Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Field Guide to Conservatives

David Brooks goes looking for the next batch of big thinkers in the conservative wilderness.

First he spots the Paleoconservatives lurking in the underbrush, keeping a wary eye on the Lower-Middle Reformists.  And look, over there is nest of Soft Libertarians — aren’t they adorable with their tiny little open minds — who are gently trying the coax the Burkean Revivalists down from the limb they’ve been sawing off for a century or so.  Yes, it’s a miracle of nature that these hardy creatures have survived so well after that big storm a couple of weeks ago that threatened to blow them into the next county.

And, as Mr. Brooks noticed, a lot of them do not bear such names as the American Robin (Turdus migratorius), but go by such exotic cognomens as Reihan, Ramesh, Yuval and Derek Khanna.  Are these invasive species something to worry about, or is it new blood that can reinvigorate the biosphere?

This kind of diversity isn’t limited to the conservatives.  A cursory glance at the liberal side of the meadow reveals the DFH’s grooving along with the Limousine Liberals while the Socialists and the Grumpy Iconoclasts do their own thing.  There are no monoliths in politics (except for Mitt Romney’s hair), and every party cycles its species through stages ranging from feral to bordering on extinct.  Right now it’s the conservatives who are looking for their winter nesting ground; the next time it could be the liberals, just as they did after 1972 and 1988.

To bring this metaphor to a merciful close (and extend heartfelt apologies to the legacy of Roger Tory Peterson), nature seeks a balance, and no matter what you do, it always gets its way.

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