by TrogloPundit | April 23, 2010 5:02 pm
To avoid ruining anyone’s Friday afternoon, I’ll limit myself to the first two paragraphs of the “why can’t everyone be as mature as I am” whine-fest that is David Brooks’ latest. Those of you with weak stomachs: consider yourselves cautioned.
In these columns I try to give voice to a philosophy you might call progressive conservatism.
Oh, dear God.
It starts with the wisdom of Edmund Burke…
There it is. That’s my gorge rising.
…the belief that the world is more complex than we can know and we should be skeptical of handing too much power to government planners.
Oh, well, that’s a good bit of conservative wisdom there. A little Hayekianism, if you will. Speak it brother. You should stop writing now. No, stop. Stop!
Ah, hell, you didn’t stop:
It layers in a dose of Hamiltonian optimism – the belief that limited but energetic government can nonetheless successfully enhance opportunity and social mobility
Well, now, what do you mean by “limited?”
This general philosophy puts me to the left of where the Republican Party is now, and to the right of the Democratic Party. It puts me in that silly spot on the political map, the center, or a step to the right of it.
Only if you’re more interested in promoting yourself as the wise, wise sage, floating above the ugly morass of mortal life. Only if you haven’t actually considered the theories behind conservative thought.
See, depending on what you mean by “limited,” you might well be endorsing conservative — not “progressive” — conservatism.
I, a conservative, also want “limited but energetic” government. Energetic enforcement of property rights, for example, without which a modern economy can’t exist. Must I, in order to become as enlightened as you, put away my protest signs and allow “limited but energetic” to become TARP; Stimulus I and II; ObamaCare; and Cap&Trade? Must I sit back until “limited but energetic” comes to mean that, hey, at least I can still bring out my protest sign and publicly declare my dissent, even though it makes David Brooks uncomfortable?
At the risk of putting thoughts into someone else’s head, I think Brooks wants so desperately to be above the fray — to be the wise, cool-headed one everyone respects and likes — that he simply can’t stand the thought of saying: no. That’s wrong. You’re wrong, and I’m going to do whatever I can to stop you, even if that means…gasp… speaking publicly against you.
Which is fine, of course, Someone as absolutely heartbroken as Brooks is over the “stale, old debate” being “back with a fury” would more likely shift to the left than to the right, anyway. Brooks is a token conservative who really, really wishes he could be a liberal. The left, see, they get to be more hopey-feely. We on the right have to be logical and, therefore, sometimes mean.
And it’s the downright meanness of it that hurts Brooks’ “Hamiltonian optimism.”
More at The TrogloPundit
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