The conservative mind

  • Article by: DAVID BROOKS , New York Times News Service
  • Updated: September 25, 2012 - 8:37 PM

Conservatism has lost half of its intellectual firepower. Republicans need to recover traditional conservatism or risk becoming irrelevant.

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mschreursSep. 25, 1211:01 AM

If the Republican party existed as the author described, I would vote more for the Republican party. However, like the author states, one side of the equation has hijacked the party and left the secure base to the Democrats(i.e. Democrats govern towards the social aspect of governing), and hence the reason that I vote more Democrat.

ninetyninerSep. 25, 1211:04 AM

Another good article by Brooks...I think that makes it two that I know of that aren't purposely written to shower kisses on the Republican party. Keep it up Brooks, you're beginning to find your own voice and you're doing the country a good service.

alaskanredSep. 25, 1211:07 AM

Good article, but I think the problem with conservatives is that the social wing has eliminated any need for common sense. You take opinionated talking points as fact while ignoring any flaws in the reasoning, any contradictions with reality and contradictions with other conservative talking points. Social conservatives has had to face many evolutions in our society were bigotry isn't accepted anymore and our social order had to change. Given the chance to take on broader concepts of what should be the new social order that is best for this country... conservatives have found small pockets of old social norms to cling on to that only rehash old fights.

spottedjagSep. 25, 1211:10 AM

Interesting. I'm in my early 20s and I honestly didn't know that mindset had ever existed in the Republican party. I'm a democrat because I don't make over $100,000 a year and have no interest in owning a business. The "traditional" side of conservatism would have something to offer people like me, whereas economic conservatism clearly does not.

ranger1873Sep. 25, 1211:12 AM

"There are very few willing to use government to actively intervene in chaotic neighborhoods, even when 40 percent of American kids are born out of wedlock." -- That's because, Mr. Brooks, it's not an enumerated power of the government. This is just one example. We're at the point, after eighty years of liberal interventionism and Republican acquiescence, where opposition is only thing that can save our fiscal house. That means real conservatism -- consistently applied until the problem is solved. We tried it your way, Mr. Brooks. It didn't work.

gop4cavemenSep. 25, 1211:14 AM

Is it common for the title of a commentary to be an oxymoron?

William F. Buckley, frankly, has to be down under spinning at 7000 RPMs at where so-called conservative "thought" has gone ... well off the tracks.

citizensodSep. 25, 1211:15 AM

The last person to listen to for conservative thinking is David Brooks. The same party he says is irrelevent just swept though the 2010 election and the house of representatives. There are plenty of conservatives that want to pay for social programs. Those programs that are needed. That doesn't mean we want a social welfare country built on government reliance. Big difference Mr. Brooks.

sheprico1Sep. 25, 1211:22 AM

If conservatism has lost half of its intellectual firepower, then surely the leftist/progressive/democrat/socialist/entitlement movement has lost ALL of its intellectual firepower. What new concept in the last ten years has come from the left other then gay rights, class envy, and creating sanctuaries for illegal aliens? (I am sure I forgot something, but hopefully you get my point).

Uncle_SquidSep. 25, 1211:26 AM

Compare Mr. Brooks' assertion that the Republicans have lost touch with America due to their abandonment of traditional family values, against the repeated assertions by the Dems that the Republicans are out of touch with America due to their focus on traditional family values. The truth of the matter is that the State and the family each exert tremendous influence on the young; by paring the role of the State back to its traditional limits, we automatically give more influence back to families. As to Mr. Brooks' assertion that conservatives have abandoned social programs, I can only reply that abandoning programs with a proven track record of failure is nothing to be ashamed of. When coupled with conservatives' support of private charitable programs that offer superior results at a fraction of the cost, and which rely on actual charity as opposed to coercion, the emptiness of Mr. Brooks' criticisms becomes apparent.

kindaliberalSep. 25, 1211:29 AM

Many conservatives just want to take things away from people, limiting personal freedom. Examples: conservatives want to take away the ability of GBLT to marry; conservatives want to take away or limit women's reproductive rights; conservatives want to take away the ability of young Hispanics, who have lived here their whole lives, to remain in the country; conservatives want to make it harder to vote by putting obstacles in people's paths and imposing costs to be eligible to vote; conservatives want to take away the minimum wage; conservatives want to take away the ability of the middle class to negotiate for wages, working conditions and benefits; conservatives want to take away the ability of future legislatures to make law by using the amendment process. More than anything, many conservatives want to return to a time when they and their neighbors looked the same. GBLT people kept quiet about it. Women stayed at home and raised their kids. Men made the important decisions and society revolved around the teachings of their Christian churches. Conservatives can still do many of these things but they don't seem to understand why other people want to live other lifestyles. That's what freedom is all about. You get to choose how you live your life except when it specifically and negatively impacts other people. Too be sure, some of the items listed above could have an economic impact on other people. But, what conservatives want to take away always seems to affect the poor and middle class economically not the wealthy. Good luck with this conservative plan in the future.


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