David Brooks Redefines “Conservatism.” Guess Who`s Not Included.


With all the chest-thumping and
flag-waving the

Republican Convention
contributed to Western
civilization last month, President Bush finally got the
bounce in the polls that may well keep him in the White
House for the next four years. If so, what will he and
his party do and where will they move?

In the New York Times Magazine
of Aug. 29, just before the convention gathered,
columnist David Brooks tells us what he and his

neoconservative
colleagues have in mind. If you
think it`s what most conservatives want, take a closer
look.

"Should Bush lose," Mr.
Brooks warns, the party "will be like a pack of
wolves that suddenly turns on itself. The civil war over
the future of the party will be ruthless and bloody,"
with civil wars between foreign policy realists and
"democracy-promoting Reaganites" (apparently not
the "foreign policy-realist Reaganites”), "the
immigrant-bashing

nativists
"
vs. the "free
marketeers
,"
(apparently not the "immigration-controlling
free marketeers
"), etc.

You begin to get the picture. Every
dog would get to bark except those Mr. Brooks wants to

muzzle
, and those just happen to be—well—the
conservatives. [How
to Reinvent the G.O.P
. By David Brooks, August
29, 2004 ]

That`s because Mr. Brooks believes
that "conservatism" in the sense the term has
been used for the last several decades is

defunct
, and in this he and

Pat Buchanan
, who says the

same thing
in his new book

Where the Right Went Wrong
,
are in agreement.

Mr. Buchanan, however, believes the
right—and with it the GOP—should resurrect something
like old conservatism. Mr. Brooks doesn`t.

The great virtue of Mr. Brooks`
article is that it pretty much settles once and for all
whether the neoconservatism he represents is really
conservatism in the traditional sense or not.

Many neocons, especially when

attacking real conservatives
or

claiming the conservative mantle for themselves
, say
it is. But it isn`t, as Mr. Brooks is honest enough to
make clear.

What then should the Republican
Party do? In Mr. Brooks` view, it should announce, as
the front cover of the magazine proclaims in displaying
his article, "The Era of Small Government is Over."
The future of the Republican Party, Mr. Brooks tells
us, lies in "progressive conservatism," which
gets us back to the "Republican tradition" of
"strong government."

"Long before it was the party of
Tom DeLay,"
he writes, using Mr. DeLay as a kind of
metaphor for "small government conservatism,"

"the
G.O.P. was a strong government/progressive conservative
party. It was the party of

Lincoln
, and thus of

Hamilton
. Today, in other words, the Republican
Party doesn`t need another revolution. It just needs a
revival. It needs to learn from the ideas that shaped
the party when it was born."

Well, actually, it wasn`t Mr. DeLay
who made the GOP "small government." It was
people like
Barry Goldwater
and
Ronald Reagan
and the conservatism to which they
adhered.

The reason they did and the reason
they succeeded is that there was a large constituency in
the country for resisting the leviathan state that
liberalism created and championed.

What Mr. Brooks and his
"progressive conservatism"
are proposing is to dump
that kind of conservatism and those who favored it.

Among the "tasks that strong
government conservatism will champion"
are fighting
the "war on
Islamic Extremism"
and promoting "social
mobility."

We know what the former
means—perpetual war with the

Muslim world
. Mr. Brooks is a bit vague as to
exactly what the latter means, but you can figure it
out.

"Progressive conservatives
understand that while culture matters most, government
can alter culture. It has done it in bad ways, and it
can do it in good ways."

Maybe so, but unprogressive
conservatives believe government has no business
altering culture at all. The culture—the

way of life of a people
—is what creates and
disciplines government, not the other way around.

Mr. Brooks has a small raft of
nifty ideas about how the leviathan state can change the
culture in "good ways"—"design programs to encourage
and strengthen marriages," "wage subsidies,"
federal
education policy, etc.

"More
and more conservatives understand that local control

[of schools] means local monopolies and local
mediocrity. Most Republicans, happily or not, have
embraced a significant federal role in education."

So they have, oblivious, as
perhaps is Mr. Brooks, that a larger c role will mean

federal monopolies
and

federal mediocrity
.

Mr. Brooks, like Mr. Buchanan, is
probably right that the old conservatism is defunct, and
maybe he`s right it can`t be brought back to life.

But there`s another term for the
sort of "progressive
conservatism
"
he`s proposing, and that is just
plain old vanilla liberalism.

In more recent years it`s been
called "neoconservatism," which is where we came
in.

If anyone still in the Republican
Party wants something different, I couldn`t tell you who
it is.

COPYRIGHT

CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture
, is now available
from

Americans For Immigration Control.

Click here
for Sam Francis` website. Click

here
to order his monograph
,
Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American
Political Future.