In their very different ways, Michael Gerson and Jonah Goldberg ask us to contemplate going back to the future. Both suggest that perhaps the much-maligned George W. Bush was onto something when he asked us to think a little differently about the relationship between government and civil society.

I’m pressed for time and so can’t now say everything I’d like to say, but I will assert this: if “compassionate conservatism” is only a marketing slogan, I want no part of it and it won’t work anyway. If, on the other hand, it means recognizing the primacy of community as an authentic expression of our natures, that those communities are healthiest that spring from affection and proximity, and that government can serve but not create such communities, I’m interested.

If there’s going to be a conversation about the meaning of conservatism and Republicanism in the aftermath of this disappointing election, I won’t (and of course can’t) deny the libertarians a seat at the table, but I will insist upon a place as well for what some might call Christian democracy .

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