If you spend significant time in poor communities, especially poor black communities, you wonder why they don’t explode in protest more often. The inequality that is a concerning statistic to academics and politicians is their daily commute from cleaning the office of a Wall Street bank to a home surrounded by boarded-up buildings. The oppressive state that Libertarians warn about, is the cops who hassle or arrest them about whatever they do. The declining life expectancy that has generated worried op-eds, is their friends, family, and neighbors dying from a batch of heroin gone bad.
Try as we might, those of us who dare to challenge economic orthodoxy within the GOP are unlikely to prevail on policy and moral grounds alone. But the politics of today offer us another course that is just as powerful: offering a prescription to protect from impending electoral doom of the party if the course isn’t corrected. Rejecting economic orthodoxy within the GOP and embracing the largest jobs program in American history may be the only antidote to saving the Senate majority and the Trump presidency.
In his recent post Matt Stoller observes that a common theme at The Commons thus far is “the reemergence of the state as the key locus of legitimacy for the exercise of power” and urges conservatives to think about corruption and statecraft. What’s needed, he says, “is a vision of how to structure such a state without succumbing to corruption.”
Some time after I first met Oren, we had a good back and forth about neoliberalism, a term that has already appeared several times on this website and is at the forefront of American Compass’s mind. While Oren thought the word useful to describe the reigning economic orthodoxy we both found dissatisfying, I was more reticent to use it.
This paragraph was penned by G.K. Chesterton in 1925 about William Cobbett, 1763-1835.
Henry Adams described the hopelessness in Washington in 1860 and early 1861 as the country careened towards break-up and war this way: “No one could help. Looking back on this moment of crisis, nearly 50 years afterwards, one could only shake one’s white beard in silent horror.”
Before we were engulfed by coronavirus panic, Bill McGurn penned a column warning against the perils of American Compass and social engineering (“And Now a Word for Laissez-Faire,” Wall Street Journal, March 7).
Matt poses some important questions below about how conservatives must defend anti-corruption statecraft against (tellingly) American libertarians and Chinese communists. I think it is right to suggest that the founders and their generation generally shared a robust sensibility that opposing, combating, and defeating corruption was properly political activity at the regime level.
The Senate is finally back in Washington and negotiations over the next coronavirus recovery package are underway. The White House’s initial salvo was reported Monday and includes a capital gains tax cut, a measure to increase entertainment tax deductions, and a payroll tax cut.
Almost 60 years ago, Frank Meyer formulated “fusionism.” He explained why 1950s anti-communists, free-market proponents, and social conservatives could unite in a coherent coalition.
Welcome to American Compass. Our mission is to restore an economic consensus that emphasizes the importance of family, community, and industry to the nation’s liberty and prosperity.
American Compass’s Wells King reviews Michael Strain’s new book The American Dream Is Not Dead (But Populism Could Kill It).