Today the remnants of the former conservative movement are scattered. They simply have nothing in common with one another. First Things, the magazine founded by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to promote cooperation between Catholics, Protestants, and Jews on questions of social importance and to defend liberal democracy, runs essays in support of monarchy and the establishment of the Catholic Church as the state religion and against free-market absolutism. Reason magazine thinks that the rights of pornographers and white supremacists are in need of safeguarding. The editors of National Review continue to expound idealist views about political economy that have as much to do with the concrete realities of the distribution of goods and services as a polite game of chess does with the Battle of Gettysburg. With no common enemy in the Soviet Union and no Democratic president threatening any of their overlapping, if not shared, priorities — the “sanctity” of marriage when no-fault divorce is available in all 50 states, the rights of tycoons to construct pipelines, the looming problem of a national debt that is never going to disappear — they have no reason to cooperate with one another.
How long will it be before the “conservative” label itself disappears?