Why liberals should stop predicting the death of conservatism
This became evident at a recent panel held at Columbia University by The Current, a journal of culture, politics and Jewish affairs. The event featured a former conservative, Columbia Professor of Humanities Mark Lilla, and conservative thinker Reihan Salam of The National Review. Both thinkers believe that anti-statist ideology is genuine and deep-rooted, and not the last whimper of white supremacy or a disingenuous political posture. Lilla yearns for the moderate conservatism of the past, while Salam embraces the reformist drive of movements like the Tea Party. It is the conservatism of Lilla that has died; populist libertarianism is on the rise…
…Conservative commentator Reihan Salam of The National Review also believes there is a broad base of anti-government sentiment, but he holds a far more positive view of populist, “grassroots” conservatism. A Bangladeshi American, Salam disputes that conservatism is a movement for bigoted whites. During the panel, he noted that most conservatives under 40 support gay marriage, and argued that polling demonstrates that views on race are actually very similar across the ideological spectrum. In his view, the emergence of movements like the Tea Party is a direct consequence of the failures of an inept and profligate Republican establishment. In a recent piece in Slate, Salam maintained that Tea Party populism can be “the most constructive and powerful political force of our time” if it attacks not only Washington, but also the “Washington-Wall Street axis,” and the crony capitalism that accompanies this relationship. While Lilla yearns for the conservatism of yesteryear, Salam embraces the grassroots libertarianism that is driving the movement today.