EPPC Briefly: Reform Conservatism vs. Governmental Incompetence

June 12, 2014


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EPPC Briefly


“Why Government Fails So Often”

In the Wall Street Journal, EPPC Hertog Fellow Yuval Levin reviews a new book by Yale law professor Peter H. Schuck that provides “a systematic survey of the limits of American public administration.” While the book “offers plenty of challenges” for conservatives, it will make “painful reading for American progressives” because “their worldview depends on a degree of government competence that is simply unattainable.”

For a case study of the serious consequences of dysfunctional bureaucracy, read Mr. Levin’s take on the ongoing scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Right, the Left, and Reform Conservatism

EPPC Hertog Fellow Yuval Levin defends the reform conservatism that he and others—including EPPC Senior Fellows James C. Capretta and Peter Wehner—are advancing: it “would build decentralized, bottom-up, market-oriented approaches to problem solving upon (and in the service of) a firm foundation of social conservatism.” (David Brooks praises this reform conservatism as “the most coherent and compelling policy agenda the American right has produced this century.”)

Reform Conservatism Should Tackle Public Sector

“Rising public dissatisfaction with federal performance coincides with decades of institutional rigidity,” observes EPPC Senior Fellow James C. Capretta. The federal government “is in need of a top-to-bottom review, covering everything from organizational structure to government contracting practices to pay policy.”

2014 Bradley Symposium: “America’s Prospects: Promise and Peril”

EPPC is pleased to co-host this year’s Bradley Symposium on June 18 in Washington. In the bustle of daily politics, it can be difficult to discern the broad trends that will shape America’s future. The Bradley Symposium’s panel of experts, led by EPPC Hertog Fellow Yuval Levin and featuring EPPC Senior Fellow Henry Olsen, will help see past the horizon and think through the challenges and opportunities the coming years are likely to bring. Click here for more information.

The work of the Ethics and Public Policy Center is made possible by the generosity of our donors. To support EPPC, click here.


Weigel Honored by Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On Wednesday, EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel received the Lithuanian Diplomacy Star award at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington. In his speech, “The Maidan and the West,” Mr. Weigel hailed the moral courage of the Maidan movement, which offers “a powerful reminder to Europe of what Europe intended to be” and which challenges the West “to recover both its faith and its nerve.”

2014 Summer Movie Series: Middle America and the Movies

This summer, join EPPC Resident Scholar, and American Spectator movie critic, James Bowman for a series of movies set in the rural and small towns of America’s Midwest. This eighth annual series is presented by EPPC and the Hudson Institute. For more details, click here.


A Cultural Package That Sorts Winners from Losers

A new book that attempts to explain why members of certain ethnic groups succeed offers a valuable critique of “America’s prevailing cultural attitudes towards adolescents and young adults,” writes EPPC Fellow Mary Rice Hasson, but it fails to outline a compelling vision of what it really means to be successful.


EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel observes that the valor shown by the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who liberated Europe 70 years ago, “like the decisiveness of their leaders, stands in sharp and disconcerting contrast to the fecklessness displayed by too many European and American leaders in recent months.”

Machine Grading and Moral Learning

In EPPC’s journal The New Atlantis, Joshua Schulz explores the misguided appeal of automated grading and the rise of factory education.

Thinking Through the Morality of the Bergdahl Deal

EPPC Senior Fellow Peter Wehner presents his case against President Obama’s deal to secure the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Dean of Contradictions

A new biography of Jonathan Swift is “enlightening and amusing,” EPPC Resident Scholar James Bowman finds, but the book struggles in its attempts to render an accurate portrait of the satirist through the lens of modern sensibilities.

Time for Congressional Hearings On Common Core

EPPC Senior Fellow Stanley Kurtz calls foul on the Common Core reforms, “a story of vast and very arguably unconstitutional changes made to America’s education system.”

Where the Gold Standard Act of 1984 Came From–and Why It’s Still Relevant

John Mueller, EPPC’s Lehrman Institute Fellow in Economics and a former advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp, recounts the debate that led to the Gold Standard Act of 1984 and argues that the policy on gold that eluded President Ronald Reagan is now finally possible.


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