|“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.” – President Eisenhower|
The recent government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff have deepened and illuminated the most important division within conservatism, that between the pragmatists and the radicals. The latter were only too happy to use any means necessary – even the threat of economic conflagration – to slay the monsters of Obamacare and debt, while the pragmatists understood that political battles are won with more than the simple iron resolve that moral certainty bestows. That is, the radicals have jettisoned pragmatic considerations almost entirely, as if process and outcome were dirty words, corruptions that only inhibit the full manly functioning of righteous moral strength. How can you compromise when your enemy is the socialist vanguard pointing like a dagger at the heart of Americanism? But alas, the real world – a Democratic Senate and president, an anxious business community, an unconvinced public – turned out to be less than tractable to idealistic holy war. As the pragmatists perceived all along, bravado has its limitations.