Social Welfare Conservatism

In his October 31 Washington Post op-ed, “Open-Arms Conservatism,” Michael Gerson argued that “the Republican Party is in the midst of an ideological identity crisis.” Perhaps because of his experiences within the Bush administration, Gerson falsely portrayed the choice as between libertarianism (or “anti-government conservatism”) and the “social teachings of the Jewish and Christian traditions,” arguing that the former ignores the plight of the most disadvantaged. But that misunderstands the nature of the true conservative’s reluctance to rush headlong into large, new government programs.

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