This fascinating exchange between Paul Cella and Lydia McGrew delivers much for conservatives to ponder. Consider Paul's remarks:
The main thing between you and me, Lydia, is that I have made my peace with Social Democracy while you have not ...
Right now, and for the foreseeable future, what I want has to pretty much be set aside. There is no plausible arrangement of current-day American politics that gives me what I want.
It seems to me that effective political action must take a different form than insisting on pie-in-the-sky "Roll back the New Deal" Goldwaterism. Effective political action entails, rather, something more like "getting aligned in coalitions arranged to oppose some fatal new innovation," in other words, the conservative position should be the position laid out in The Federalist, supply the defects of democracy by democratic means.
The idea of raising a governing majority to actually roll back the New Deal is quixotic fantasy. Even in the most fiscally conservative moment in recent history, the idea of simply removing all the social democratic infrastructure of the New Deal is not even being broached by GOP politicians. Not even Sen. Rand Paul proposes it.
If Paul's assessment is correct, then American conservatism has a problem - a crisis of identity from which there is no turning back. This was all but inevitable at some point. Any conservatism which attaches itself irrevocably to a specific temporal order or document is not long for this world.
But more importantly, America has a problem: the Constitution is dead. Now what?
The primary value of the Constitution, in my opinion, was not that it made certain Progressivist schemes difficult or unattainable, but that it confined all parties to a process which contained a lot of conservative wisdom. But if our politics no longer depends upon the orderly, intelligible and predictable process imposed by the Constitution; if instead we are merely subject to the wills of competing powers, all of which are quarreling factions of the Left more or less hostile to our goals; if the balance of those powers is arbitrary and, in the end, irrelevant; and if a return to constitutional integrity is truly a practical impossibility, the "quixotic fantasy" Cella believes it to be -- suffice it to say that the survival of post-Constitutional America, in whole or in part, will depend upon post-Constitutional thinking on the part of conservatives.