PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rich Zeoli talked to National Review’s Charles CW Cooke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC about his upcoming book, The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future.
Cooke said he believes yielding more power to individual states would alleviate much of the animosity of political disputes.
“I think federalism can often be the answer, permitting each state or locality to make as many decisions locally as possible so that we’re not always in despair when a Barack Obama is in the White House and they’re not always in despair if Ted Cruz gets in or Scott Walker gets in. There’s no reason it should be the end of the world when somebody we dislike suddenly has power over all of us. These should be limited to certain questions, the military, some social spending, civil rights and so forth.”
He would like to see a fuller and wider debate on many topics, without them being dismissed within the national dialogue as only ‘social issues.’
“I’m not a fan of the term social issues…What do we mean by a social issue? If you look at abortion, you’re talking life and death. If you look at the drug war, you’re talking about the government interposing itself in the market. If you’re talking about gay marriage, it’s which institutions within civil society will the state recognize. To me, those are three totally different questions. For example, I’m in favor of gay marriage. I accept that some people aren’t. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being against it. Now, I think gay marriage has won. Now, there will be disappointment about that…but they’re not going to lose too much sleep over it in ten years. It’s not going to drive them up the wall forever, but abortion will and should because we’re talking about life and death. You cannot compromise on that.”
Cooke also said that, currently, he is pleased with depth and diversity of the debate on the right.
“I speak at colleges. I speak at conservative events. I speak at libertarian events. When we have a beer afterwards, everyone gets along perfectly and disagrees vehemently, but nobody calls anyone else a bigot. Nobody suggests that they shouldn’t disagree, that they shouldn’t have that opinion, that there is something wrong with them if they have that opinion. Now I’m sure these things follow the arc of the pendulum. I’m sure that there will be times in which progressives become more tolerant of one another and conservatives become more uniform. But at the moment, it really is a great time to be on the right because we do seem to be capable of disagreeing with each other and still having a beer at the end of the day.
Cooke’s book goes on sale March 10.