A return to practical conservatism

Randian purists want to dismantle America's popular entitlement programs. That's impractical — and cruel, to boot

Edward Morrissey

My good friend and The Week colleague Matt Lewis and I have engaged in an ad-hoc symposium of sorts over the last two weeks, launched by the New York Times' Ross Douthat and his initial lament over the disappearance of what he described as the "Catholic view" of American economic thought. Douthat noted that the ground on economic policy had changed considerably since the last papal transition, that it signaled a diminishing influence of the Catholic Church as both political parties moved to the extremes, and that the Republican Party had begun to abandon Thomas Aquinas for Ayn Rand.

Since then, Matt and I have exchanged thoughts on the reasons for the move away from the Catholic center by both parties, the most recent of which was Matt's excellent column yesterday at The Week. In his latest installment, Matt correctly identifies an impulse among conservatives to define themselves as a negation of Barack Obama, leading to a shift toward an extreme, as negations tend to become. However, the impulse for that may have less to do with a genuine philosophical shift than a lack of recourse to actual power to create solutions, and the failure of the Bush-era Republicans to stick to their reform-minded ways of the 1990s.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.