The Corner

Social Conservatism

Jeffrey Bell’s essay on social conservatism in the new Weekly Standard is very well worth your time. What he has to say about the left is at least as interesting as his assessment of the state of the right. It hints at one of the great ironies of modern politics: that the left has tended to argue economics (and all matters material) are more important than culture, while the right often thinks cultural and non-material questions matter more than economics, and yet the left’s greatest successes have been cultural, and the right’s have been economic.

Bell, a writer and crucial behind-the-scenes operator and advisor in conservative politics for decades (and my colleague at the Ethics and Public Policy Center) is working on a book on social conservatism, due out next year. This essay will leave you looking forward to it.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.


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