Policy, Politics:
Rev re "

Interesting rant. But I think you've claimed victory by choosing the battleground. Your list of important social changes worthy of consideration is itself very much from a liberal perspective. I believe there are at least two obvious others which were also achieved, and that can be credited to conservatives. The difference is that liberals don't like them:

1) The USA Superpower. We now have the strongest military in the entire world, and the freedom to act against other nations with impunity. We have even exercised that freedom without armed opposition from the world community. We can join the treaties we like, avoid the ones we don't, and break those we don't like anymore.

2) The Defeat of Communism. Enemy #1 for conservatives since about 1917 (along with anarchism and socialism), much of the story of the 20th Century is the struggle between capitalism and communism, fought quite strenuously on every front: economics, science, military, politics, religion. This entire political philosophy, and the governmental apparatus that supported it, has been discredited. The lone significant holdout, China, has been moving as quickly towards capitalism as a nation of billions reasonably can given the piteous example of Russia's floundering.

On the other hand, one of the most interesting areas that is thoroughly in contention is international trade. The WTO's ability to effectively change the laws of member nations is a huge loss for conservatives, but many of its policies favor the large corporations conservatives support. Liberals delight in the WTO's ability to stomp on the powerful and its process-oriented potential for redistributing wealth, but despise its often corporate-favoring nature. I think the interesting thing about the WTO is that it is neither liberal nor conservative in substance; it is a very turbulent game in which the ball is constantly in play. The small countries traditionally championed by liberals are likely to want policies that liberals oppose. The sides are not at all clearly drawn, shifting from issue to issue, nor need they be, and I think it points the way towards an entirely process-driven politics of the future in which agendas clash within a well-structured marketplace of ideas.

John Tynes
December 2003



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