David B. Frisk

David B. Frisk, a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute, is the author of If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement.

Don’t Take the Benedict Option

Professor Goldman begins his Liberty Forum essay by urging a striking, but probably unworkable, reconception of the fundamental divide in conservative ranks. Rather than “the familiar distinctions between libertarianism and traditionalism, neoconservatism and paleoconservatism,” he proposes, it’s a conflict between “liberalism and reaction.” Reaction—meaning reactionary politics such as Trumpism—is, according to Goldman, not easily compatible with classical liberalism. So the people who have been known as conservatives are splitting in two, as Never Trumpers roundly reject the style, and much of the content, of our new President’s politics. They are choosing to stick with limited government, constitutionalism, and—here Goldman makes one…

Read More

More Responses

Creative Tension, Not Crack-Up

Samuel Goldman has written a bracing Liberty Forum essay suggesting that the Right side of the political spectrum is split, perhaps hopelessly and irrevocably, between classical liberalism and reaction. The roots of the divide are deep and enduring but what brings the problem into bold relief is our political moment and, above all, the rise…

Read More

Freedom Might Well Flourish Even If Conservatives Don’t

Samuel Goldman has written a wide-ranging and thought-provoking Liberty Forum essay on the current sorry state of American conservatism. This sorry state is especially sorry for those of us who, like Dr. Goldman, believe that classical liberalism is the best part of American conservatism. It is an assessment, he says in conclusion, which he hopes…

Read More

Critiquing the Administrative State Is Natural

Samuel Goldman has made a stimulating contribution to our political discussions. “What is the Future of Conservatism?” is thoughtful and thought-provoking. In light of the feud between Never Trump conservatives and Trump-supporting conservatives, it is well worth pondering if Goldman is right that we are witnessing a conservative “crack up.” This concern is not new. He…

Read More

Brokering the Battle of Ideas

Meeting Of The Minds

A political movement’s success must be judged ultimately by how much change it causes, or prevents, in society. The Right has been greatly frustrated in this respect by the fact that the presidency seems unattainable by any serious conservative not named Ronald Reagan.

Read More

Conservative Crack-up(s)

Audio, seismic or stock market green wave diagram

The timing of George Hawley’s book is almost perfect. Questions raised over the past decade about the conservative movement’s survival have never been more pressing. Indeed, developments in the 2016 presidential campaign, combined with now-undeniable demographic, cultural, and sociological trends running against the Republican Party, may have shifted the burden of proof from naysayers onto anyone who is more optimistic.

Read More

Metamorphoses

Screenshot (39)

Exit Right is a series of psychologically acute portraits of American intellectuals, two of them still living and active, who abandoned communist, Leftist, or strongly liberal identities and became known as conservatives. Author Daniel Oppenheimer’s purpose is not to break new ground by more fully documenting, or reinterpreting, their transitions, but to bring them to life for the general reader. He aims to show the diverse ways in which dogmatically held ideology can yield to caveats, doubts, and ultimately a new political stance. These evolutions are worth pondering, he says, because they help us to grasp the uncertainty of apparently entrenched political…

Read More