Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

What Compassionate Conservatism Could Be

Philosophy News image
The old conservative ideology held that low taxes on the rich were essential for economic growth, the benefits would "trickle down" to help everyone, and private charity could step in to help should any of the "deserving poor" somehow be left by the wayside.  But trickle-down economics is now widely discredited, and the extraordinary levels of inequality found in the US are becoming harder to defend. One option for economic conservatives is to just change the subject: ramp up racial animus and other cultural tensions to distract from one's continued attempts to rework the economy in ways that serve only the wealthiest individuals.  That seems pretty evil to me, but it sadly seems to be the way that many are going these days.  Sad realities aside, though, I'm interested in whether there's logical space for a more intellectually and morally ambitious form of conservatism that could provide a worthwhile counterpoint to (e.g.) Elizabeth Warren's ambitious liberalism.I think there could be, though it would look very different from what conservatives defend today.  I think there could be a worthwhile form of (genuinely) compassionate conservatism that began by appreciating liberal critiques of radical wealth inequality, and the need for redistributive taxation, but that responds by offering an alternative -- "small government" -- solution of what to do with the raised funds. Rather than tasking untrustworthy politicians with solving society's problems, and creating high-stakes political conflicts over the form taken by the big-government "solution", compassionate conservatives could decentralize public spending by disbursing philanthropic vouchers back to voters, who then each direct their own share of the public purse to whatever non-profit organization(s) they deemed best.This proposal has many virtues that I think should appeal to (genuinely) compassionate conservatives.  It would revitalize civil society and the non-profit. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Philosophy, et cetera

blog comments powered by Disqus