The conservative temperament is as old as civilization itself and will always be with us.
Of course. There will always be sensible people who realize from history that the rate of change, if too fast, leads to social dissension, and who realize that liberal programs must stand up to the test of basic arithmetic. :-)
The past few years have been ones of immense political turmoil in much of the English speaking world.
To my point. :-)
If you had asked me four years ago about the state of conservatism I might have used terms such as ‘stale’, ‘ossified’, ‘out of touch’, or ‘unwilling to change old dogmas in light of new circumstances’.
On that we agree.
But the fact that such an obviously grotesque and unserious figure was able to unseat the GOP’s conservative establishment reflected much deeper problems the party had been papering over for at least a decade.
On that too.
In economic policy, the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath fatally undermined the conservative claim that financial deregulation would yield immense benefits and also served to remind us how vital government central banks are in maintaining macroeconomic stability.
Overstated. There is an ongoing and valid case to be made for avoiding overregulation; just look at the devastation wreaked on US community banks by Dodd-Frank. But, yes, there are some areas where regulation is needed to prevent bankers from being themselves. :-)
WRT the central bank matter, agreed.
The Bush tax cuts of the early 2000’s failed to deliver the economic prosperity that their proponents claimed they would.
Yep. What we should have learned from that is dropping top marginal rates from a rather silly 70% to, oh 40% or packs a wallop in terms of economic stimulus. Dropping them from 40% to 35%…..not so much.
The shock to the American manufacturing base of imports from China in the early 2000’s undermined the mantra that free trade would benefit all (Its easy to forget this now, but this actually used to be a conservative position).
Still is the conservative position. Hasn’t changed. And now the liberals are all free traders too. Just look at how they’ve all criticized the Trump protectionism.
And growing inequality and stagnating real incomes undermined claims that the rising tide of the market economy would lift all boats.
No, the rising tide of market economy DOES lift all boats. The only problem is that in a global economy, the boats that are getting lifted are in developing nations.
It’s hard to see what issues social conservatives have in the 21st Century that do not look like losing battles.
Probably worth mentioning here that social conservatives are not really conservatives, as far as the libertarian aspect of conservationist is concerned.
In foreign policy, conservatives in the early 2000’s went all in on the Iraq War.
No, we didn’t. Some of the loudest conservative voices in the country were opposed. You’re conflating conservativism (which does not like to project global power more than it needs to) with neoconservativism, which supports endless war and American hegemony (something else the liberals in the US have now embraced, it seems.)
This misadventure proved doubly discrediting when the supposedly existential threat of radical Islamic terrorism proved to be much less serious a threat than we were told it was in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
That’s a rather naive statement. It’s quite easy to sit in North America, behind these two large moats known as Oceans, and forget about the obvious problems that vast wealth combined with cultural anger can cause.
Yet the conservative movement’s failure to grapple with or even acknowledge these problems has meant that they have confined themselves to irrelevance, both politically and intellectually. In their place have arisen a new batch of populists, some hucksters, some genuinely sinister ideologues. What they have in common though is a tendency to recognize the problems I have outlined above, even if their answers are often odious.
Well, political movements evolve, be they conservative or liberal, and the boiling pot in which they evolve is called “populism”. Populism causes a rearrangement of priorities, boiling away old ideas and embracing new ones that fit well with the underlying ideology, be that right or left.
What seems to be emerging from this “boiling pot”, will not be, as you allude to, “Tucker Carlsonism”, but this new libertarianism we’re starting to see from the post-millenial age. The culture wars of the boomers vs the millenials seem to be teaching the new generation that the less government you have, the better.
Traditional conservatives who think that things can go back to Reaganism as usual once Trump is gone are deluding themselves.
Eh. What comes out of it awaits to be seen, but what I see is a neolibertarian coalition which is socially liberal in that they believe that nobody should care about another person’s private business, less interventionist from a foreign policy standpoint, and very suspicious of government getting in their way.
but in terms of intellectual heft it includes many of the right’s most serious voices.
Hmmmm. I’d say that many of these individual have proved themselves to be UNserious. Saying you’re never going to vote for Trump is one thing; casting a vote instead for politicians whose policies you said you abhor is another.
Simply put, no NeverTrumper who admitted/admits to casting a vote for Clinton or whoever the Dems foist upon us in 2020 can claim to being “serious”. It’s more likely that they were using the conservative movement to advance their careers, and never really believed in conservative principles.
It is my contention that in the coming years, conservatism as we have come to know it will fade away, its current members drifting into either the nationalist right or the neoliberal centre.
Nah. History shows that there will always be an active counterpoint in political ideas. You’re stating just the opposite.