years or so is its continuity. The party's main, almost sole, purpose has been to ensure that as much money as possible goes to those who need it least and that as little as possible goes to those who need it most. In a party of moneybags, Theodore Roosevelt was the exception, not the rule. Whether Bush manages to extricate the United States from Iraq or not, his avalanche of tax cuts has already justified the main reason that Republican pooh-bahs selected him to become their candidate for president.The failure of Iraq, our status of non-declared semi-illegal war, and the looming threat of our response to Iran are the crucial issues of the moment. Nevertheless, that these issues are crucial is still somewhat of a successful by-product of a militarist agenda that cannot be sustained but by a governing economic ideology. And contra the bandwagon jumping foreign policy critique that has now become de rigeur among the somewhat brighter lights of a dim intellectual candelabra, the economic critique is the one that has always been most obvious and most needing to be made.