Friday, October 31, 2008

Conservatism in Exile

Before I get into this, let's get the housekeeping out of the way.

Today's post is a blueprint for conservatism's greater return. On Monday, I''ll get to my final lineup of and inforama extravaganza on the candidates we will (except for you early voting wankers) have to *gag* pick from. And on Tuesday, we go live blog with an all-day chat.

If you are interested in adding the live blog to your blog, drop me an email, and I'll be getting the code out to you around midnight. It will go live on my blog at 12:05 AM election day, and I will gladly inform you I'm done getting to know myself better and will be engaging in slumber.


Introduction

Come Wednesday (I hope), we will know who our next President will be. But as for a conservative leader, we have found ourselves wanting. This is nothing new, though. Conservatism has always been a tough sell:
"Conservatism is an active intellectual pursuit; it requires a constant vigilance. It has nothing to do with feelings." - Rush Limbaugh
This is why conservatism needs leaders who actively pursue the principles I'll be espousing below. If we forget, or let up, then we suffer the creep of liberalism, of apathy, and of the decay of thought.


Defining Conservatism
"2 b: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change ; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)" - Merriam-Webster.com
It's a good start (as I am a dictionary whore), but the principals of conservatism are thus:
  • Lower, simpler taxes that allow for the maximum opportunity for all.
  • A return to more local control, thus creating a smaller government.
  • Honoring values that have sustained us and made us stronger through our country's trials
  • Strength and leadership in an unstable world
  • personal responsibility.

The Role of Government
"There's a reason the Founding Fathers created a limited government. When a government ceases to be of laws, but of men, then the capriciousness and evil of men can consume it." - Patrick M
The Constitution, and the subsequent Bill of Rights, was designed specifically to limit the power of the federal government to specific activities so that it could not gather power to itself. As a government grows in size and power and scope, its central tendency is to usurp freedoms of individuals for the "common good." We of course, have allowed the government to do just that, so that state governments find themselves controlled further by Washington. This pull toward centralization, fought by Founders like Thomas Jefferson, is the tendency that conservatism must fight.

The Next Four Years

Conservative leadership must stand up the next four years and fight like hell every day to explain the dangers we are spiraling into. With a President McCain, the task is to turn an enemy of conservatism by leading him along the path. No compromises. No reaching across the aisle. Learn from the mistakes of the Bush administration and the 6 years the GOP helped him bloat the government like a constipated binge eater.

With a President Obama, there must be a focus on holding the line until 2010, when the GOP, with new leadership (bye-bye, Boehner), can be ready with a new Contract with America. Only this time, they need to stick to it and not let Washington go to their heads (or wallets, or dicks, etc.). And either Obama will play the populism like Clinton or go one-termer, Carter style.


The Short List and Shorter Conclusion

To win back a country that the GOP has fed a bigger line of bullshit than "The check is in the mail," there are a handful of issues that can ignite interest in conservatism.
  • The Fairtax- I can think of nothing simpler than to take away the power of the government to manipulate people through the obscene tax code. The FairTax does this, and almost everybody pays less taxes, except those who are evading them. Plus the resulting economic boom would kick ass and the IRS would be dead.
  • Abolishing Departments - Pick the ones nobody likes and kill them. The FCC can shut up, for example. Other killables: Department of Labor, Department of Education. Their power shifts back to the states. Then condense a couple others (Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, and Department of the Interior; Department of Housing & Urban Development, and Department of Health & Human Services; Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Defense) That's just some savings off the top of my head.
  • Fiscal responsibility and leadership - Reduce, reuse, recycle. Instead of the government producing reams of bullshit, get it lean and mean, or better yet, skinny and pissed. This, of course, means running the government as though they are out to make a profit. And adjust the taxes so it will be close every year. And if they want to promote something in the private sector that government can use (like electric cars), then buy them by the assload.
  • Wean - This is the big one. Programs that involve transfer payments must go, but slowly. The big one that I see is Social Security. Yeah, I said Social Security. We retire it in say, 50 years. But that means figuring the point, say 15 years after the plan begins, to start freezing, then reducing the benefit, or setting up the transfer to the private sector, or to the states if they want to piss with it.
Okay, there it is. The GOP can run with it and really fix the government once and for all. Or they can continue to struggle in their half-assed attempts at pretending they lead anything other than on the list of politicians who should, come the day we go fully socialist, be shot for dereliction of duty.

21 comments:

TAO said...

Actually, the biggest issue for Conservatives is the issue of who their constitutents are. On one had you have the religious right which the Conservatives co opted with abortion and gay marriage. Then you have the business interests which they co opted with tax cuts and increased government spending/borrowing. Then you have the low tax group which again was attracted to tax cuts and borrowing.

Sadly, if you look at the federal budget the only room you have to cut the government budget in any meaningful way is the Defense Department budget. As a conservative I believe that we should have a strong NATIONAL defense...which means we protect our borders. We do not need to get into nation building and we do not need to have our troops stationed all over the world protecting everyone so that they do not have to spend the money defending themselves.

Its the same logic as weaning people from welfare...if you believe that everyone should work and that the government should get out of the business of supplying people with a free ride then the same thing holds true with defense.

TAO said...

Ah, another point, and this one includes values. A conservative should not assume that whatever values that one holds dear today must be defended at all costs. Based upon your post, we could assume that a conservative in the 50's would have supported the discrimination against blacks because at the time we were a great country and obviously, it could be construed that discrimination was one of the " Honoring values that have sustained us and made us stronger"

Its like abortion....if there was a constitutional ban against abortion then obviously, that would make government bigger and give it more dominance in our lives. Which gives you a contradiction. I do not want big government for any reason and while I am against abortion I also do not want the government dictating to me who I am to live my life....so I have to err on the side of no amendment in regards to abortion...because I see government as a bigger evil. I can deal with abortion on a personal level but I can do nothing against big government

Toad734 said...

So you want me to pay Social Security all my life but when I retire, I will get no Social Security because it all went to Exxon, AIG, Leahman Brothers, Halliburton, etc.

That is not an entitlement as you people define it, it's mine, I paid for it, I own it and I expect it back. I say we cut the "defense" department budget, stop giving money to our enemies and the people who help create enemies for us. Stop subsidizing losses, invest in renewable forms of Domestic energy and education and highly regulate medical costs. One of the biggest parts of the budget is medicare and medicade. By reducing those costs, we could reduce the budget. And of course the huge gorilla in the room, Iraq. We won, its over, mission accomplished, time to go.

Bullfrog said...

tao & toad: you guys should have voted for Ron Paul in the primaries; he was running on the issues you guys just described.

I believe true conservatism today is best represented by folks like Ron Paul, Alan Keyes, and Chuck Baldwin. But if Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are examples of "true conservatism" maybe I am Libertarian(ish)?

TAO said...

Bullfrog...

I live in Kentucky...our primaries are a waste of time! We are way at the end of the cycle so we only get whats left.

All I know is that Obama is better than letting the Republicans stray even further from their roots....

Besides right now we might need a little democratic support for the little guy to get us through a serious financial crsis...the stock market, unemployment, and household incomes always do better under a democratic administration.

But long term we need a Ron Paul...

Toad734 said...

Ron Paul isn't completely crazy you know. I mean, I would vote for him over any of the other Republicans.

Patrick M said...

Tao: Actually, the biggest issue for Conservatives is the issue of who their constitutents are.

Okay, here's the first problem. Conservatism is a philosophy, not a political party. Conservatives are a diverse group that are bound together in varying degrees, around the principles of conservatism (and except for the times the word appears at the beginning of a sentence, those "c"s are small). Parties that subscribe to conservatism are primarily the Libertarian and Republican parties. People and parties join us and serve the philosophy. The philosophy is not twisted to fit people.

Sadly, if you look at the federal budget the only room you have to cut the government budget in any meaningful way is the Defense Department budget.

Are you NICKING FUTS?!?!?!?!? While I'm sure there are many ways we can streamline the Defense department, it's one of the lower priorities. The key is to clean up the sprawl that our federal government has become, shift as much as we can to the states, and return to almost a pre-Civil War mode of governance (without all the slavery and bad stuff, of course).

Ah, another point, and this one includes values.

You'll notice I left that out of my post. That's probably because I'm of a more libertarian-oriented conservative. So you'd probably find I agree with you on much there. The key is reduction of government, not slamming through social issues based on personal beliefs.

Toad: If I thought Social Security was going to be there when we hit the retirement age, I'd be as pissed as you. But it won't be unless the program is radically changed.

And the idea that the government is there to subsidize (and that's what the program became despite the best of intentions) retirement by taking our money now is the wrong way to think.

And my ideas would make sure that you would get your retirement cash. Just not cash from the government tit.

TAO said...

Patrick, one of the biggest issues with government is exactly what can and cannot be handled by states. Commerce, environment, for example. The internet is slowly making states and countries irrelevant.

I grew up in a miliatry family and we moved every year I was in school. I have a sister who "finsihed" the first grade in one state but when we moved to another state they said her birthdate meant that she could not go to second grade in that state so she got two years in first grade. People move alot more now than what they used to...that is a problem.

I do not think the real arqument is between the states and federal government but rather between what is government and what is individual. Realistically if the federal government cut off its funding how many states would go belly up?

We need infrastructure but states cannot handle anything of that nature.

I do believe that too many people and corporations look to the federal government to bail them out of their own mess...

I also believe that the changes enacted to the bankruptcy bill were done so to make it harder for people to start their own companies...with the internet too many big companies saw start ups as threats...so, by making bankrupcty harder it makes people think twice before taking on the risk of taking a chance...

I am a small business owner and I could go and on about how state and federal government does everything they can do to make it impossible to grow a business. If Paulsen would give me $150,000 I would easily create 3 new jobs tomorrow...but they are giving billions to Wall Street who are cutting over a 100,000 jobs...

Sometimes I wonder who exactly does our government report to? Work for? Who's interests are they protecting?

So, now you got me thinking about ideas for my blog....

By the way, I do not consider Rush Limbaugh a conservative...he's just a loudmouth...an Al Sharpton of the right....

Patrick M said...

Bullfrog: Conservatism is somewhere between Rush Limbaugh and Ron Paul.

So just accept I'm the source for true conservatism and bask in the glow. :)

Tao, Toad, and Bullfrog: Ron Paul is damn near the bottom of people I'd vote for. Not because of his positions, most of which are closer to mine than McCain's asinine stuff. But he's not a leader.

However, someone who is a powerful conservative with the ability to inspire (the last best one was Reagan) could sweep into power easily. It's my thought that people understand that the government is not the source of good. But when the two parties stand around in a happy circle jerk, then the voting is simply a choice between fast and slow suicide.

Tao: Good points all here.

Although, if you want to know, most of my formative political years were fueled by listening to Rush. I have learned that if you get deep enough into someone's thoughts, you're bound to pull out the best thoughts.

(and you have to admit he's right about the necessary mental rigors required to be conservative)

Jennifer said...

["Lower, simpler taxes that allow for the maximum opportunity for all.
A return to more local control, thus creating a smaller government.
Honoring values that have sustained us and made us stronger through our country's trials
Strength and leadership in an unstable world
personal responsibility."

Can I hear an AMEN!! Those are spot on, Patrick!
___________________________________

[Are you NICKING FUTS?!?!?!?!? ]

I always get such a kick out of that line, yeah, I'm a bit weird, I certainly admit it!
__________________________________

[That's probably because I'm of a more libertarian-oriented conservative. ]

That is where we differ, I tend to be conservative in social issues too, but to each their own!

Patrick M said...

Jennifer: That is where we differ, I tend to be conservative in social issues too, but to each their own!

The problem with social issues is that they are driven more by passion than rational thought, thus they are more nebulous and harder to fight for. Plus, when we straighten out the economics, the social issues can be fought more effectively.

Jennifer said...

["The problem with social issues is that they are driven more by passion than rational thought, thus they are more nebulous and harder to fight for"]

That is true, and I think that is why when discussing those issues it is usually a more intense debate. It's not facts, but feelings!

Toad734 said...

Patrick:

Don't look now, but from what I can see with the two current campaigns, Obama far and away exceeds McCain when it comes to leadership. What's the point of a leader? To install confidence so people will follow you. No one, to date, has generated as many followers in American Politics than Obama has. No one has but togethers such a grass roots effort and changed the face of politics than Obama. If it's leadership you are looking for, it certainly isn't in the McCain Palin camp.

Strike two on why you shouldn't vote for McCain.

Jennifer said...

The problem with that theory is Hilter was also a good leader.

Arthurstone said...

Jennifer typed:

'The problem with that theory is Hilter was also a good leader.'


What is wrong with you? Hitler?

Get serious.

Talk about poisoning the well. This kind of thing is pathetic.

Even at your age one should know better.

Patrick M said...

Arthur, let me clarify for Jennifer.

Hitler was a great leader. He was also an evil madman and the world was better off when he snuffed himself.

And even most of the right will agree that Obama is not Hitler.

Toad asserted: What's the point of a leader? To install confidence so people will follow you.

The important point is to examine the leader. A leader who can lead us into ruin is not a leader we want. And that's what we see in Obama.

Anonymous said...

Only a republican would say Hitler was a great leader; enjoy your trip to the political wilderness. It's people like you who have successfully drove us there.

Patrick M said...

Anon: Don't be a fucking idiot and read the history books. Hitler took a beaten, broken country and turned it into a powerhouse that overran continental Europe, beat on the Russian, snuffed 6 million people. You don't do that and suck as a leader.

It's not a good thing, but it's what it is.

And how conservatives drove the GOP into the wilderness, I have no fucking clue how that happened, especially since we got the short end from the GOP heierarchy.

Jennifer said...

Anon, you schmuck! Just because he was evil doesn't mean he wasn't a great leader.

There is a big difference there!

Patrick M said...

Jennifer: I wasn't blunt enough with the anonydolt?

Jennifer said...

No, yours was a lot better than mine actually, I just had to add my 2 cents!