The once and future conventional wisdom
How to restore common sense to the political culture

Reuters

People with disabilities rally at the Capitol Building in Washington, September 21, 2011. The group called for congress to avoid cutting Medicaid funding as they look for cuts to the federal budget.

Article Highlights

  • Conservatives are deeply frustrated at the 2012 election’s outcome, after years of work and investment.

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  • President Obama won reelection because his philosophy is in tune with what has become the conventional wisdom.

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  • Refuting the new conventional wisdom is the challenge we face today. @ArthurCBrooks

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The once and future conventional wisdom

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Conservatives are deeply frustrated at the 2012 election’s outcome, after years of work and investment. Some blame the candidate, or the conduct of the campaign; others focus on demographics.

But these explanations are unsatisfactory. President Obama won reelection because his message of resentment against the rich for failing to pay their “fair share” resonated with millions of people of all backgrounds. They were unoffended by the administration’s wholesale embrace of an unreconstructed entitlement state, and they endorsed the idea that government can and should sort out our economic woes.

In short, President Obama won because his philosophy is in tune with what has become the conventional wisdom. Refuting that conventional wisdom is the challenge we face today, and understanding this challenge is the first step in forming a plan for renewal — a plan that does not rely on winning a series of elections or Supreme Court cases, but rather focuses on the establishment, over the coming decade, of a new popular consensus based on the ideas of our Founders, common sense, sound economics, and basic decency.

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About the Author

 

Arthur C.
Brooks
  • Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI.

    Immediately before joining AEI, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship.

    Brooks is the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles on topics including the role of government, fairness, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise. His latest book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise” (2012) was a New York Times bestseller. Among his earlier books are “Gross National Happiness” (2008), “Social Entrepreneurship” (2008), and “Who Really Cares” (2006). Before pursuing his work in public policy, Brooks spent 12 years as a classical musician in the United States and Spain.

    Brooks is a frequent guest on national television and radio talk shows and has been published widely in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    Brooks has a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in policy analysis from RAND Graduate School. He also holds an M.A. in economics from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in economics from Thomas Edison State College.


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