Sunday, May 12, 2013

Defining Conservatism. What is and what isn't?

Recently a friend from the Bay Area of California made an interesting observation after reading "E" is for English.

"It is conservative in parts, but it's both innovative and progressive," the woman described.

She professed to be a "liberal Democrat." Amazingly, she was not the least bit offended by the insistence that a literacy test was the key to attaining 100% literacy in America. She added that "it neither criticized or praised Barack Obama." The book title "insinuated that it was anti-Obama, but it wasn't."

 She admitted liking the immigration proposal's path to citizenship and agreed that "accelerated English assimilation" was necessary for all.

Our conversation moved first to global warming, then to welfare. I realized that this intelligent women, the holder of two advance degrees, lacked depth on both subjects.

She was stunned to learn the existence of fern fossils in Siberian museums and the "mini-ice age" of the mid-eighteenth century. The heat wave of 1936 that set records in the United States was a surprise. She was utterly shocked when I informed her that "one-third" of all welfare recipients resided in her home state!

I came away with the impression that this person was taken aback by sheer facts suddenly brought to her attention. It was like being told that there "were only Magnolia trees in Mississippi," later learning that there were also Pines, Oaks, Hickories and Dogwoods.

 The subject turned to Obamacare. She admitted that it would likely be "continuously amended." When I suggested that we might ultimately be looking at "nullification" by several states, she questioned, "do you think people feel that strongly about it?"

In short, this well intentioned person had taken the liberal line as gospel. However, when the facts were presented, she was more surprised than offended.

Perhaps I disarmed her when I suggested that "California is too nice of a place to have the all of the countries' career welfare recipients congregating there."

"Because the climate is mild, people naturally find it easier to survive." she proffered. Then she admitted that even the liberal minded Governor, Jerry Brown had recently proposed stop gap measures designed to assist the chronically unemployed return to the work force.

"Many are volunteering for the training. But, upon conclusion of the training, they have difficulty finding suitable positions," she mused.

In other words, it's more profitable to stay on the welfare rolls than accept a ten- dollar per hour job!

 She then inquired, "how would you  fix the healthcare system?"

Referencing a proposal that was seen on a previous Eagles for America post, I detailed the establishment of a catastrophic pool that would be available to everyone. In amazement, she  explained, "Politicians on both sides refuse to sit down and find a solution that benefits the people. It's about "which hand" is feeding them."

Shaking her head, she surmised, "I consider myself a liberal. You consider yourself a conservative. But, we are close on many issues. How could that be? You are either more liberal or I more conservative than originally thought!"

What is the definition of liberal? What is the definition of conservative.It depends on the individual perception.

In Washington, both sides of the aisle have come to one general agreement: "Government is better centralized; the bigger the better." Never mind the constitution! Or, as Nancy Pelosi exclaimed, "are you kidding?

Doesn't the old Chinese proverb state, "divide and conquer?" Our political leaders have mastered the art. By keeping our people at arms length and pitting them against each other, they have completely distracted them from the real issue at hand: "the continuing consolidation of power in Washington, D.C.."

Is the constitution our benchmark for defining conservatism? It's supposed to be. The more strict the interpretation, the more conservative. The less strict, the more liberal. It is really very simple.

A "strict constructionist" would use "Obama care" as a prime example of "liberal" or "loose construction." After all, there is nothing in the constitution that even hints about health care  being handled at the national level! But, you could say the same about the Department of Homeland Security. Or, a program like "no child left behind." Or, for that matter, the Department of Education! 

In our attempt to label our opponents, we have allowed our political leaders to maintain the century old argument referenced on a previous, Eagles for America post. The Bolsheviks and Trotskyites had numerous disagreements. But they were in total agreement on the need for a large central government that exercised maximum control over the population.

A lot of self-described "liberals" are actually conservatives in the sense that they want more individual freedoms. They are not ready to become "wards of the state' in the Stalinist tradition. Nor, do they want to lean on big brother for the important things, as Trotsky implied.

There are those who claim that they are "conservatives."  Then they describe historic support for U.S. involvement in  Viet Nam, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  They likewise had no problem with the increase monitoring and surveillance of Americans by Federal Agencies. Does "KGB" sound familiar? How about "exporting the revolution?"

The true standard of conservatism amounts to "how literal" the constitution is interpreted. Those subscribers will support Thomas Jefferson's assertion that "when people fear government, you have tyranny. When government fears the people, you have liberty." Nancy Pelosi would probably suggest that Jefferson was "kidding."

To denounce both Stalin and Trotsky is easy . At the same time, most politicians welcome the notion that "a massive central government"  is the key to any and all ailments; the solution to all perceived problems.

It comes down to a basic contradiction. True conservatives are constitutionalists, which translates to a more defined acknowledgement of the 10th amendment. Amazingly, many self professed liberals are more in line with Libertarians than Democrats. This is due to their lust for greater individual freedoms. 

When we draw these distinctions the battle line magically changes.


No comments:

Post a Comment