The Conservative Understanding of America’s Future

Published July 17, 2004

The New York Times, 17 July 2004

[EPPC scholar Eric Cohen discussed America’s future in a recent New York Times article profiling several prominent young conservative thinkers. An excerpt appears below.]

But some young conservatives argue that the United States may need to become more active, not less. Eric Cohen, 26, is the director of the Biotechnology and American Democracy Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington; the editor of its journal, The New Atlantis; a consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics; and a contributor to The Weekly Standard.

In an interview, he argued that conservatives needed to accept an active role for government in dealing with advancing technology, whether in the form of terrorists’ weapons abroad or attempts to change the nature of life at home. “The conservative project is making the case for progress abroad while confronting the dilemmas of progress at home,” he said.

Mr. Cohen defended the Bush administration’s preventive intervention in the Middle East as well as its limitations on federal financing for stem cell research.

“Medical progress is going to keep people alive longer than they would have been,” he said. “I think prudent conservatives are going to have to find some responsible way to have sensible government to deal with the needs of aging generations. We have seen a version of this in the prescription drug bill, and there are going to be other obligations.”

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