Creating a New Establishment

Despite some quibbles with his characterization of the modern Left, I hope Dan Riehl is very much on the right track in arguing that the old movement conservative establishment is no longer capable of holding the Right together, and that the future of the Right lies with the Tea Parties, and in particular with the more libertarian element of the Tea Parties.  At a minimum, Riehl is right-on in recognizing the importance of a Right that is more hospitable (though not subservient) to libertarian-ish views on social and foreign policy issues.  As Riehl points out in an earlier post, CPAC-style conservatism “represents … a conservative establishment without much movement, grown old and bloated.” 

I’m still very uncertain that the broader Right will ultimately follow the path towards a more universally libertarian direction, but there are few writers with a better read on the broader Right’s pulse than Riehl, so maybe I’m wrong.

ADDENDUM: Riehl doesn’t outright say it, but I think implicit in his argument is the notion that the old emphasis on the “three-legged stool” no longer works as a matter of practical politics, having become too rigid and creating a real disconnect between the Right’s leaders and its potential base.  This, of course, is exactly the point that I’ve been trying to make ever since I started blogging – it has long since stopped being the case that a sufficiently large number of people were capable of being all three legs of the stool at the same time.

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6 thoughts on “Creating a New Establishment

  1. 62across – start with the Stephen Gordon interview on the sidebar. He doesn’t talk about foreign policy in the interview, but if you’ve read him long enough, as I have, you quickly know what his views are. Beyond that, while it’s true that the majority of tea partiers are probably not very libertarian on foreign policy, the roots of the movement are fairly purely libertarian. Moreover, this post was also intended to pay homage to the Campaign for Liberty types who are very clearly libertarian on foreign policy and who have developed a powerful activist network that the GOP and movement conservatives would be foolish to ignore and refuse to tap into.

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    • Mark –

      Thank you for the reply.

      As Stephen Gordon says himself in the comments to his interview, on non-fiscal fronts he sees potential division between the TP movement and the libertarians. Riehl believes the TP is “… a movement that can manage to embrace the need for military strength most appreciated by the hawk and the neo-conservative, while understanding the fear of military adventurism of the Ron Paul crowd.” I’m trying to understand how you and other libertarians imagine these two positions can come to get along. Beyond that, I’d like to see how the fiscal restraint idea can co-exist with growing the military/national security apparatus. M/NS spending is almost two thirds of the discretionary budget – not counting supplemental military spending not on the budget; how do limit government spending while taking more than half of the reduction targets off the table?

      If libertarians want to find common cause on fiscal restraint, they might consider working with liberals to shrink the military and get us out of the war business.

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  2. I wonder if in 25 years whether we will even have Democrats and Republicans anymore. The GOP is flying apart at the seams, and the Democrats are broadening and broadening into a spectrum that is so vast that it’s essentially randomized about the zero mean (the progressive left sees this as the Rotating Villain dynamic).

    I’m sure the parties will still exist but you might see a more parliamentary system where sub-groups form alliances of convenience, solely motivated by short term tactics and the way bills are written. You’d have the fiscons and the socons as usual, but you’d also have a neocon and neorealist tension. There would be the progressives and the “moderates” who are the ultimate triangulators and pragmatists (and possibly the most effective at getting anything done). Presidential contests would devolve into biographic/personality pageants, with actual policy issues based on whatever coalition of the subgroups they can muster. Obama Republicans and Reagan Democrats will have more “anti-party” ID than Dems and Reps combined, and elections would hinge on courting the base during the primary and then courting the middle during the general, with low base turnout. The youth vote will fail to materialize as usual. The elderly will vote for preservation of the status quo. Everyone else will tune out and make a purely reactionary decision; debates on the issues will be essentially gutted of anything more meaty than a soundbite or glib stereotypes about markets, fearmongering about socialism or theocracy, and econobabble about jobs and tax credits/cuts.

    Foreign policy will probably alternate between aggressive and passive aggressive, depending on who is in power, with the genuine isolationists mounting a healthy but ultimately fruitless opposition. Congress will never again excercize its oversight over war, the judiciary will legislate from the bench, and the executive will accumulate more and more authority.

    Everything will be online and be totally transparent but simultaneously utterly opaque.

    Yeah, I guess I”m feeling cynical.

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