After the election losses in 2012, some Republicans have advocated a need to change. In comes Rand Paul, who may well be on the leading edge of a new conservatism, which will focus on four areas:
1. Its social policy will focus primarily on protecting freedom of conscience in an increasingly pluralistic society, while undoing the excesses of the drug war and punitive sentencing for nonviolent crime. For example, as the country moves toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, some states have restricted the ability of Catholic charities to continue functioning without violating key religious tenets. People may disagree on moral issues, but a nation where religious charities can't operate is a far worse place.
2. This new conservatism will align with the ideas of governors such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who are fighting battles for domestic policy reform. At stake are the power of public-sector unions and the future of entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. The challenge is to fix our fiscal woes while protecting the vulnerable in society, as religious conservatives understand is required by their faith. Without fiscal temperance, as well as education reform and a better regulatory environment, there will neither be the opportunity for social mobility nor resources for a social safety net, public or private.
3. We also need to unwind our military engagements while maintaining flexibility in a rapidly changing world. Numbers don't lie, and our debt and deficits demand a reduction in military spending. Conservatives should aim to achieve the necessary reductions in a smart fashion that maintains readiness and doesn't endanger America's interests. This will be a challenging balancing act, but it should be driven by strategic concerns rather than arbitrary benchmarks.
4. Finally, conservatives should consider comprehensive immigration reform that would allow skilled and unskilled workers to seek their American dream while granting parole, not amnesty, to those hard-working migrants now here illegally.
This recipe may not be the "ideal" that conservative pundits would like to see, and it doesn't necessarily reflect our utmost individual preferences, but it reflects the practical realities of this age.
Rand Paul hasn't (yet) changed conservatism, but his views will shape the movement's future.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Ilya Shapiro: Rand Paul Can Shape the Future of Conservatism
As Reagan famously put it "the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism", so conservatism is really just going back to its roots, where it probably should have been all along. Anyway, here is Ilya Shapiro on Rand Paul and the future of conservatism: