The Real Realignment

The Real Realignment
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

The United States lacks a properly conservative political party—and that's a good thing.

Political conservatism is a belief in preserving traditional institutions. In Europe, that often means a suspicion of modernity itself and a nostalgia for the monarchy, state church, or aristocracy. But in our context, “tradition” refers paradoxically to the U.S. Constitution, a genuinely revolutionary—and highly modern—document.

Speaker Paul Ryan realized this the hard way last October when he stated on C-SPAN, “I really call myself a classical liberal more than a conservative.” In response, numerous Trump supporters took to the internet to proclaim Ryan had inadvertently outed himself as a big government “liberal.” Yet Ryan was exactly right: conservatism and classical liberalism are very different beasts.

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