Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance—where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks—the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong . . . . Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself nor make the provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken, . . .
No doubt they’d be shocked to find the passage is found in their favorite anti-socialist tome, F.A.Hayek’sThe Road to Serfdom.
.. Instead, as Thompson notes in his post, the rhetoric of the right reveals that we are more influenced by Ayn Rand than Hayek
.. The libertarians often prop up Hayek as their hero while we traditionalist conservatives like to trot out Edmund Burke. But the truth is the vast majority of the right subscribes to a form of libertarian populism inflected with social conservative attachments—an unholy hybrid of Ayn Rand, William Jennings Bryan, and Morton Downey, Jr.
.. One of the key concepts in this weird era—adopted from Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged— is “Going Galt.” From Tea Party protestors to think-tank intellectuals, folks talk about Going Galt without the slightest hint of irony. The problem is not such much that it’s a silly hollow threat, but that it exemplifies a trait that is prevalent in conservative movement: The embrace of personality driven ideas that are often incompatible with some of our most basic philosophical, religious, or political beliefs.
.. People who would laugh at the absurdity of a “Christian Muslim” seem not to recognize the similar incongruity between being a follower of Christ and an acolyte of Ayn Rand.
.. Despite the fact that these well-meaning conservatives fail to exhibit any discernment about the views they are imbibing, they become terribly offended when you question how they could accept such nonsense.
.. Their defense tends to be based on a variation of a common theme: They don’t actually subscribe to those crazy views (at least not all of them), they just align themselves with a personality that does.
.. These St. Georges slaying the liberal dragons are placed beyond reproach. You are no more allowed to question the right’s preferred cult of personality—CoulterHannityBeckLimbaughPaulLevinRandPalinWhoever—than liberals can challenge Obama. Even thinking contrary thoughts about these figures is enough reason for them to question your conservatism (if not your patriotism, manhood, and love for small animals).
The result is that the conservative movement is becoming increasingly ineffective, insular, and irrational—in other words, we’re becoming the mirror image of the political left.
When Donald Trump knocked first Jeb Bush and then Marco Rubio out of the Republican primary campaign, he defeated not only the candidates themselves but their common theory of what the G.O.P. should be — the idea that the party could essentially recreate George W. Bush’s political program with slightly different domestic policy ideas and recreate Bush’s political majority as well.
.. Now, after knocking Ted Cruz out of the race with a sweeping win in Indiana, Trump has beaten a second theory of where the G.O.P. needs to go from here: a theory you might call True Conservatism.
.. They wanted Reagan, or at least a fantasy version of Reagan? He would give it to them.
It didn’t work — but the truth is it almost did.
.. So give the Texas senator some credit. He took evangelical votes from Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Rick Santorum; he took libertarian votes from Rand Paul; he outlasted and outplayed Marco Rubio; he earned support from Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham, who once joked about his murder. Nobody worked harder; no campaign ran a tighter ship; no candidate was more disciplined.
.. Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all, and that the less frequently evangelicals go to church, the more likely they are to vote for a philandering sybarite instead of a pastor’s son.
.. Trump proved that many of the party’s moderates and establishmentarians hate the thought of a True Conservative nominee even more than they fear handing the nomination to a proto-fascist grotesque with zero political experience and poor impulse control.
.. Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part.
.. Cruz will be back, no doubt. He’s young, he’s indefatigable, and he can claim — and will claim, on the 2020 hustings — that True Conservatism has as yet been left untried.