NR Digital

Right Reforms

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Liberalism is not the future of conservatism

Liberals are taking the publication of a new collection of essays by conservatives as an occasion to diagnose what ails the Right. The favor should be returned. Liberalism’s reaction to the rise of “reform conservatism” shows us one of its great flaws: an unwarranted confidence in its own basic intellectual health.

“Reform conservatism” is the label that has been attached to a group of writers who believe that the conservative agenda needs to be updated and broadened: that conservative reforms to the nation’s tax code, health-care system, higher-education policies, and safety net, among other institutions, would make it easier for the American middle class to grow and thrive, and that offering such reforms would make it easier for conservatism to grow and thrive. In May, the YG Network, a conservative group, published Room to Grow, a book presenting such an agenda. (I contributed an essay to it, and my wife, who works for that group, ran the project.)

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