Conservatives should support as much state as is necessary, but always hope for as little as is possible

David Brooks is on fire at the moment. He is the best communicator of the Conservative soul.

“If I were given a few minutes with the Republican billionaires, I’d say: spend less money on marketing and more on product development. Spend less on “super PACs” and more on research. Find people who can shift the debate away from the abstract frameworks — like Big Government vs. Small Government. Find people who can go out with notebooks and study specific, grounded everyday problems: what exactly does it take these days to rise? What exactly happens to the ambitious kid in Akron at each stage of life in this new economy? What are the best ways to rouse ambition and open fields of opportunity?

Don’t get hung up on whether the federal government is 20 percent or 22 percent of G.D.P. Let Democrats be the party of security, defending the 20th-century welfare state. Be the party that celebrates work and inflames enterprise. Use any tool, public or private, to help people transform their lives.”

Conservatism must be about maintaining balance in society. The only way balance can be maintained is by being open to the widest variety of solutions. The state can make a positive difference to people’s lives. Capitalism does not always distribute wealth fairly. The free market on its own doesn’t ensure fair outcomes. The globalised economy relies more on local structures than it would like to admit. Businesses have moral obligations beyond making a profit. Conservatives should not be afraid to say these things, nor should they avoid the means of achieving best possible outcomes because the solution doesn’t fit into an ideological straight jacket.

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