Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Is The Conservative Movement Dead?
Stately McDaniel Manor: Is The Conservative Movement Dead? Of course. It died long ago. It’s intellectual successor, the Tea Parties, are essentially moribund, at least for now. The problem is essentially one of definition.
What, exactly, is conservatism? At one time, it was clearly based on limited government, the idea that that government is best which governs least. The government that has little or no consequence in the lives of Americans is the ideal. Government should exist only to accomplish those things we cannot do ourselves, such as raise and maintain a military, etc.
Then came the exceptions. The Moral Majority took conservatism into America’s bedrooms, demanding a say in moral choices that should have been off limits to conservatives. How do we justify the principle that government should not interfere in citizen’s lawful, personal choices when conservatives make exceptions for abortion, for example? Oh, but that’s murder! No it isn’t, or at least it never has been, even in states that seriously restricted or banned it prior to Roe v. Wade.
Oh, but aren’t we going to have people marrying parakeets then? Won’t they force us to let men use the same bathrooms as little girls?
We’ll still be a nation of laws, where the majority rules. We’re now a nation ruled by executive fiat, administrative fiat, and unelected, unaccountable judges. As Sarah Palin would say, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”
Lest anyone think I’m staking out a position on the abortion issue, think again. I’m merely picking a bit of low-hanging philosophical fruit in the service of pointing out the problem: once conservatism began making exceptions to the principles of strictly limited government, there was no end to exceptions, and they soon became the rule.
Take another example: federal involvement in education. There is nothing inherently conservative about running American’s neighborhood schools out of Washington DC, yet that’s exactly what we now have, and something one can legitimately blame on George W. Bush. “No Child Left Behind,” for example, which imposed mandatory, high stakes testing on the nation, was created in close cooperation with Teddy Kennedy. He was conservative, wasn’t he? Oh, and he loved him some women!
Conservatism can only survive by adopting immutable and simple principles, and sticking to them. They would obviously include: absolute fidelity to the Constitution. If the Constitution doesn’t allow it, it isn’t done. If the Constitution is silent, the Tenth Amendment rules. Strict laws that make it impossible for anyone to become rich as a public servant. Complete reform of the Income Tax code. Complete reform–and strict enforcement of–immigration law. Complete reform of civil service law to make it easy, while upholding everyone’s rights, to fire incompetent, criminal federal employees. Laws requiring the imprisonment of anyone in the VA mistreating our veterans. No laws written we’re not willing to enforce. Want to make a statement? Get a blog.
The list goes on, but you get the idea. Conservatives revere the Founders and the inherent goodness and industry of the American people. They believe Americans are more than smart enough to know what is good for them, and government must be as small and non-intrusive as possible.
Oh, and the Federal Bureau of Bedsheet Thread Count doesn’t need a SWAT team and automatic weapons either.
Don Surber: Let’s see, conservatives own most statehouses and governorships in my lifetime. Rare time they control both houses of Congress. And likely to knock off a Clinton. If that’s dead, I wish we died in 2006.
Bookworm Room: I agree with Don. I think the Republican party is dead (or, frankly, should be), but I think the conservative movement is alive and well.
JoshuaPundit: Of course it’s dead, no matter how you try and finesse it. Let’s indeed get on with it.
The conservative movement or what has passed for it is indeed dead, although many of its ideas survive. The brand name has been totally compromised because of its association with the Republican Party. Conservative Inc. with some honorable exceptions for all intents and purposes became part of the GOP. It conserved nothing and created little except cushy jobs and fat paychecks for those on the inside.
It betrayed its adherents and supporters at every turn,and when forced to appear to move towards conservative principals by the Tea Party and by selfless advocates like Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint, it simply ignored those principles once it got into power and kicked Palin and DeMint out of the party.
It cheerfully refused to defend what were supposed to be its values and betrayed its supporters when it came to education, trade deals, outsourcing, same sex marriage, downsizing our military, separation of powers, illegal migration, fiscal responsibility, and a ruinous ObamaCare bill that cost the country millions, made healthcare far less affordable and converted thousands of jobs from full time to part time.
In a final betrayal, much of Conservative Inc. and the GOP it allied itself with the likes of the Clintons in an attempt to destroy a nominee who was overwhelmingly the voter’s choice, because he pledged to try to fix what was wrong, drain the swamp and threatened to spoil the obscene orgy in DC.
We’re definitely going to need to consolidate a new political movement in this country, one that actually embraces limited government, our Constitution, economic growth and lower taxation, a strong foreign policy and policies that limit the opportunities for crony capitalism, protect domestic manufacturing grow the pie and promote fiscal sanity. Think of it as a sort of combo of what the Tea Party was about and traditional Jacksonian values. But we had best call it something else and purge much of the GOP and Conservative Inc. from it or they will simply corrupt it the same way they corrupted the conservative movement once Reagan left office and the Bushes took over.
Mene mene tekel uparsin. These ‘conservatives’ have been weighed and found wanting. Our Forefathers had the wisdom to purge the Tories in their midst, and we should emulate them when it comes to our own revolution.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: The conservative movement is far from dead, but it is in trouble. The left run mainstream media controls public discourse and relentlessly criticizes, vilifies, and mocks conservatives. They portray conservatives as Bible reading gun clingers; relics of the past whose beliefs and convictions have no place in today’s society. Fortunately with the internet and social media platforms, along with talk radio which has been around for decades, conservatives are communicating their positions on political and cultural issues.
The silent majority has once again awakened and is attempting to restore conservative values and ideals to our government and our culture. We need to work on two fronts. First with government, conservatives must come forward and run for office at every level from local city councils and county school boards and commissions through the state and federal government. Our bigger challenge is with our culture. In order to restore traditional Judeo-Christian values to our country we need to work through the schools and educate our children and teach them the truth, not the America bashing, global warming, globalist indoctrination that has been going on for decades.
Conservatism is not dead. But we have a lot of work to do to restore our government and our culture. We have to understand the work we are doing, the groundwork we are laying, might not benefit us immediately but will lead to a better America for future generations.
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