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Must-read: Can conservatives embrace the state again?

By on July 28, 2012

Francis Fukuyama: “The model for a future American conservatism has been out there for some time: a renewal of the tradition of Alexander Hamilton and Theodore Roosevelt that sees the necessity of a strong if limited state, and that uses state power for the purposes of national revival. The principles it would seek to promote are private property and a competitive market economy; fiscal responsibility; identity and foreign policy based on nation and national interest rather than some global cosmopolitan ideal. But it would see the state as a facilitator rather than an enemy of these objectives.”

“The Republican party has lost sight of the difference between limited government and weak government, reflected in its agenda of cutting money for enforcement capacity of regulators and the IRS, its aversion to taxes of any sort and its failure to see that threats to liberty can come from powerful actors besides the state… If contemporary conservatives could get over their ideological aversion to the state, they would recognise that American government is both necessary and in great need of reform rather than abolition. Private sector companies have undergone huge changes in recent decades, flattening managerial hierarchies, upgrading workforce skills and experimenting ceaselessly with new organisational forms. American government, by contrast, seems trapped in a late 19th-century bureaucratic model of rules and hierarchy. It needs to be smaller but also stronger and more effective. And this will not happen unless people see public service as a calling, rather than a despised occupation for people unable to make it in the private sector.”

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