Interesting column from Thomas Edsall of the New York Times who solicited praise of conservatives from liberal thinkers. I was immediately struck with how many of the positives cited were themes of the Clinton campaign and presidency — personal responsibility, fear of big government, free market principles.
An interesting question is what positive right-wingers would have to say about liberals. In the Republican Party, the orthodoxy generally doesn't allow for this. Edsall quotes a couple of scholars who've analyzed both pluses and minuses:
“Conservatives are too prone to engage in zero-sum thinking (either I keep my money or the government takes it). They fail to appreciate the possibility of positive sum solutions to social conflicts.”
Conservatives hold “the laissez-faire ‘minimal-state’ view that, although we have a moral obligation to refrain from hurting others, we have no obligation to help others. Conservatives cling to the comforting moral illusion that there is a sharp distinction between allowing people to suffer and making people suffer.”
“Conservatives fail to recognize that even if each transaction in a free market meets their standards of fairness (exchanges between competent adults who have not been coerced or tricked into contracts), the cumulative results could be colossally unfair.”
“Conservatives do not understand how prevalent situational constraints on achievement are and thus commit the fundamental attribution error when they hold the poor responsible for poverty.”
“Conservatives overgeneralize: From a few cases of poor persons who exploit the system, they draw sweeping conclusions about all poor persons.”
“Chance happenings play a much greater role in success or failure than conservatives realize. People often do not control their own destinies.”