William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, and Irving Kristol, among others, were foremost in manifesting the conservative imagination in the 20th century, which coalesced in the fortuitous Reagan conservative coalition. Who do you see emerging as the intellectual avant-garde of the 21st century conservative imagination? (One rider: Your list cannot include best-selling authors, because they are already well-known.)
—Pierce; Denver, Colorado
Pierce, you have asked a great question. Eliminating best-selling authors makes it tricky for me, though, as I find that most thinkers who have something great to say philosophically or ideologically have authored great books. For example, I am particularly fond of the writings of Mark Steyn, Rich Lowry, and Michelle Malkin. I also believe that Jim DeMint and Paul Ryan are very much in touch with authentic conservative principles. With respect to those who may be new on the scene, I have to be honest and say that I am still waiting for a Thomas Sowell of my generation to emerge. If you know of one, please give me a heads up. (And beg him or her to run for office.)
What aspect of our current political or social climate is most troubling to you and why?—Lisa; Sacramento, California
There are many (the absence of personal responsibility, the death of objective journalism, the proclivity toward political correctness over truth), but I have to say that the indoctrination of our youth in schools across this country is on the top of my list. It’s incredibly scary how biased, intolerant of diverse opinions, and un-American so many lessons and courses have become. History has been rewritten and kids have been brainwashed to embrace a culture of entitlement and to reject American exceptionalism. So many classrooms are no longer places for children to learn the facts and form their own opinions, and I find that terribly sad and destructive.
When you go to the polls in 2012, what will be your priority issue?—Larry; Seattle, Washington
My priority issue is always national security. All the health care debates in the world won’t matter much if we don’t have a country at the end of the day. I don’t give a second look at candidates who aren’t tough on terrorism, don’t believe in American exceptionalism, don’t understand the importance of “peace through strength,” and don’t prioritize securing our borders. I have little patience for the naiveté of those who agree to meet with dictators of rogue nations without pre-conditions and/or favor decreasing our missile defenses. This world is unfortunately far too dangerous a place for America not to be as strong, cautious, and armed as she can be.
Email your questions to Jedediah here. If you would like to, please include your city/state.