Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Jonah Goldberg's wishlist for Bush's 2nd term

National Review's Jonah Goldberg is fast becoming one of my favorite columnists - he's never shy about stepping on toes and says what he believes and doesn't sugarcoat it, nor allow it to be swayed by the winds of public opinion. That, and he's one of the few on the Right to draw the obvious distinction between "conservative" and "Republican" and repeatedly point out that the terms are far from being inseparable. In describing his wishes for Bush's 2nd term, he says that instead of repeating what we'll hear from all over (SS reform, tax reform, abolishment of Title IX [one of my favorites]), he suggest something different:
Instead I'd like to suggest an ideological/political priority. I would like it if Bush could return to the notion that political conservatism is first and foremost about limited government — not "better" government, more compassionate government, more efficient government, more business-friendly government or even just plain nicer government.
Well said, Jonah. That's what I wish for as well.

But at the same time this sort of goes against the grain of what I've been thinking about off and on since long before the 2004 election, and that is the unfortunate reality of "parties" and why they are so integral to the political process. So many people don't rigorously consider issues on a case by case basis (the merits and the intended and unintended consequences), but only agree with party-line positions wholesale. Party identification and groupthink is (IMNSO) what's gotten us as far off-track as we are in the first place, and (again IMHO) only individual commitment to issues and policies rather than to parties or candidates will bring us back from the big-government (scratch that, make that huge-government) abyss into which we've been staring since the New Deal/Great Society/passage of the 17th Amendment. As always, I remain open to later being convinced that this position is faulty, but that's what's going through my head at the moment.


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