This essay is taken from the Spring 2015 issue of Modern Age, which has just been released.
A man is not primarily a witness against something.
That is only incidental to the fact that he is a witness for something.
—Whittaker Chambers, Witness
In recent years, conservatives have fallen into a thoroughly oppositional mind-set in American politics. We have had good reasons for doing so. The agenda of the Obama administration has frequently been moved by a political philosophy hostile to what conservatives seek to defend: ordered individual and economic liberty, cultural traditionalism, personal responsibility, civil society, religious freedom, a commitment to work, a belief in America as the last best hope of mankind. Provoked on one or more of these fronts, conservatives have reacted defensively, making our case against what we have taken to be serious mistakes. This is a necessary and appropriate response to the circumstances. But it is dangerously insufficient.
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