This is an important and balanced exploration of why some conservative intellectuals support Donald Trump for president and the underlying problems they hope to address through his election. http://www.weeklystandard.com/crisis-of-the-conservative-house-divided/article/2005000
I'm voting for Evan McMullin for President. But I hope that he, and all true conservatives, can see the merit in this critique, reject "checklist conservatism," and really try to tackle the problems of the bi-partisan administrative state outlined in this article.
It is very long and includes too much academic inside baseball and too many tangents, but it makes some very, very important points.
Important excerpts for those who don't want to slog through the whole thing:
"What is that crisis? It's not the litany of items that usually come to mind—the $20 trillion national debt, economic stagnation, runaway regulation, political correctness and identity politics run amok, unchecked immigration that threatens to work a demographic-political revolution, and confused or unserious policy toward radical Islamic terrorism. These are mere symptoms of a much deeper but poorly understood problem. It can be stated directly in one sentence: Elections no longer change the character of our government."
"...the insidious political character of the 'administrative state,' a phrase once confined chiefly to the ranks of conservative political scientists, but which has broken out into common parlance. It refers not simply to large bureaucracy, but to the way in which the constitutional separation of powers has been steadily eroded by the delegation of more and more lawmaking to a virtual 'fourth branch' of government."
"The premise of the Constitution is that the people should rule. The premise of the administrative state, explicitly expressed by Woodrow Wilson and other Progressive-era theorists, is that experts should rule, in a new administrative form largely sealed off from political influence, i.e., sealed off from the people. At some point, it amounts to government without the consent of the governed, a simple fact that surprisingly few conservative politicians perceive. "
"The salient political fact is this: No matter who wins elections nowadays, the experts in the agencies rule and every day extend their rule further, even under Republican presidents ostensibly committed to resisting this advance. We still nominally choose our rulers, but they don't reflect our majority opinions. No wonder more and more conservatives regard the GOP leadership in Washington as 'collaborationists' with Democrats."
"For most of the last 50 years, nearly all successful presidential candidates, of both parties, have made their principal appeal as outsiders, running against Washington. Even Barack Obama, a sitting senator, ran largely in this mode. Does this not indicate fundamental disharmony between the people and their rulers?"
"In opposition to the slow-motion Progressive assault on self-rule by the people, the conservative establishment has been offering mostly what can be called 'checklist conserv-atism,' i.e., policy ideas with indirect or negligible political effect. What do Progressives stand for? Justice, equality, and the 'right side of history'! What do conserv-atives stand for? More tax cuts, school choice, enterprise zones, a balanced-budget amendment, medical savings accounts, a statutory cost-benefit standard for regulation, and other policy wonkery. All worthy ideas, to be sure, but none of them reach very far to halt the steady unraveling of constitutional government."
"Liberalism today goes beyond wanting to control your pocketbook; it now demands to control how you think. It resembles the state of play that Lincoln noted in his Cooper Union address in 1860—that the South would not be placated by toleration of slavery, but demanded that we ""'cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. . . . Silence will not be tolerated—we must place ourselves avowedly with them.' Just as in 1860, the tacit platform of today's Democratic party is that the Republican party is illegitimate unless Republicans surrender their principles and get on 'the side of history.' "
"More than just a rebuke to political correctness and identity politics, a Trump victory would be, in their eyes, a vehicle for reasserting the sovereignty of the people and withdrawal of consent for the administrative state and the suffocating boundaries of acceptable opinion backing it up. "
"Reagan was more successful in rolling back the Soviet empire than he was in rolling back the domestic government empire chiefly because the latter is a harder problem."
"Trump certainly looks like an example of Caesarism run amok, though he may be better understood as an example of how low our standards have sunk, that someone as crude and ill-equipped as Trump can appear bold and fresh. That Trump can be made out to be the only candidate since Reagan who has represented a fundamental challenge to the status quo puts in stark relief the attenuation of conservative political thought and action over the last 20 years and the near-complete failure of aspiring Republican presidents to marry their ambition to a serious understanding of why the republic is in danger."#politics #election2016 #government #constitution #conservative