30 Years of Conservatism

David Frum trumpets the successes of the last 30 years of conservative politics:

In 1975, the federal government set the price of every airline ticket, every ton of rail freight, every cubic foot of natural gas and every barrel of oil. It controlled the interest rates paid on checking accounts and the commission charged by stockbrokers. If you wanted to ship a crate of lettuce from one state to another, you first had to file a routemap with a federal agency. It was a crime for a private citizen to own a gold coin. The draft had ended only two years before, but not until 1975 itself did Congress formally end the state of emergency (and the special grant of presidential powers) declared at US entry into the First World War.

I have no idea whether the individual claims here are correct. He is, after all, a conservative with an axe to grind. But the larger point is no doubt true: we’ve undergone 30 years of deregulation, much of which has had positive consequences (I strongly disagree with his notion, elsewhere in the piece, that Americans are more “liberated” because of this deregulation, but that’s a separate matter).

When you hear conservatives go apoplectic about the socialism that Obama is supposedly foisting upon all of this, it’s worth keeping Frum’s thoughts in mind. Conservatives had a long, successful (in their estimation) 30-year run. it’s perfectly natural and appropriate for the pendulum to swing back a bit.