To Washington Post Letters: Steven F. Hayward wrote: "The single largest defect of modern conservatism, in my mind, is its insufficient ability to challenge liberalism at the intellectual level. . . ."

No. The single largest defect of modern conservatism is that it has ruined the nation. Conservatives do not have ideas; they have interests. Conservatives are not "thinkers"; they are rationalizers who give an intellectual gloss to their belief that an alliance of predatory businesspeople and religious extremists should rule the rest of us.

The wreckage caused by modern conservatism lies all around us, and speaks for itself: If conservatism isn't dead, it should be.

DANIEL ROSEN Baltimore Source: Washington Post 10/9/2009