The need for conservatives to embrace community

Writing at Philanthropy Daily, Scott Walter blogs about a recent column (“All You Need is Love: How Community Can Save Conservatism“) that emphasizes the need for conservatives to understand, and support, the idea of community:

A conservative from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) must be shocking some Atlantic readers with his new article, “All You Need Is Love: How Community Can Save Conservatism.”

Author Michael Strain quotes and endorses the claim Rep. Paul Ryan recently made in a speech at AEI: People “hunger for a community,” because “we’re happiest when we’re together.”

What are these right-wingers doing talking about love, happiness, and community? Isn’t conservatism only about marginal tax rates, budget stats, and rugged individualists?

Not exactly. Strain lauds Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” and stresses, above all, “the mediating institutions of civil society,” which include the family, churches, soup kitchens, scout troops—everything, in short, that mediates between the naked individual and the nation-state.

Summed up, Strain’s argument is that “conservatives would support better policy if they were less focused on the individual and more focused on community and society,” the rationale being that private resources — such as churches and the family — are a powerful mediating influence on big government.