What’s Conservative About the New Conservatism?
As I’ve mentioned here before, I hail from the right side of the libertarian spectrum and have long worked with conservatives, center-right media, and Republican politicians on various policy issues. Back then, we’d surely disagree on specific line items—Iraq or the drug war, for example—but we always shared a core belief in certain fundamental principles about government, public policy, and life. These principles, not necessarily shared by the left (for better or worse), ensured that we’d remain close allies in the political arena, regardless of our disagreements on discrete issues. (I even recall one time scoffing at a former colleague’s “liberaltarian” project in the early 2000s, because the left and libertarians had far more fundamental disagreements about natural rights, limited government, the rule of law, and related issues.)
As readers of The Dispatch are surely aware, this “fusionist” alliance has, in recent years, frayed, with many self-identified conservatives today accusing us libertarians of not only being turtleneck-wearing, election-losing chart jockeys but actually causing many of the right’s (and America’s) problems. But I think the Florida-Disney saga—particularly many mainstream conservatives’ reactions thereto—may take the schism to a whole new (and bad) level and reveal in the process that, if this is the “new conservatism” it’s not very “conservative” at all.