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Kesler on "Compassionate Conservatism"

Compassionate conservatism is [President Bush’s] self-proclaimed philosophy. This terms proves the old admonition that the adjective is the enemy of the noun. Conservatism defends “liberty and justice for ll,” meaning that there are limits to what government can do to, and for, us. but a compassionate government cannot be a limited one. Its swelling sympathy will overwhelm the levees of individualism and consent (“I fell your pain,” whether you want me to or not); and its pity implies that for some unfortunate people, justice is not enough. This inherent indiscipline is why compassion used to be regarded as needing reason’s regulation, and why in any event it was though better suited to private, not public, life. Compassionate conservatism, therefore, means big government conservatism. And big government conservatism is no conservatism at all.

Kesler, Charles. Bush’s Philosophy. Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2005. P 3