Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Rand Rose?

Matt Lewis offers some interesting thoughts on why Randian thought has risen on the right---at the expense of certain kinds of conservative traditionalism:
But in recent years, additions to the movement have largely served as a backlash against the family values stressed by this Judeo-Christian coalition.
After 9-11, a lot of Americans were shocked out of their reverie — and into the conservative movement. Some of these folks have gone on to play key leadership roles in conservatism. This is fine, in and of itself. But being conservative is about more than being anti-terror.
The election of Barack Obama, coupled with a huge debt and the stimulus, led to the rise of the tea party movement — bringing a lot of new activists into the fight. But despite the fact that many of these same tea party members were also Christians, there is little doubt that the movement adopted a much more Randian ethos.
Because politicians eventually adapt to please their base, some Republicans adapted to this new brand of conservatism with a little bit too much gusto. And so you had Mitt Romney making “you didn’t build that” the theme of the convention. And, of course, there was the “47 percent”…
To be sure, this message plays very well within the base of the movement. But if it were possible to make conservatism even less appealing to average Americans (not to mention Hispanics), overemphasizing the rugged individualism aspect of conservatism, and downplaying its communitarian aspect, was the coup de grĂ¢ce.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Immigration Conflicts

In The Daily Caller, I explore how a poorly designed immigration bill could harm the GOP's reinvention:
One of the central issues confronting Republicans after 2012 is how to reinvent the GOP to make it a more viable national political force. This need for a GOP reinvention or at least restoration is in the background of the contemporary debate over comprehensive immigration reform, including the recent Senate “Gang of 8″ proposal. Republican advocates of “comprehensive immigration reform” often argue that such reform would be a necessary step toward political modernization. However, there are also many reasons to believe that a poorly designed immigration bill could actually get in the way of Republican renewal. There is an increasing awareness on the part of many analysts that the hollowing out of the economic middle is deeply connected to the current long-term stagnation, and a growing segment on the right has found that middle-class restoration could be key to restoring the vitality of both the and conservatism. It seems hard for Republicans to be the party both of middle-class renewal and of unlimited (and government-subsidized) cheap labor. The GOP has perhaps far more long-term viability in advocating the former position, but a flawed immigration bill could easily lead to the latter scenario.
Read the rest here.

Mickey Kaus also reflects on the effects of an amnesty on American employment and wages.