The point of propaganda is to shape public opinion and Ross Douthat in essay The Liberal Embrace of Judicial Restraint has written it as a kind of self-celebration. It's casual in tone, given that it appears under the title of Campaign Stops, Strong Opinions on the 2012 Elections, it is even a bit breezy, given the subject matter. It is a kind of potted history, that exudes an all knowing I told you so kind of stance: his relish in his ferreting out of an obvious liberal hypocrisy regarding the rhetorical creature judicial restraint, a synonym for the Conservative epithet of judicial activism, while reinforcing the essential notion of Conservative probity. This self-created discovery is the product of his history as ideologically inflected story telling. It is a narrative constructed of convenient bits and pieces, a bricolage in service to the a priori rightness of post Brown v. Board of Education Conservative judicial politicking. Now Mr. Douthat carefully avoids the inconvenient actualities, the dismal,the bleak record of American Conservatism failure to engage with the legacy of institutional racism and the great turning point of Brown v. Board. It marked the re-invigoration of the Originalism in it's first and least attractive expression of States Rights, and it's unsavory, even down right repugnant cast of characters. Modern Conservatism has carefully washed itself of that taint, Mr. Douthat and others being the beneficiaries of that project. It could and must be argued that the point of the Originalists and Conservatism was to remake the judicial system that perpetrated that crime against Jim Crow and it 's institutional legitimacy. That became the raison d'etre of Conservatism aided by a concerted campaign to launder the political image of the States Rights/Originalists judicial candidates: Robert Bork being one of it's failures and John Roberts being one of it's successes. What a difference a generation of careful, patient grooming can make. Is the self-serving, even gleeful assertion that Mr. Douthat makes in his essay, that Conservatives and Liberals have almost reached a point of convergence in his argued notion of judicial restraint/judicial activism? Mr. Douthat succeeds in producing a collection of usable political arguments , fully reflecting the Conservative imperative to rewrite American legal history as a triumph of States Rights/Originalism with John Roberts as it's hero.