Conservatives love to heap praise on Ronald Reagan, though their mythologizing often masks the hard-fought political battles and compromise that led to his election. Movement conservatives devoted years preparing for that election, preparation that included a conservative cohort in Congress wrecking President Jimmy Carter’s trains and tearing up his rail lines on a daily basis. Their parliamentary warfare was designed for a purpose — every bill defeated was one less law they would have to reverse once Reagan was president.

The difference between 1978-80 and the current warfare is that the earlier generation had a core understanding of what was to come. Reagan and the conservative movement that propelled him had a clear vision of what was needed to revive America, defeat communism and reform government. Reagan was able to articulate that vision in a way that resonated with a majority of the nation not because he had a handful of focus-grouped magic phrases but because his rhetoric conveyed an actual political and cultural vision grounded in a concrete conservative philosophy.

The current Republican “leadership” offers no vision because it is no longer grounded in the conservative tradition. Those leaders’ only vision is further disruption. There is nothing conservative about this. In fact, it smacks more of leftist anarchy. Great conservative thinkers like Friedrich A. Hayek, for example, were championed by Reagan and Margaret Thatcher precisely because they sought to create order out of chaos.