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Calling Mr. Dreher


From Rod’s article in today’s Times of London:

Conservatism did not begin with Thatcher or Reagan, whose libertarian philosophies were right for their times but have outlived their usefulness.

We now know that the free market is not enough; that there is, as Cameron has said, such a thing as society. We need to recover what the Romans called pietas. That is, respect for authority, respect for our obligations to family and community, respect for the generations that came before us and which will come after us.

No government can legislate virtue, but governments can make it less onerous for individuals to choose virtue. Conservatives ought to be devising economic and social policies that would make it easier for traditional families, the bedrock of real social stability, to form and stay together — not because it’s nice or nostalgic but because it’s necessary.

This is intriguing. I’m willing to set aside that opening blooper–Reagan was in every sense a conservative, not a libertarian, as his emphasis on traditional moral values demonstrated–to ask a few questions. Just what kinds of economic and social policies are you advocating here, Rod? I suppose it’s obvious that we ought to enact tax relief for stay-at-home moms, to put them on the same footing as mothers who work outside the home, and who may use before-tax money to pay for day care. But aside from that, what have you got in mind?

David Cameron and I are listening.


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