Opinion by Chas Cornweller
Conservatism, is a concept that should be so very easy to understand and grasp, you would think it would be a world-wide sensation. It isn’t. I understand conservative. I am a father with daughters. No one and I mean no one is more a conservative than a dad with daughters. You want to put a lid on everything. And a double dead bolt on the front and back doors. Television would be banned for the first, ah, I don’t know…eighteen years. No riding in cars with boys (only their father and possibly the grandfathers, but they too would have to pass a battery of tests) All schools would be mandatory non-coed. And boys over the age of twelve, no, ten, no better make it nine, would be kept outside a fifty foot parameter anywhere my daughters were at any given time. But I digress, this really isn’t conservatism, just the ranting lunacy of a father with daughters. Which brings me to my point. What is conservatism? According to Webster Collegiate Ninth edition it is this: Conservatism n. a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party. 2 b : a political disposition to preserve that which is established b : a political philosophy base on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change 3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change.
Which of any of these definitions define anything that is remotely happening in politics today? Anyone? The only definition I find that comes close is number 2, b…a political disposition to preserve what is established. And I mean that by, any politician who is predisposed to preserve his seat of power. But, you and I both know that pertains to both conservative and liberal politicians. So, no, that doesn’t really fit either. I could sift the definition down to a simple matter of “Maintaining the Status Quo.” No change or slow to change. I also have read (not in Webster’s Dictionary) that conservatives want smaller or no government at all! How would that work? I am going out on a limb here and guess that they mean a smaller “Federal” government. I can see that. But wait! Didn’t Ronald Regan actually increase the national debt? Didn’t he use a borrow for credit incentive to actually increase our nation’s debt from around 1 trillion dollars to nearly 3 trillion dollars? That’s a national debt increase of three hundred percent! Regan also raised taxes eleven times during his presidency, though the tax burden went down. What? You may ask…You see, by decreasing the tax burden substantially in 1981, he would renege on the tax cuts and increase taxes slowly over the next seven years. Sound like smaller government to you? And Ronald Regan to most conservatives is the go to guy of conservatism. Hardly. A major conservative was Barry Goldwater. He exemplified conservatism, even when it cost him politically. True conservatism is a bitter pill to swallow.
Most Americans, save for the very, very, very rich…would not do well under a truly conservative government. Especially after regulations are removed from the monetary systems and bankers and investors (all very conservative themselves) would be allowed to run amuck with everyone else’s money and invest in heaven knows what, but it wouldn’t benefit you or I, just the bankers and investors. You see, the point of conservatism is stability. It is maintaining the status quo and continuing down that path that is so straight and narrow. The problem is, if the things are going bad, do you continue on down that road, neither turning left nor right nor going back the way you came? (like during the Great Depression for example) Do you just muck on through? Are do you consider alternates? If a business (or many businesses) are destroying a healthy and meaningful way of living in the name of profits, do you just allow that? If a policy is heading us toward war and the destruction of another people and their land, because that policy says that our way is correct and true and just and their way is an anathema to our way of thinking, but in actuality it is a pretense to enable the war profiteers to profit, do we just continue? Conservatives would have you think so. In fact, many would insist. They would be so embolden to call in their lesser educated friends from the right of conservatism to insure the insistence of their rightness. It seems conservatives tend to have a bit of a bully within them.
But the conservatives I know are somewhat different from the way conservatives are portrayed in today’s government. Most are well educated, a few are not. Many enjoy a good debate and are affable when doing so. On some points I tend to agree with them. On many other points, not so much. I have found that the conservative with a strong background in world history is the more knowledgeable, amiable debater. But then again, the same holds true with my liberal friends. In other words, it is very difficult to engage in a proper discourse with someone who doesn’t know the difference between William Jennings Bryan and Billy Graham. Or, has never sought out the root causes of World War One and World War Two and discovered the fact that they basically were all the same war. With a recess in the middle, so people could find out that war really was the impetus for war profiteering. Conservatives just want to blame the Bolsheviks/Facist, Liberals want to blame the Capitalist. Mothers just want their sons (and now daughters) to come home alive and in one piece and somewhat sane. Truth is, there are no conservatives during wartime and there are no liberals. Just butchers and their victims.
So, who are these conservatives I speak of? Where do they come from and what is their pedigree? Is it truly a case of “I’ve got Mine, yours is up to You!”? Or is it something fundamentally more complex? Why is there a sense of it’s an exclusive club? And I mean exclusive like, if your background is such and such, you are not welcome here. Or is it more like, “Join us and you’ll be one of Us!”? It’s hard to wrap my head around and so I can just guess which it is. I hear so many different arguments coming from my conservative friends. But then, I see who they latch onto in their political choices for candidates. I watch how they seem to blindly follow their choices down a dark path to fiscal irresponsibility time and time again (fiscal responsibility – a BIG conservative concept!) only to blame another source for their money woes. (Accountability – yet another conservative concept). So, I am beginning to wonder if most of these conservatives are really conservatives at all!
And lastly, since they seem so adept at laying blame at liberals’ feet for the mess we’re in, what is their game plan? I mean, a truly conservative game plan. Something where everyone benefits and no one gets hurt. Well, everyone but the really, really, really disenfranchised, because everyone knows, they will always be around. But, seriously, what is the plan? Is it a Reganesque type plan? You know, reduce taxes greatly and then edge them back up again all the while borrowing and spending? Or maybe a W. Bush plan and invade a sovereign nation on the pretext of destructive weapons? Or is it a plan where you tell folks that there will be no new taxes during your tenure, but you raise them just the same. Thank you, George H. Walker Bush. Seriously, I would like to know what exactly conservatives would like to do to make our government streamlined, efficient and effective. What is the plan?