I’ve got a review in today’s New York Post of Andrew Sullivan’s new book, The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How To Get It Back. A brief excerpt:
The “conservatism I grew up with,” notes Sullivan, stood for “lower taxes, less government spending, freer trade, freer markets, individual liberty, personal responsibility and a strong anti-communist foreign policy.” Defining figures such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher spoke regularly of human freedom as the great aim of political life. “It has long been a fundamental conviction of the Republican Party,” declared the 1980 GOP platform, “that government should foster in our society a climate of maximum individual liberty and freedom of choice.”
Somehow from there we arrived at the presidency of George W. Bush, whose pronouncement on the state’s proper role – “When someone hurts, government has got to move” – owes more to LBJ than to Barry Goldwater.
Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum brusquely waves aside “this whole idea of personal autonomy,” this “idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do.” Ex-Democrats of the McGovern-Dukakis era once popularized the line “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me”; if the Santorums prosper, plenty of old-line Republicans will be ready to sing the same refrain.