The Richmond Times Dispatch, which is generally Republican-leaning but with a strong dose of libertarianism and Hayekianism, recently gave Norquist the boot.
The editorial noted that by setting up a litmus test of no new taxes Norquist helped eviscerate some of society’s important assets and institutions, in particular the transportation infrastructure “That is not good stewardship. It also has serious implications for business, which today’s conservatives (unlike, say, Burke) value above almost all else.”
“Real conservatism is at least as much a character of mind and a set of virtues – prudence, temperance, moderation, rationality and responsibility, for instance – as a set of dogmas. The adoption by American conservatives of rigid litmus tests, the failure of which means banishment from the tribe, has not ennobled the movement but, ironically, deracinated it.”
Right on the mark. Great leaders, like Abraham Lincoln, upheld great principles and moved us closer to them through compromise. Adam Smith was likewise a great idealist in theory, but thoroughly pragmatic in implementation.