David Brin in Evonomics:
Even conservatives now admit that conservatism has changed. Take the Ronald Reagan who Republican activists idolize in abstract; in real life he raised taxes, increased regulations, signed environmental laws, and (worst of all) negotiated countless compromise give-and-take, pragmatic measures in tandem with a Congress run by the other party. As did Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, giants who argued with genteel courtesy and who revered both knowledge and intellect, especially science. Even the most fervid Tea Party aficionado would avow that today’s GOP has little room for such things—as Goldwater and Buckley themselves proclaimed, to their dismay, before they died.
In this analysis, I’d like to focus on one of the directions that conservatism has gone a-wandering. But note first: I’ll try to do this without taking a single position that could fairly be called even slightly left-of center—by the old standards at least.
My entire critique will be from what used to be a completely conservative perspective. You’ll know this by the historical figure whom I cite above all others.
It begins provocatively, with prominent online commentator John Robb, who offers a simple and clearly-correct explanation for the gross mismanagement of the U.S. economy in the first decade of the 21st Century—an appraisal that seems both tragically on-target and stunningly ironic. Ironic in ways I plan to elaborate—and I expect you’ll not look at the hoary old “left-vs-right” axis in the same way, ever again.