As Good As Conservatism Gets

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.

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Comments

  1. Still a Patriot says:

    Hi Robert -

    "For example, the right-wing populists could have reacted to Obama and the financial crisis by embracing the kind of big government social conservatism advocated by Mike Huckabee during the presidential campaign."

    Anyone who knows Mike Huckabee also knows he is NOT in favor of "big government" – I recommend everyone read his book "Do The Right Thing" to see where he actually stands.

    Susan

  2. Robert Wallace says:

    ScottF-

    I think you're confused about the political spectrum. As traditionally defined the left-wing in America is socially and fiscally liberal and the right-wing in American is socially and fiscally conservative.

    Libertarians tend to fall in the middle because they are fiscally conservative and often socially liberal, but some libertarians are also socially conservative.

    Glenn Beck is a socially conservative libertarian. He's in favor of traditional values, the nuclear family, and pro-life. But he's also very much in favor of fiscal discipline and limited government power.

    What part of that makes him "that far left"?

  3. ScottF says:

    "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."

    Maybe that is because Glenn Beck is a Libertarian, who subscribes to the Austrian school of economics. So, that would mean he and many others are not "right-wing" at all. If you're that far left, just about everyone appears "right-wing".

  4. Anonymous says:

    The vast majority of people speaking up against this massive spending by Gov. (Limbaugh,Hannity,Beck & the Tea Party folks)are concerned because of deficit spending. The middle class (of which I am) understands spending money you don"t have on a continual basis is total folly. Notice I said "continual" as almost all businesses & sometimes governments have to spend money they don't have at that moment. Having said that, the manner that this administration & our congress is spending is really without precedent at least in this country. Its all a "crisis" all the time! This must be dealt with now less we go pass the point of no return!! Thats the mantra,hysteria & destruction await us if we don't act. There are numerous accounts of "crisis" matters that were not really dealt with. Social security, housing loans 2001-2003, teenage pregnancy,deseases(swine flu), and lets not forget government spending. Five or six years ago people were crying over the deficit. The point is this, our leaders(so called elected represenatives)are proposing huge programs with hugh price tags. The legislation is so vast & exhausting and then they demand that you read it and understand it in 72 hours or some other ridiculous time frame. This is an outright attempt to force an agenda, not save the day!!! We have legislators signing things they have not read nor understand. This is not how it is to be! There are many good people in Congress, and they are literally threatened to get it done! This is not close to a democratic process! We have a constitution and in many instances is not being followed. Yes, we speak out just as our founders did and they were ultimately ignored. Not too different as President Obama said a few months and I paraphrase "I just wish they would shut-up and get out of the way" Look it up thats essentiallly what he said. NOW is the time to speak up, as good citizens that is your duty and our rights.

  5. Anonymous says:

    GLENN BECK IS A FLIP FLOPPER

    Glenn Beck said on Sept 22, 2008 "The ‘REAL STORY’ is the $700 billion that you`re hearing about now is not only, I believe, necessary, it is also not nearly enough, and all of the weasels in Washington know it."

    Proving once again that conservative attitudes towards bailout and spending only flipped when the White House got new residents.

    Chuck

  6. Anonymous says:

    " … the intersection of limited government and strong traditional values is as good as conservatism gets."
    ********************

    that's it!
    good call. its what will save us all in the long run, including democrats. quite frankly i believe there are many republican-minded people calling themselves democrats out of habit… but you ask [SOME]them about their principles and they are more aligned with the right than the left.

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