The most important thing I learned from Kesler’s book is just how large a stake conservatives have in convincing themselves and voters that Reagan failed. Think about it: if they conceded ideological victory they would have to confront the more prosaic reasons that entitlements, deficits and regulations continue to grow in Republican and Democratic administrations alike. They would be forced to devise a new, forward-looking agenda to benefit even their own constituencies, like ensuring that American business can draw on an educated, healthy work force; can rely on modern public infrastructure; and can count on stable, transparent financial markets. And they would have to articulate a conservative vision for those welfare state programs that are likely to remain with us, like disability insurance, food stamps and Head Start.

Mark Lilla, The Great Disconnect –


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