Peter Berkowitz on the “common-good” conservatism debate

I’ve written a few posts about common-good/national conservatism and its challenge to the mainstream conservative movement as it has existed since the 1960s. Two of these posts are basically summaries of presentations in a forum hosted by The New Criterion. Among other things, my posts summarized the lead, anti-common-good conservatism piece by Kim Holmes and a rebuttal by Josh Hammer.

Peter Berkowitz covers this ground in an article called “The Debate Over ‘Common-Good Conservatism.'” Peter is better equipped to write astutely about that debate than I am, so I’m glad his main conclusions are similar to mine.

One of the grounds presented by some common-good conservatives for rejecting the traditional conservative approach is that the contemporary, “neo Marxist” left poses a new kind of challenge to America. Traditional conservatism, though adequate for combatting Soviet communism, is said to be unable to cope with the threat of militant wokeism. (See the address by David Hazony at the end of this post, for example.)

I question whether that is so. There is nothing I can think of in the woke program — whether it’s men competing against or sharing restrooms with women, restrictions on religious freedom, divvying up benefits and burdens by race, or teaching that America’s history is predominantly evil — that traditional conservatives wouldn’t and don’t vigorously oppose.

Maybe it’s a question of how far to go in opposing these things. My view of traditional conservatives is that they would fight like hell to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in high school, for example, but would not try to prohibit elective courses in colleges and law schools that teach CRT.

Would common-good conservatives try to ban such courses from being taught at that level? If so, I’m with the traditional conservatives on this one.

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