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TAC: Conservatives Need A Pro-Family Agenda Beyond Tax Credits

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“All of these pushes faced strong political headwinds from self-proclaimed conservative gatekeepers at the time. But the post-Trump landscape is opening up new possibilities for ideas once thought heterodox. The recent introduction of Senator Mitt Romney’s “Family Security Act”—which would provide a universal child allowance for all families, regardless of income—was an exciting first step towards an authentically pro-family politics. If it is adopted, it would be the most constructive policy step for families in decades. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the loud, populist voices deeming the GOP a newfound “party of the working class” will put their money where their mouth is.

Battles over the family have tended to be fought on cultural grounds, not economic ones. But the two are clearly linked. Cultural libertarianism supplements economic neoliberalism when it treats all unchosen obligations as suspect, and undermines traditional institutions in the name of efficiency. 

A libertarian-infused approach gives the individual a place of primacy, promoting unencumbered liberty. Identity politics, ascendant on the left, prefers to evaluate the individual as part of his or her racial or ethnic group. Conservatives, in turn, tend to agree with the great sociologist Robert Nisbet that “family, not the individual, is the real molecule of society, the key link of the social chain of being.” This insight should guide a distinctively and authentically conservative approach to social, fiscal, and economic policy.

The unfettered individual, abstracted from the demands of being a parent, spouse, or child, is not just an ideal consumer; he or she is perfectly suited for a culture that prioritizes self-fulfillment and self-actualization. Family life, according to this worldview, is just one path among many. Why bother, progressives ask, looking at policymaking through the lens of a creaky institution that is just one path of many towards adult fulfillment? …”

Hopefully, it is a new day in the Republican Party.

There is a dawning realization that the “GOP establishment” is on life support due to the resorting of the electorate. The demographic base of the True Cons wing in the suburbs has collapsed as those people have steadily migrated over to the Democrats due to their shared lifestyle affinity for modernist and cosmopolitan values. The True Cons faction of the party is now firmly in the minority. The overwhelming majority of Republican voters are now either populists or social conservatives. Donald Trump’s acquittal will show who is really the boss in the Republican Party.


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