Monday, November 3, 2008

October 30, 2008
A case for a Conservative Party
As conservatives prepare to get shellacked in the House & Senate, and lose in a presidential electoral landslide in 2008 (I hope I’m wrong), it is right to reflect on how we got here, and how we get back on track. Conservatives need to start rebuilding now on the ashes of this election failure.
To that end, I believe in “clarity over agreement”. (Thank you Dennis Prager!) It is time to reflect on what a conservative is and how our values are different from Liberals. The thoughts and list below will not be novel. These are mainstream traditional American values. However, in putting together these thoughts and this list, I am also making the case that we are not being well served by the Republican Party, and now might be the time to consider forming a Conservative Party in the United States.
Today’s Republican Party only represent themselves. Republican elite are out of touch and they can’t, or don’t know how to, make a case for Conservative principles. Because of their actions, Republicans can no longer be trusted to reduce the size and influence of government. Reduce taxes, yes. Reduce government size and influence, no. They have forgotten that there are two sides to the ledger. It’s the tax and spend party vs. the spend party. Not much of a choice.
Ronald Reagan had his flaws, but at least he represented ideas, values, and principles. When you think of Ronald Reagan, the first thing that pops into most of our heads is Conservative. He talked about what made America great-- our Conservative heritage. Rarely did he opine about being a Republican. We need a leader today who thinks about being a Conservative first.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of Conservative values, and I am not claiming to be omniscient. This is a list of core Conservative values that have made America great for over 200 years. The real tragedy of the last two generations is that kids have been raised not knowing what American distinctiveness is. I am making the case that you must teach Conservative values to each generation as if the agreement was never won. This is a continuous battle. You can never assume you “won." A nation is in trouble if a whole generation cannot articulate what it stands for.
So what is a Conservative, and what do Conservatives believe in???
First, a Conservative believes in “Liberty over Equality”. Unlike in France (and much of Western Europe), where the motto is “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity”, the United States is the only nation founded on the idea: the proposition that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Equality is not a traditional American value. Americans believe in equal opportunity only, not equal outcomes.
American values can also be tidily summed up by the change in your pocket. “IN GOD WE TRUST”, “LIBERTY”, and “E PLURIBUS UNUM”.
IN GOD WE TRUST. American was built on Judeo-Christian values. But we also believe that no matter what religion you practice, you are welcome. Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, if you are a strong believer, you will not find a more tolerant country in the world. It just doesn’t ring true when you hear about American intolerance to other religions. No country in the history of the world has been more welcome to more people of different religious backgrounds than the United States.
LIBERTY. It is no accident that in American you can find both the most religious people in the Western Hemisphere and also the strongest yearning for individual freedom. And with that yearning comes the value of personal responsibility. You work hard, you follow the rules, and you have a greater chance of becoming successful here than any other country in the history of planet earth. No matter your religion, race, or gender.
E PLURIBUS UNUM. It’s hard to have this if you don’t first secede that there is such a thing as “American values”.
*** Again, a comprehensive list this is not. Do all conservatives agree with me, obviously not. These are my thoughts, only. But it is at least a good start. I hope to be able to expand on these issues in the coming months and also add to the list. ***
A conservative believes in lower taxes AND cutting spending. Again, there are two sides of the ledger.
A conservative believes the United States has done vastly more good than bad. No other country in the history of planet earth has done more and offered more opportunity to more people, especially to religious, racial, and gender minorities.
A conservative believes in giving to private charity. Private charities are generally more efficient with their donations.
A conservative believes weakness is a provocation. The US must keep a strong, well funded military.
A conservative believes free market capitalism is the best way to prosperity.
A conservative believes high taxes is the worst way to prosperity and also makes government more powerful.
A conservative believes a tax on a corporation is a tax on the consumer.
A conservative believes it is not right for one generation to ask another generation to pay for their needs, like their retirement, when they have spent their own retirement dollars already.
A conservative believes does not expect to rely on Social Security to fund their retirement.
A conservative believes compassion should be the basis for decision on the micro-level, not the macro-level.
A conservative does not see themselves as victims. Thinking of yourself as a victim gives you a reason and permission to do evil.
A conservative believes the baby boomer generation was the worst generation.
A conservative believes in lots of legal immigration of skilled workers that companies need, and no illegal immigration. That makes us pro-immigration.
A conservative believes in free trade. A tax on imports is a tax on the consumer.
A conservative does not believe in bailouts. This goes for individuals as well as corporations. A conservative believes that individuals and markets need to be able to fail. Delaying the inevitable only makes the pain worse in the end.
A conservative believes in gay rights and keeping marriage between one man and one woman. Yes, these are not mutually exclusive ideas.
A conservative does not believe in universal health care, universal prescription drug plans, or penalizing people or companies for a lack of insurance coverage.
A conservative believes there is good AND evil. Good must be encouraged… Evil must be confronted and beaten.
A conservative believes liberals are naive and wrong. Liberals believe conservatives are bad or evil.
A conservative believes schools should raise standards, not lower them.
A conservative believes in voting for anyone who promotes and believes in our values. Any race, any gender, any religion.
A conservative believes there is a cultural war being waged in American today. It must be fought, and it must be won.
A conservative believes in safety nets and private charity, not long-term government welfare.
A conservative believes their party should be the party of ideas.
A conservative believes one of the many things that make the United States great is our foundation of Judeo/ Christian values.
A conservative believes in the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion.
A conservative believes that the private sector invents new products, allocates resources efficiently, and grows economies, not government.
A conservative believes a generation of conservatives being called racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, etc. has had its consequences. Conservatives are all too often afraid to speak their mind and fight for their values.
It is time for conservatives to articulate what we believe in, and then fight for it.