Liberals Who Pine for Conservatives

As a liberal who grew up with, works with, and lives with great people who are conservatives, this piece by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, Jr. speaks volumes about how I feel about them. Which is that conservative voices are an important party of a progressive society. Unfortunately, as Dionne points out, we haven’t seen that kind of conservative in the past year when discussing the current administration or health care reform:

Many who call themselves conservatives propose to cast aside even government programs that have stood the test of time. They seem to imagine a world in which government withers away, a phrase that comes from Friedrich Engels, not Buckley. Or they tie themselves up in unruly contradictions, declaring simultaneously that they are dead-set against government-run health care and passionate defenders of Medicare.

And while modern conservatism has usually supported the market against the state, its oldest and most durable brand understood that the market was an imperfect instrument. True conservatives may give “two cheers for capitalism,” as Irving Kristol put it in the title of one of his books, but never three.

The world and this country desperately needs both liberals and conservatives, but those who truly champion those values and can peacefully and constructively reach a compromise.