Peggy Noonan still doesn't get it

In "Republicans in a Nation" (Washington Post, May 4–5, 2019) "conservative" columnist Peggy Noonan outdid herself in an entertaining display of intellectual gymnastics to defend the following premise:

[O]ld conservatism was deeply pertinent to its era and philosophy right, but it is not fully in line with the crisis of our time or its reigning facts.

Conservatism centers on the belief that some ideas are timeless.  The notion that even one of these ideas was merely "pertinent to its era" is the opposite of conservatism.  In the next paragraph, we learn exactly what she deems "not fully in line with the crisis of our time":

The federal government will not become smaller or less expensive in our lifetimes. There is no political will for it among elected officials in Washington, many of whom privately admit this. ... Even if there were such a will, both parties in Washington have trouble working together on such big things.

Does she really think she can persuade conservatives to surrender a core principle for which our Founding Fathers risked everything just because their representatives no longer care?  If Ms. Noonan no longer believes in limited government, she should just come out and say so.

It gets worse:

But beyond that fact is something bigger: America needs help right now and Americans know it. It has been enduring for many years a continuing cultural catastrophe — illegitimacy, the decline of faith ...

In other words, big government programs are needed to fix the problems big government exacerbated in the first place!  It is just a matter of getting it right.  Where have we heard that before?

Unsurprisingly, Noonan believes that big government can also help Americans "unite" against foreign powers:

You cannot see all the world's weapons and all its madness and not know that eventually we will face a terrible day or days when everything will depend on our ability to hold together and hold on.

Just in case you are not sure whether or not Noonan likes big government, the following passage clears up any ambiguity (my emphasis):

If these are your predicates — America in cultural catastrophe, and hard history ahead — you spend your energies on a battle not to make government significantly smaller, but to make it more helpful.

Ronald Reagan once said the most terrifying words are "I'm from the government and I am here to help."  It strains credulity that Noonan once wrote speeches for this great president.  With no sense of irony, Noonan later goes on to describe what a "large government harnessed towards conservative ends" would look like:

Whatever might help families form and grow. ...

Teaching the lost boys of the working and middle class, black and white, how to live.

Only someone with a deep disdain for people in flyover country would engage in such thoroughly patronizing rhetoric.  Like the liberals and progressives in her cocktail circuit, she sees the federal government as a key part of the social fabric.  Maybe this is why she has no problem importing voters who are more inclined to grow the government:

We used to have a settlement for the great waves of immigrants who came in the early 20th century. Why not now?

Because in the early 20th century, America was not a multiculturalist welfare state where immigrants are recruited to vote against America's founding principles.

The following passage betrays Noonan's total lack of self-awareness:

Americans would respect the Republican Party if it gave the impression its leaders are actually noticing America and a farsighted sense of its real plight.

This is how we got Trump.

Antonio Chaves teaches biology at a local community college.  His interest in economic and social issues stems from his experience teaching environmental science.