Symposium

What's Next in the War Against Liberalism?

Liberalism is entering its twilight years. Intellectually discredited, morally bankrupt, and rapidly losing its grip on political power - the Progressive ideology that produced communism and fascism, as well as the modern welfare nanny state, has finally exhausted the reserves that gave it life. In short, it's a spent force.

This does not mean that Liberalism will go quietly. Rather, it's much more likely that it will end, not with a whimper, but a bang - a Liberal Supernova. Desperation is a powerful force. Thus, Liberalism's last fits and gasps can be expected to become more irrational and aggressive as it nears its end.

This is not a cause for celebration, but a call to arms. Nothing is inevitable in history. Conservatism must go on the offensive to counter the coming wave of attacks. A revitalized Conservatism must continue to defend the permanent things, but also confront its intellectual adversaries. Conservative historical revisionism, new ideas and policy proposals, investigative journalism, and a better appreciation and radical devotion to our nation's founding principles are required to triumph in the coming ideological struggle. The goal is to demolish the failed Liberal experiment of the last century root and branch, and replace it with a modern Conservatism.

So, let's begin to discuss and debate the ideas, principles, and future course of Conservative thought. Broadside Books has assembled some of the leading thinkers and doers of the conservative movement for a symposium to identify Liberalism's greatest vulnerabilities and determine where and how to wage the War Against Liberalism. The symposium seeks to answer one significant question:

Where and how should Conservatives attack Liberalism next?
  • Charles Kesler, Claremont Institute

    Jul 05, 2011

    Federal entitlement programs have to be reformed, as almost everyone now admits, but the need for reform provides conservatives with a great opportunity to expose liberalism's illusions and half-truths.    Social Security, Medicare, and similar programs depend on certain moral and economic assumptions.  It's the latter that have come under heavy assault since the financial meltdown of 2008-9.  Everyone knew vaguely that entitlements lacked a sound actuarial basis, that they were slowly go [...]

  • Herb London, Hudson Institute

    Jul 05, 2011

    The most popular American textbook on our national history is A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn.  Zinn, driven by ideological fervor, creates the impression the U.S. is a colonialist power driven by an expansionist impulse and relying on racist instincts.  This view of the U.S., captured in the film “Good Will Hunting,” is embraced by many on the left who assume America’s exceptionalism is driven by a belief in domination and exploitation.  While there are wart [...]

  • Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated radio host and columnist

    Jul 05, 2011

    Attack the Left on Moral Grounds The Left is more certain about their goodness, their “higher moral ground,” as they often refer to it, than about anything else. That is why it is critical to attack liberalism on moral grounds. Some examples: 1. The Left has labeled the war in Vietnam “immoral” since the 1960s -- not simply mistaken, but immoral. But why? Why was the Vietnam War immoral? How could fighting for liberty against totalitarian tyranny ever be derided as immoral? [...]

  • Elizabeth Nickson, journalist

    Jul 05, 2011

    Liberalism is no more vulnerable, nor are its results more ruinous than in the miserable state of America’s rural people. America’s richest foundations, together with Big Green, a collection of powerful environmental NGO’s spend tens of billions every year mothballing millions of acres of once productive land, having already set aside an area three times the size of Texas in the States, and the equivalent of the continent of Africa in the developing world.  In the 70‘s, at the behest [...]

  • Michael Flynn, Big Government

    Jul 05, 2011

    The Public Sector, Inc.  The famous philosopher Pogo once observed, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Reviewing the greatest threat to liberty today, I offer a corollary; “We have met the enemy and we are paying for him.”  Our liberty is challenged not so much by political forces as institutional ones. Until we begin dismantling the racket that is Public Sector, Inc., we will never again enjoy the liberties and freedoms our grandparents took for granted.  The current budget [...]

  • Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum

    Jul 05, 2011

    The University Front Push back in the university. The past century has seen institutions of higher learning dominated first by liberals and then by leftists. While this chokehold continues and perhaps even increases, there are also signs of decay as the academic left stumbles and finds itself increasingly criticized, even ridiculed. In particular, three points encourage me to think change is possible: First, conservatives are ever more intellectual and skilled, ready to develop and argue f [...]

  • Roger Simon, Pajamas Media

    Jul 05, 2011

    Towards a Conservative Popular Culture Harry Stein couldn't be more correct that it is more necessary than ever for conservatives and libertarians to make their presences felt in arts and entertainment.  Liberalism dominates our culture to such an extraordinary extent that often we barely notice, even those of us who write screenplays.  It's the air we breathe, an ideologically polluted air that is gradually  corrupting our youth and destroying our society.  Fixing this, however, is no [...]

  • Fred Siegel, Manhattan Institute

    Jul 05, 2011

    Liberals have evidenced an extraordinary incapacity to re-evaluate their commitments.  Liberals like to depict themselves are governed by reason and evidence.  But political self-interest almost always governs the day.        The liberal policies which emerged from the utopian aspirations of the 1960s have played out with dystopian and inegalitarian effects.  The 1960s saw a series of disastrous policy choices which, for liberals, have never merited re-examination.  The rise of the [...]

  • Yuval Levin, National Affairs

    Jun 29, 2011

    The last few years have seen an extraordinary resurgence on the left of what Friedrich Hayek called "the fatal conceit"-the idea that central managers can have enough knowledge and wisdom to govern the minute details of our lives for us.  At the center of the health-care debate is the question of whether economic efficiency is best achieved by market forces and open competition or by an expert board of rationers. At the heart of the dispute about financial regulation is the question of wheth [...]

  • Marvin Olasky, WORLD Magazine

    Jun 29, 2011

    Where and how should conservatives next attack liberalism?  Liberalism appeals to many young Christians because the Bible says we are to care for the poor and the marginalized, and we are to care about injustice and the environment.  Liberals talk a good game in these areas but their solutions don’t work and often create new problems. Conservatives have two tasks. First, we need to show that government programs don’t work but decentralized, free market, and civil society alternatives [...]

  • Jay Cost, The Weekly Standard

    Jun 29, 2011

    The history of American political discourse has been written almost entirely by academics and pundits in the liberal/progressive tradition of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. This is evident from even a cursory reading of American history -- wherein conservative leaders and ideas are often described with pejorative adjectives like "extreme," "hard," "arch-," "virulent" and so on, while liberal leaders and ideas are often described as "brave," "far-sighted," and "spirited."  As annoying [...]

  • Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

    Jun 29, 2011

    Follow the money.  And then cut it off.  Many of the most anti-liberty activities of state and local governments are driven by federal funding -- either direct funding, or grants.  (I was talking to a lawyer downtown not long ago who told me that the local police were engaging in shady DUI busts because they get federal grant money that's based on arrests, not convictions.)  There are a lot of these out there, and pro-liberty activists should identify a few and then urge members of Congress [...]

  • David N. Bossie, Citizens United

    Jun 29, 2011

    America is a center right nation that has consistently rejected the socialist European (liberal) style of government which, at its core, means bigger government, more spending, and higher taxes.  To best win the ideological war, Conservatives must make the connection clear between liberal fealties to these unpopular and un-American positions and the diminished state of our country which, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, 64 percent of voters say is on the wrong track.  It is no coincidence [...]

  • Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks

    Jun 29, 2011

    Freedom Is Our Strategy How is it that millions of people located in disparate places -- each individual with unique knowledge of their community and circumstances -- can voluntarily cooperate and coordinate plans to create something far greater and more valued than any one individual could have done alone?  The answer is freedom.   I am describing the miracle of the market, what Nobel Laureate economist F.A. Hayek called the spontaneous order.  The basis of Hayek’s critique of central [...]

  • Thomas A. Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste

    Jun 29, 2011

    Where and how should conservatives next attack Liberalism?  Americans know that government is too big and elected officials everywhere are spending too much.  Taxpayers know that cutting back on wasteful and unnecessary programs and reforming entitlements are necessary to prevent the country from going bankrupt.   Conservatives will win the battle of ideas by communicating their vision better than liberals, who are very good at using irrational and emotional appeals to overcome logical [...]


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