William Voegeli

In all the excitement last week about Romney's "47 percent" speech, I forgot to post a blog item flogging my latest TRB column, about how Romney would screw up the economic recovery. You'll find it here. Also, I recently had a good online discussion about my book The Great Divergence with William Voegeli, who gave it a thoughtful pan in the (conservative) Claremont Review of Books. You'll find that exchange here.

Let’s give Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt: He didn’t really mean it when he said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Or, let’s just say he cares about them no less than he cares about the rest of us.

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Just in case the California Legislature's passage of a landmark water bill earlier this week had convinced you that John Judis is wrong and that things are finally looking up for the Golden State, William Voegeli's essay in the current issue of City Journal might put things back in gloomy perspective.  Voegeli asks a worthwhile question: Given that the overall tax burden in California is fairly high relative to other states (with some complicating factors), why aren't public services like roads, schools, and police in California any better than in low-tax jurisdictions like Texas?  Voegeli's a

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Both Jonah Goldberg and Ross Douthat recommend a Claremont Review of Books essay by William Voegeli on race and American conservatism. The compelling piece does a fine job of tracing the shortcomings of conservatives like William F. Buckley on the issue of civil rights. Voegeli's central intent is to rebut the idea that: Everything that conservatism has accomplished and stood for since 1965—Reagan, the tax revolt, law-and-order, deregulation, the fight against affirmative action, the critique of the welfare state...everything—is the poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree [of racism].

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It's two days old now, but William Voegeli's piece in the Wall Street Journal on conservatism and federal spending is well worth a read. It addresses what is now perhaps the bedrock dilemma for the American center-right: given that there's simply no political constituency for meaningfully shrinking the size of government, is it better for conservatives to make their peace with the welfare state and seek to limit its reach, or recommit to a gratifying (if ultimately likely futile) crusade against its legitimacy in the first place?

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