What did the “father of modern economics,” Adam Smith, actually think about slavery?
Learning the Wrong Lessons from Reform Conservatism
Despite titling their recent essay for National Review “The Next Coalition of the Right,” Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru are less focused on the future than on the past. Levin and Ponnuru were leading lights of “reform conservatism,” an intellectual and political movement now deceased. Their essay is a postmortem of sorts: It sets forth an explanation for why the reformocon attempts to redefine the conservative agenda failed, and seeks to draw lessons from this failure for the future. The trouble: Levin and Ponnuru have learned the wrong lessons from the fall of their movement. At the zenith of the reformocon moment, reformocons were fiercely critical of the Republican establishment for mistaking the problems of the present with the problems of the past. Now the mandala has turned: Today it is the reformocons themselves who are trapped in the lens of a generation out of date.
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