Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution

Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution

Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution

Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution

Excerpt

For conservatives generally and the Republican Party in particular, now is a time of intense soul searching. For the first time in a dozen years, Republicans have lost control of Congress. As a result, they are being forced to reexamine who they are and what they stand for.

It's about time. After all, more than a decade has passed since President Bill Clinton announced in his State of the Union address that "the era of big government is over." Yet, since then, government has grown far bigger and far more intrusive. It spends more, regulates us more, and reaches far more into our daily lives than it did before the Republican Revolution. This growth of government has occurred despite the fact that the Republicans, supposedly the party of smaller government, controlled both houses of Congress from 1994 to 2006 (with the exception of the brief Jim Jeffords interregnum in the Senate) and the presidency since 2000.

Behind this alarming trend stands a variety of factors, including the institutional constraints of governing and the necessities of the war on terror. But no factor has been bigger than the rise of a new brand of conservatism—one that believes big government can be used for conservative ends. It is a conservatism that ridicules F. A. Hayek and Barry Goldwater while embracing Teddy and even Franklin Roosevelt. It has more in common with Ted Kennedy than with Ronald Reagan.

At this point, let me offer a few words on what this book isnot. It is not a discussion of the Bush administration's foreign policy. Numerous studies and critiques already address this most controversial aspect of the Bush presidency. One can hold a variety of views on the wisdom of the Iraq war or Bush's crusade to spread democracy around the world (I personally have my doubts) while still remaining in the mainstream of traditional conservative thought. By the same token, this book will not cover the growing infringements on our civil liberties brought about by the war on terror. The delicate balance between liberty and security deserves a far more detailed and careful . . .

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