In his recent speech at the National Conservatism conference, David Goldman argues that “America needs a proactive industrial policy to win the so-called fourth industrial revolution.” As Rob Atkinson writes in the Claremont Institute’s American Mind, Goldman is really making two key points. Neither one is yet fully embraced by U.S. conservatives.
The first point is that China is a threat, not an opportunity. The second is a shift of the Overton window: to meet the China challenge, the United States needs “a visionary strategy that galvanizes the imagination of Americans, like the Kennedy Moon Shot or the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative.”
At this point, details are less important. What is important is for conservatives to recognize that China poses a critical threat to America’s future and that we need a strong, technologically vibrant economy to respond. This in turn requires a national industrial policy. As Goldman notes, “We need a positive view, we need a can-do approach, and we need to found it on the proven track record of the United States of America in pioneering the future for the world.” If that is not conservative thinking, I don’t know what is.