Bridge Brand: Pro-Con Fusionism
In April 2004, when I first coined the term "Progressive Conservatism," I was not aware of Jude Wanniski's 1979 coinage of Progressive Conservative as a rubric for the Reaganites (to distinguish them from the Paleo-Cons). Following Ronald Reagan's 1980 New Hampshire primary victory, the New York Times used the Pro-Con term to describe the Reaganites.
In July 2004, when I first drafted the "foundation" essay "Diffusion of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand," I was not aware of the Frank Meyer "fusionism" debate that occurred in the 1960s (or was it 1970s?) on the pages of National Review.
Ignorant Me! I first learned of the grand Meyer fusion debate on August 18, 2004, when Kenneth Silber published "The Fusionist Path" at TechCentralStation.com.
In The Conservative Revolution:The Movement That Remade America (1999, pp. 107-108), Lee Edwards, the Heritage Foundation's Distinguished Fellow In Conservative Thought, provides an excellent summary of Frank Meyer's Fusionism:
"There was one other important task that had to be accomplished before the conservative movement could operate effectively in the political realm: It had to be philosophically united. Increasingly, traditionalists and libertarians had been snapping and snarling at each other in the pages of National Review, the New Individualist Review, and elsewhere.
"Traditionalist Russell Kirk was accused of being hostile to individualism and laissez-faire economics, while libertarian Friedrich Hayek was faulted for defending freedom on strictly utilitarian grounds rather than according to 'the absolute transcendent values upon which its strength is founded.'
"One conservative in particular was convinced that beneath all the differences lay a true consensus of principle: Frank Meyer, the fast-talking, chain-smoking, ex-communist senior editor of National Review. Through articles, books, and endless late-evening telephone calls, Meyer communicated his synthesis of the disparate elements of conservatism, which came to be called fusionism.
"The core fundamental was 'the freedom of the person, the central and primary end of political society.' The state had only three limited functions: national defense, the preservation of domestic order, and the administration of justice between citizens.
"The 'achievement of virtue' was not a political question: indeed, it was not even the state's business. Freedom, Meyer argued, was the indispensable condition for the pursuit of virtue. Freedom was the ultimate political end; virtue was the ultimate end of man as man....
"Although both traditionalists and libertarians often challenged fusionism in years to come, it prevailed as an effective synthesis until the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe in 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991."
For an extension of the Frank Meyer view on Fusionism, see Kenneth Silber's "The Fusionist Path" (www.TechCentralStation.com on August 18, 2004).
For an independent (of Frank Meyer) view on Fusionism, see Randy Piper's Diffusion Of Con-Fusion: The Birth of a Political Brand (posted-published on December 1, 2004).
Once you have read Diffusion Of Con-Fusion (along with the other posts-publications here at the Pro-Con R&R), you will see why we can view Progressive Conservatism as THE Bridge Brand between Traditionalists and Libertarians.
Hopefully, readers will come to understand why Progressive Conservatism is the Growth DNA for Conservatism.
WE PRO-CONS INFLAME REAGAN'S LIBERTY & JUSTICE & PROGRESS(IVE) TORCH!!!
Read ON...and...Right ON!!