Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Real Compassionate Conservatism and Intermediary Institutions

From a somewhat lengthy post at RedState, we are given this quote from Arthur Brooks (AEI) who wrote in the WSJ:

...If Republicans and conservatives double down on the promotion of economic growth, job creation and traditional values, Americans might turn away from softheaded concerns about “caring.” Right?

Wrong. As New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has shown in his research on 132,000 Americans, care for the vulnerable is a universal moral concern in the U.S. In his best-selling 2012 book “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” Mr. Haidt demonstrated that citizens across the political spectrum place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak. By contrast, moral values such as sexual purity and respect for authority—to which conservative politicians often give greater emphasis—resonate deeply with only a minority of the population. Raw money arguments, e.g., about the dire effects of the country’s growing entitlement spending, don’t register morally at all....

OK.  Now we switch to Jonah Goldberg:

...As a candidate, Bush distanced himself from the Gingrich “revolutionaries” of the 1994 Congress, and he criticized social conservatives such as Robert Bork, who had written an admittedly uncheery book, Slouching towards Gomorrah. He talked endlessly about what a tough job single mothers have and scolded his fellow conservatives for failing to see that “family values don’t end at the Rio Grande.” As president, he said that “when somebody hurts, government has got to move.” According to compassionate conservatives, reflexive anti-statism on the right is foolish, for there are many important — and conservative — things the state can do right....

Brooks again:

...The left talks a big game about helping the bottom half, but its policies are gradually ruining the economy, which will have catastrophic results once the safety net is no longer affordable. Labyrinthine regulations, punitive taxation and wage distortions destroy the ability to create private-sector jobs. Opportunities for Americans on the bottom to better their station in life are being erased....

Now Medved:

...The American people .... respond to “its morning in America.” They respond to our greatest days are ahead of us not behind us. They respond to the fact that this country is a nation of kindness and optimism. And when it comes to that optimistic spirit that is why the core issue here is not a green eye shade kind of where we have to balance the budget and we have to balance this. It has to be growth. That is what we are talking about. Growing the economy, growing families, growing communities, growing lives we have the right answers. We have the right answers not only for the country, not only for our states, as Arizona is demonstrating, we have the right answers for individuals and for families and for communities and that is what we have to be able to do, If we emphasize appealing to people based on their individual characteristics and decisions not membership in some kind of group...

And finally to the post's author, Bill S:

And that’s what “compassionate conservatism” was supposed to be about…not about “No Child Left Behind” or Medicare Part D.  It was about supporting vulnerable people via charities and other organizations, with a little help from the government.  True “compassionate conservatism” is about empowering charities to help the needy…to enable “little platoons” to assist.

Burke used the term "little platoons" to describe intermediary institutions, churches and schools, clubs and charities that served neighbors.

Too bad the ACLU spiked all that stuff Bush tried with "faith-based initiatives," eh?

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