by Mario Rizzo
In today’s New York Times David Brooks argues that conservatives need to plan for “the day after tomorrow.” Tomorrow there will be the revolt against out-of-control government and that is good. But the day after America must return to its traditional non-ideological pragmatism about government. We need to solve problems as we find them. Government used in wise ways can be very helpful.
But what are these pragmatic government policies? Was it not one “fix” after another with little thought to the kind of society being created that has produced what we have today. I have no objection to “pragmatism” if it is a far-seeing pragmatism that looks to consequences – both indirect and complex.
The conservative reaction against “ideology” is a total misconception. A “good” ideology is a philosophy that focuses our attention on the long-run, Bastiat’s “unseen,” and the fundamental values of a free society. Most of all, however, it helps us focus on those rules that act to resist the special interests who would undermine the structure of a free society, one issue at a time.
This ideology is classical liberalism. If we truly understand how things went wrong in the over the past many decades, we would see that non-ideological pragmatism does not inspire confidence.