How Can Conservatism Better Allay the Economic Fears of Working-Class and Middle-Class Americans? A Symposium
How Can Conservatism Better Allay the Economic Fears of Working-Class and Middle-Class Americans? is the third in a current series of American Experiment symposia aimed at vitalizing conservatism in Minnesota and the nation. The anti-collectivist troika kicked off with 40 brief essays in What Does It Mean to be an Urban Conservative? shortly after conservatives got whomped in November 2006. It accelerated in the months leading up to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last summer with 29 pointed pieces in Learning from Lincoln: Principle and Pragmatism: Getting the Balance Right. And it’s now punctuated, in the aftermath of a second whomping on Election Night 2008, along with associated economic troubles and agonies, by the 33 columns featured here.
In all, the three collections contain more than 100 critiques of often widely divergent mind about conservatism’s current and potential states – but that’s exactly the eclectically purposeful point. American conservatism will rise again; of this there’s no doubt. But in order to assure that it has intellectually substantial and compelling things to offer when it does return, full-throated, virtually all ideas and approaches must be openly examined. No “my ideological way or the highway” allowed. Or as my friend Heather Mac Donald recently wrote in City Journal in a different context: “The public good is best served by giving maximum freedom to the creative spirit.”
Actually, conservatism may revive with unexpected, double-jet speed if Washington continues passing trillion-dollar bills without reading them first. But even if this comes about, serious self-study and policy imagination will remain advisable.
How do our 34 participants (one piece is coauthored) propose to lessen economic anxieties?