Mark Lilla, "Republicans for Revolution" (New York Review of Books)

I think I disagree with Lilla about the "apocalyptism" of what he calls the "redemptive reactionaries" on the right. Tthose terms seem to imply an overarching purpose that I don't think the conservatives in question have. I would characterize the tea-party movement as "restive" more than "redemptive", and that's not a property that belongs only to America's political right: the Occupy movement, at least the OWS branch, has explicitly rejected the idea of having leaders or a platform. I'm hoping to blog a response to this at Democracy in America but for now, it's a provocative analysis of conservatism in America circa 2012 and I highly recommend it.

Associated Press, "Entering the 2012 election, American optimism vies with a dejection"

Awkward title aside, this is an interesting essay, with reporting from around the country, that asks what I expect will be one of the major questions of 2012: How confident should Americans feel right now?

George F. Will, "Ringing in a conservative year" (Washington Post)

Among the people asking the aforementioned question is conservative George F Will. Averting his gaze from the Republican primary, Will argues that conservatives should actually be feeling pretty good about this year, because progressives are going to be haunted by "the specter of abundance." In Will's view, in other words, it's actually the progressives who are apocalyptic--an interesting counterpoint to Lilla--and their favourite apocalyptic scenario is climate change. But given America's sudden abundance of fossil fuels (we were a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011) that narrative, he argues, must be tabled.


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