Dreams of Their Fathers
To Promote the General Welfare:
The Case for Big Government
Edited by Steven Conn
Oxford University Press, 256 pages
Conservatives often complain that liberal politicians obscure their true agendas when campaigning only to unleash their redistributive legislative visions once safely in office. There, they offer certain constituencies taxpayer-provided benefits that give a plurality of voters just enough incentive to keep them in office.
The progressive academics whose essays make up To Promote the General Welfare are ostensibly proposing a break from this bait-and-switch. To these big-government enthusiasts, polls showing that Americans consider themselves conservative instead of liberal in near 2-to-1 ratios constitute a branding problem—and, as such, something that can be rectified. This collection, edited by Steven Conn, is a bid to rehabilitate the liberal brand through an unapologetic defense of progressive aims. Whatever the book’s faults, and they are both profound and numerous, To Promote the General Welfare is an interesting experiment in ideological extrapolation.
About the Author
Noah Rothman is an editor at Mediaite.com. This is his first appearance in COMMENTARY.