The Common Good

Conservatism and the Common Good

Source: Commentary
Date: March 28, 2012


In this case, the confusion is that “preferential treatment for the poor” is synonymous with a massive, centralized state. Au contraire. A positive role for government means a limited role for government. I recall a similar debate in the 1990s, when conservatives championed welfare reform over the fierce criticisms of the left. (In effect, the new law ended the legal entitlement to federally funded welfare benefits, imposing a five-year time limit on the receipt of such benefits and requiring a large percentage of current recipients to seek and obtain work.) Liberal religious figures like Jim Wallis said that reforms championed by conservatives would lead to an explosion of poverty and hunger. Millions of innocent children would suffer. What was being proposed was cruel, brutal, Darwinian.