Michael Gerson on Open Arms Conservatism

Michael Gerson There was a nice piece written by Michael Gerson in the Post yesterday. For those who don’t know him, he was a senior adviser with the Bush administration but left over idealogical differences. He has a book out; “Heroic Conservatism” in which he talks about those differences.

In this article he says;

This obligation to protect has never, in Jewish and Christian teaching, been purely private. Hebrew law made a special provision for the destitute — requiring that a portion of harvested crops be left in the field to be gathered by the poor. The Hebrew prophets raucously confronted the political and economic exploitation of the weak.

A significant portion of the Republican Party and the American public is influenced more by the social teachings of the Jewish and Christian traditions than by the doctrines of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Religious conservatives, broadly defined, prefer free-market methods. But they believe that the goal directing all our methods must be the common good.

You can read the rest of his article here:



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  1. #1 by brightshinyobject on November 1, 2007 - 2:04 pm


    Gerson is right on, in that, the theologies and traditions must reflect that.

    The conservative economic thing happened quite by accident, as I understand it. The independent spirit of America, in both matters religious and economic, coalesced, and much of the theory of Adam Smith came to pass almost inadvertantly. Hayek obviously came much later, (don’t know the other guy), and if you read “Road to Serfdom” in the context of 1939 Germany, it is incredibly fascinating…for nerds like me that read economics fer fun. Oh, there’s too much to say (who’s surprised…C’MON!)

    Success is not a virtue in and of itself, and virtues are never for onself, a lamp is not lit for the benefit of the lamp…

  2. #2 by Christian on November 1, 2007 - 2:23 pm

    I’m not sure but I think von Mises influenced Hayek in some ways – I remember hearing his name mentioned in National Review a number of times. He apparently come up with some sort of economic formula that predicted that socialism would fail.

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