In recent years, as the fever grew, conservative voters became desperate for someone who had not played this game of bait-and-switch with them. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
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Today's crisis of conservatism has produced surprisingly few books that try to understand what exactly has happened to the venerable creed. For decades, conservatism was a dominant ideology in the Western world, championed by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. I have long admired Will, who embodies the ideal of thoughtful, learned conservatism.American conservatism, then, is a project that seeks to defend the original philosophy of America's Founding Fathers: classical liberalism, which promotes limited government and the veneration of individual liberty.The problem for Will and for modern conservatism is that, as progressivism rose in the 20th century, the United States became the most powerful, productive and dynamic nation in the world.The fundamental flaw of modern conservatism is that it is unsure whether America today is a fallen republic or an astonishing success story. At its heart is the same saga of a lost utopia that has crippled modern conservatism and damaged American politics.
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