Trump isn’t the only one who says things used to be better.
This week, the National Review published a statement to Catholics opposing Donald Trump’s campaign for president. Authored by right-wing eminences George Weigel and Robert George, and cosigned by an impressive list of Catholic intellectuals and leaders, the document joins a body of anti-Trump literature that is coming into its own stentorian rhetorical conventions.
Public and private efforts to meet human need aren't squared off in a zero-sum game. And there's more than enough work to go around.
E. J. Dionne—probably my favorite big-daily columnist—thinks liberals need to make a direct, full-throated defense of government: If progressives do not speak out plainly on behalf of government, they will be disadvantaged throughout the election-year debate. Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election owed to many factors, including his overwhelming financial edge. But he was also helped by the continuing power of the conservative anti-government idea in our discourse. An energetic argument on one side will be defeated only by an energetic argument on the other. Hmm. I share Dionne's frustration with the success of anti-government conservatism in recent years, as well as the positive view he goes on to present of government's singular role in stimulating the economy and creating jobs (the main policy focus of his column). But more generally, I'm not convinced that the answer is to match anti-government attacks with equally fierce pro-government rebuttals.
Whatever Rick Santorum's fate in the New Hampshire primary today, his near win in the Iowa caucuses inspired columnists Michael Gerson and David Brooks to burnish the candidate's image not only as champion of the family and conservative Christianity but as a political thinker. Santorum, they argued, is shaped by Catholic social teachings and in particular by the Catholic principle of subsidiarity.