As it says at the end of his Washington post article today, "Steven F. Hayward is the F.K. Weyerhaeuser fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of 'The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution, 1980-1989.'" You can tell he's an intellectual type when he says things like this:
The single largest defect of modern conservatism, in my mind, is its insufficient ability to challenge liberalism at the intellectual level, in particular over the meaning and nature of progress. In response to the left's belief in political solutions for everything, the right must do better than merely invoking "markets" and "liberty."
The brain waves of the American right continue to be erratic, when they are not flat-lining.
Pretty good, so far. But let's face it, Hayward is just one more faux-conservative Republican tool. His man-crush on the late Ronald Reagan is huge; so much so, his "The Age of Reagan," is a two volume set, with each volume weighing in at about 750 pages.
It's not worth the effort to pin-point exactly where he loses it in this article, and I don't have the patience to give him the FJM treament. So you'll have to settle for some snarky criticism.
Yet it was not enough just to expose liberalism's weakness; it was also necessary to offer robust alternatives for both foreign and domestic policy, ideas that came to fruition in the Reagan years.
Ah, yes - that Reagan fruition. A wonderful thing - if you ignore the facts.
About the only recent successful title that harkens back to the older intellectual style is Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," which argues that modern liberalism has much more in common with European fascism than conservatism has ever had. But because it deployed the incendiary f-word, the book was perceived as a mood-of-the-moment populist work, even though I predict that it will have a long shelf life as a serious work.
This is . . . well - deep. Goldberg's "serious work' has been discredited by thoughtful critics, including several on the right.
But wait, there's more. He says of Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption," Glenn Beck's "Arguing with Idiots" and "all of Ann Coulter's well-calculated provocations" that,
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these books.
Thus reiterating what we all know - that cherry-picking, special pleading, sophistry, all manner of lies and bat-shit insanity are not "intrinsically wrong" as long as they are put forth by "conservatives."
To wrap it up, after saying this, about the recovering alcohol and substance abuser Glen Beck:
His on-air weepiness is unmanly, his flirtation with conspiracy theories a debilitating dead-end, and his judgments sometimes loopy (McCain worse than Obama?) or just plain counterproductive (such as his convoluted charge that Obama is a racist).
He says this, about the new-found hero of the right, Glen Beck.
But he's on to something with his interest in serious analysis of liberalism's patrimony. The left is enraged with Beck's scandal-mongering over Van Jones and ACORN, but they have no idea that he poses a much bigger threat than that. If more conservative talkers took up the theme of challenging liberalism's bedrock assumptions the way Beck does from time to time, liberals would have to defend their problematic premises more often.
My dozen or so loyal readers probably already know what I think about the intellectual foundations of conservatism. Yes, let's have The Right challenge liberalism's bedrock assumptions. Please.