I don’t know enough about Ross Douthat to decide if he’s just another slippery young neocon or a potential Garry Wills, unafraid to question his ideology and himself in the face of reason. Still, he crafted an interesting turn of phrase this morning. He critiqued Rand Paul for being a paleoconservative rather than a more acceptable brand of libertarian. I think Douthat has a different idea about what constitutes a paleoconservative than I do, and I think the below definition might be better spread over the whole of the recent conservative movement, particularly those flabby-moraled and intellectually challenged libertarians who think a country can be run by selfishness masquerading as self-sufficiency. Either/or, here’s Douthat’s description. He’s pretty sharp for such a young guy.
Like many outside-the-box thinkers, theyâ€™re good at applying their principles more consistently than your average partisan, but lousy at knowing when to stop. (Hence the tendency to see civil rights legislation as just another unjustified expansion of federal power.)
And like many self-conscious iconoclasts, they tend to drift in ever-more extreme directions, reveling in political incorrectness even as they leave common sense and common decency behind.
If he’s sincere, I wish there were more conservatives like Douthat. On occasion, the other side has good ideas…when they’re not babbling. I’m sure they could say the same about the loyal opposition. Call me a nut, call me a crazy dreamer, but I do believe there’s a middle ground.