Observation: The big philosophical debates are all taking place on the right

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Every week, or so, I go on Bloggingheads to talk politics. This week, one of the topics we discussed involved the very interesting, if unwelcome, philosophical battles taking place in the Republican primary. (You can watch our 3 minute conversation here.)

For those who hate web video, here’s the gist of it.

While Democrats are essentially falling lockstep behind President Obama, Republicans are engaging in some very important philosophical debates. For example, the rise of Ron Paul demonstrates that the GOP includes both hawks and a large number of non-interventionists. The schism over Bain Capital demonstrates the cleavage between the big business wing of the Republican Party and the more populist conservative strain.

While party bosses would surely like to avoid this sort of introspection, I argue this is mostly healthy and educational; more people probably know the name Joseph Schumpeter today than a week ago.

And, as my worthy liberal debate partner Bill Scher noted during our conversation, these public disagreements also serve to demonstrate to everyone watching that “the Republican Party and the conservative movement are…far more complex — [and have] far more different competing strains of thought — than I think a lot of people appreciate …”

In short, conservatives are not monolithic.

Matt K. Lewis