How far back do they want to go?

It used to be that the fight within the Republican Party was mostly between the moderates, who would have been content with repealing the Great Society, and the radicals who wanted to repeal the New Deal as well.

That’s over: with the Social Insecurity plan, which will become an article of faith for the GOP as soon as Karl Rove figures out what it is, the entire GOP is firmly committed to repealing what remains of the New Deal. (The union-busting process that started under Reagan is well on its way to making the Wagner Act a dead letter.)

Now the faction fight will between the economic conservatives and libertarians, who are prepared to stop with the New Deal, and the two overlapping groups of “social conservatives”: the white supremacists, who really want to repeal Reconstruction but would settle for undoing the Second Reconstruction, and the fundamentalists who want to repeal the Enlightenment.

For now, the extremist Catholics of the Buckley-Bennett-Scalia faction, who would be tempted to repeal the Reformation as well, are prepared to suspend that desire and work with the extremist Protestants to take out the seculars.

Note to libertarians: When you sup with the Devil, bring a long spoon.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: