So I wake up this morning to find I have won a “Sidney Award,” named for Sidney Hook, for something I wrote that has got me into all kinds of trouble. Unlike the Power Line Prize, I don’t think the Sidney Award comes with any cash. In fact, I think it’s just a figment of David Brooks’s imagination; I don’t think there’s any real award. Anyway, here’s what he says in today’s Times column:
Every year, the Sidney Awards, named for the renowned philosopher Sidney Hook, go out to some of the best magazine essays of the year. Anybody interested in being a better person will click the links to these essays, and read attentively. . .
In this age of self-congratulation, every political movement needs self-criticism. Steven F. Hayward does that favor for conservatism in Breakthrough Journal. He notes that conservatism is failing on its own terms. The conservative base, the white middle class, is experiencing stagnant wages and social decay. Government is bigger than ever.
Hayward offers some suggestions. The Starve the Beast strategy — reducing taxes as a way to induce spending cuts — has failed. Better to adopt a Serve the Check strategy. Confront people with a tax bill that accurately reflects their public spending choices. See what decisions they make then.
Now, the problem is that David Frum also likes my essay, and if this keeps up I might start getting invited to dinner parties. So just to be sure I’m kept off the Georgetown invite list, I’m going to come out for some hard core stuff, like sending poor kids to orphanages. Oh, wait, Newt already did that. How about making poor kids work in schools? Oops, Newt was there first, too. Okay, how about arresting judges. . . oh hell, this is harder than I thought.