Conservatism in the 20th Century - Did it Really Exist?

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Ben Cohen
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Laura Ingraham makes the following assertion about Conservatism:

It's now obvious the country didn't move left alongside Obama's
ascendancy. The pundits and intellectuals who delivered election night
eulogies to conservatism owe the public, and their own credibility, one
big mea culpa. Conservatism is the most influential political
philosophy of the past 100 years because it's built upon essential
truths.

Ingraham of course, is talking nonsense. Whether or not Conservatism is built on 'essential truths' is besides the point, because we haven't really seen it. True Conservatism is built on the philosophy of small government, free markets and personal freedoms. The Republican party has been the party of big business, huge state interference in the market (just look at the military industrial complex), and the security state (the Patriot Act).

Andrew Sullivan writes:

The past 100 years? I don't know any Hooverites who think the last
century was a triumph for small government and individual liberty. Look
at the size of government since 1909. Look at the level of taxation.
Look at the welfare state. Look at racial civil rights. Look at the
role of women. The West is immeasurably more statist than it was a
hundred years ago, and even the most dramatic counter-revolutionaries,
such as Reagan and Thatcher, did very little to alter the contours of
the state. The Bush Republicans implemented the biggest expansion of
government power, debt and spending since LBJ.

Ingraham isn't exactly the go-to girl for intellectual Conservatism, but she uses a lot of clever words and seems to generally speak for the majority of Republicans in the U.S. It just goes to show that party politics is about cheer leading rather than policy.