Assigned Reading: In (Limited) Praise of Right-Wing Populism
(FROM: The Volokh Conspiracy)
I don’t agree with every word, but I think Ilya Somin makes some excellent points in his post at The Volokh Conspiracy:
I am no fan of populism of either the left or right-wing variety. In my view, most populist movements exploit voter ignorance and irrationality to promote policies that tend to do far more harm than good. That said, I have been pleasantly surprised by the right-wing populist reaction to the economic crisis and Obama’s policies. With rare exceptions, right-wing populists such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and the Tea Party protesters, have advocated free market approaches to dealing with the crisis, and have attacked Obama and the Democratic Congress for seeking massive increases in government spending and regulation. They have not responded in any of several much worse ways that seemed like plausible alternatives a year ago, and may still be today.
There are plenty of things for some conservatives to object to in Somin’s piece (especially if you like Huckabee, Buchanan, or Falwell), but I agree with his general conclusion. I think Glenn Beck in particular deserves credit for the fact, as Somin puts it, that “the positions taken by the right-wing populists on these issues are basically simplified versions of those taken by the most sophisticated libertarian and limited-government conservative economists and policy scholars.”
As far as I’m concerned, the intersection of limited government and strong traditional values is as good as conservatism gets.