Paul Mirengoff of PowerLine has been kind enough to reply to my recent essay on the state of modern conservatism. To get the brown-nosing out of the way, I have been an avid reader of PowerLine for years. I thank Mirengoff for taking the time to comment on some of the problems I brought to the fore in my piece and I thank PowerLine for featuring my article in the “Picks” section most of the day Tuesday.
Mirengoff sets up a dichotomy between my argument and one made by Michael Anton (Decius) in a wonderful essay in the inaugural issue of American Affairs. He thinks that examining this dialectic reveals a problem in my argument.
Mirengoff correctly notes that Anton argues upholding the “liberal international order” is “largely instrumental—a means to” the end of serving “American foreign policy interests—peace, prestige, and prosperity.” Similarly, he says I argue “that conservatism too is a means to ends, and must be evaluated based on its ability to deliver.”