David Frum’s latest repackaging of conservatism—for the New York Times
David Frum, in a New York Times op-ed column (accompanied by a cartoon of a furious and bigoted looking white male conservative), informs each of the three types of conservatives what compromises they must make to form a winning conservative coalition. Here’s the one part I like:
[F]oreign-policy conservatives [i.e., universalist democracy spreaders like Frum] must recognize that crucial blocs of voters have wrongly but unmistakably put 9/11 behind them…. Uncontrolled immigration has replaced weapons of mass destruction as the supreme security concern.Well, Frum is nothing if not flexible. That’s the co-author of the book with the most utopian title in the history of books, The End of Evil, telling his fellow neocons to stop spreading American-style democracy to Muslims and start defending America from invasion.
But here are the two parts I don’t like:
[E]conomic conservatives must learn to talk about health care with the same urgency, passion and detail that they are accustomed to bringing to taxes and over-regulation….Again, Frum is nothing if not flexible. That’s the author of Dead Right, a paleocon-style call for a return to small government and the self-reliant American character of the 19th century, telling us we must accept some mandated universal health insurance scheme and thus the beginnings of socialized medicine in this country. And once we are on that road, there will be no turning back until we become creatures of the state—unfree, demoralized Eloi like the inhabitants of every other so-called Western democracy.
And finally this:
Social traditionalists too need to adapt to new realities. Opposition to same-sex marriage is dwindling….Once again, Frum is nothing is not flexible. That’s a long-time opponent of homosexual “marriage” instructing us to “adapt to new realities,” by dropping all opposition to the most perverted social innovation in the history of the human race.
Now, in Frum’s proposed Grand Compromise each of the three conservative factions is supposed to let go of things it dearly cares about in order to reconcile itself with the other two factions. However, there is one political faction, not mentioned in the article, which gets several things it dearly desires from Frum’s deal and hardly gives up anything—and that is the left. The left gets the termination of Bush’s foreign policy, it gets conservative acceptance of the beginnings of socialized medicine, and it gets conservative support for homosexual marriage. Quite a day’s haul. The only thing the left doesn’t get is conservative acceptance of open borders. But even the left can’t expect to get everything it wants at once.
Thus Frum’s call for conservatives to compromise with each other is really a call for conservatives to abandon conservatism.