Inside the conservative identity crisis

Inside the conservative identity crisis

Outside the conservative movement, there are essentially two storylines about what conservatism is about. The first is relatively polite, which is why you hear it more often, although it’s not clear how many people truly believe it. The second storyline is far less polite and widely believed in progressive circles.

The first storyline goes something like this: Conservatives share the same goals as everyone else — they want a beautifully flourishing society — but … have concerns about the unintended consequences of radical change….

Then there’s a second storyline, which … has been given a boost by the stunning ascension of President Donald Trump…. [A]nyone is a conservative is essentially … a jerk.


In health care, certainly, that narrative gets a lot of play. Recall former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s summation that the conservative view of health care is basically “Don’t get sick, and if you do, die quickly.” Or the Democratic attack that Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plan essentially amounted to pushing Grandma off a cliff….

Now, the point of this is not to complain about the progressive narrative; it’s the opposite. Because conservatives have internalized this second (false) storyline.

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