Being Conservative

In my thoughts, attitudes, and passions relevant to American politics, I am conservative. I find this word to be an increasingly negative way to describe myself. First, because many who are older than I am consider themselves “conservative”–but not in the way I do. They pride themselves in rhetoric which says laziness is the only cause of poverty, individualism and individual liberties are the heartbeat of the nation, government is always the problem, homosexuals are the root of all evil, immigr–YOU MEAN ALIENS are destroying this country! And liberals, you may as well hang them for treason. Second, because many who are my age assume that my self described conservatism means I heartily ascribe to the crude list of aforementioned beliefs–but such an assumption couldn’t be poorer. Although, I do have to be fair here, for many my age, this breed of conservative (which i hope to show isn’t really conservative at all) is the only type they’ve seen in action. Radicals like Michele Bachmann and her Tea Party Caucus in the House often describe themselves and their values as “conservative.” Increasingly, conservative is meaning unfeeling toward the poor, bigoted and hateful towards the homosexual, derogatory and unhelpful towards the immigrant. If you’re not conservative, you are dismissed, after all, you hate the country and you want to destroy it. You’re either ignorant about how government works best, or you’re some sort of domestic terrorist. Since this is the sort of crap that most people my age are used to hearing associated with conservative, I don’t blame them for reacting and taking pride in being themselves liberal. But I would like to make petition here. I am pleading with you my fellow millenial, do not let radicals on the far right, a very small and isolated part of the Right in America, define conservatism for you.

I’d like to consider myself a classical conservative. By that I mean that I see order as a good thing, and as a priority over unrestrained liberty. I would like to see traditional social institutions preserved. I prefer continuity and stability to rapid changes. I think that a good way forward for the United States includes a strong economy, and strong government beginning with the states, and brought to fruition in DC. However, unlike many who also call themselves “conservative”, I do not consider those with a more liberal philosophy to be evil. I admire liberals for their deep concerns about education and their compassion for the poor and the oppressed. I think there is strength in preserving tradition and strength in progress and newness.

Conservatism isn’t about rhetoric and winning arguments and angry old white men (with the exceptions of Palin and Bachmann) getting red in the face. Conservatism isn’t about a crazed mob with signs demonstrating their illiteracy. Conservatism isn’t about a lonely mentally deranged individual that kills an abortion doctor. Conservatism isn’t about cheating the poor and enabling the wealthy to accumulate. Being conservative, is about being moderate. It’s about recognizing the security that comes from tradition, tried and true methods of civil government. Conservatism is respecting and honoring those who brilliantly ensured the survival of our young republic, but that does not demand their divination–something the Tea Party is absolutely guilty of. Conservatism isn’t about smear campaigning, name calling, or elitism. Conservatism is a rich tradition of civility. Beginning with Alexander Hamilton–the father of our economy– and flowing up through the journalism of William F. Buckley. Being conservative, very often, means being contrarian, and holding a vast array of opinions. Thinking well about the issues that face us, and not rushing to harmful solutions. Being conservative is not about being trigger happy and seeking military conflict out. It’s about exhausting every possible alternative and weighing in the balance the morals and virtues at stake in that most dreaded capability of men–but of course recognizing that our ability to end oppression sometimes obligates we do so.

A lot to take in, and in typical fashion, I have not been conservative in my writing. Each of these individual inferences could be developed into its own essay, and perhaps someday after college midterms, when i have the time, I will do so. But for now, dear sister, dear brother, I beg of you to see past the “conservatives” of Washington D.C., and understand that there is goodness and a wealth of opportunity and order– both chief to the flourishing of any nation–in preserving traditions. Conservatism is chiefly required because, as Hamilton, my political hero has said: “The passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.” If conservatism hopes to survive as a popular political philosophy in the United States, we must put down the radicals and establish ourselves as the party that prefers order and security rooted in tradition, over an untamed sea of liberty.

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Obligatory Super Tuesday Post

Yes, as someone with a blog who enjoys such things, it is out of a sense of duty that I am writing this post, but I will not apologize for loving this corrupt game we call politics. It it a tremendous opportunity the American people have to cast votes today. We think of the people in Russia who will suffer under yet another Putin term due to the false democracy in the former Soviet Republic. So who did you vote for, who would you have voted for, or don’t you really care? Because I’ve not yet done this since starting the blog, we’ll take a look at the four remaining candidates, and I will endorse at least one of them.(yeah, maybe all four) There is no reason the candidates were numbered the way they are below:

#1: The Traditionalist, Rick Santorum¬†¬† Rick Santorum is an old school, conservative family man. Placing so much emphasis on social issues and values has many evangelicals excited about politics again. Although Santorum himself is Roman Catholic, his strong opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and the way in which he has articulated his position has caught the eyes and tugged at the hearts of many in the still profound evangelical sect of American politics. He was recently a senator from Pennsylvania, and voted on some very key legislative issues. On the economy and fiscal policy he is most nearly a moderate, having voted for the bailouts of the banks and auto industry, but generally opposing government involvement with corporations. Pennsylvania is one of those purple states, so you can’t expect their senators to bleed red and die on the constitution. Santorum seems to be a respectable man, and also somebody with a distinct ability, in this race, to connect with the average American. He speaks passionately, but on occasion gets himself into trouble on the same coin. Comments like “homosexuality should be seen no differently than beastiality”, though they may score points with some, cannot come from a person running for President in a country on the cutting edge of secularism. I appreciate the fact that Rick is unabashed about his definitions of morality, and his strong faith, and its remarkable how he has grown and become a real contender in the race. He would be a formidable foe to debate President Obama on traditional values and the family, but his muddied career when it comes to the economy, by far the leading issue of 2012, will plague him this Super Tuesday.

#2: The Constitutionalist, Ron Paul

Teens, hippies, lend me your ears. Liberty loving, Thomas Jefferson reincarnate is hear to deliver salvation from expanding government. Ron Paul has been for me the most fun to watch this primary season. Generally speaking he is socially liberal and fiscally conservative, sticking with the classic libertarian formula. He is the only candidate that is explicit with his plans to slash spending and a goal to cut the budget in half with the elimination of tax dollar vortexes like the Department of Education. His economics and his understanding of what will happen if we continue nf our current path is spot on. Perhaps the most detracting thing about Ron Paul is his isolationist foreign policy. It didn’t work for Tom Jefferson, and it definitely won’t work for Congressman Paul. With Mid-East turmoil, an ascending China, and always ominous Russia, it would be irresponsible and impractical for the United States to remove itself from the world stage. Ron Paul blames the United States for 9/11, claiming its government as the “obvious aggressor” in the attack. Another troubling dynamic is his “conviction” that Iran deserves nuclear weapons if they want them because “We have them don’t we? Why shouldn’t they?”. If you’re looking for someone who is serious about the deficit, serious about the constitution, and will seriously put your liberty above everything else, Ron Paul is your guy.

#3: The Business Man, Mitt Romney

Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. The front runner, the moderate, the presidential candidate. Mitt ran in 2008, and came in third, behind Mike Huckabee and eventual winner John McCain. His father was governor of Michigan, where he was born, and recently won a primary. Mitt Romney is not a far right extremist, he is not an isolationist, he is not a champion of social conservatism. Mitt Romney is the business man. He spent 25 years in the private sector building Bain Capital, he was president of the Winter Olympics, and he was a republican governor, that managed to lead the Kennedy-blue state of Massachusetts from the right. To call Mitt a moderate may be fair, but as governor, he was irrevocably conservative. Besides having the best record on the economy, and the most experience, Mitt Romney is the most organized, has the most money, and he is the best debater in the group. He ran in 2008 and received praise for running a very strong campaign despite eventually losing. He launched a new campaign just about a year after President Obama was elected, and hasn’t looked back yet. He has already been endorsed by nearly 2/3 of the Republican governors, including Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, and John Kasich, all three of whom are in states that Barack Obama won in 2008. Stated simply, Mitt is the best equipped to defeat Barack Obama. The most proficient criticism he faces, is that he is a flip flop. Frankly, he has flipped all the ways I and others on the right wanted him too, so we’ll call it square. He truly is the Hamilton to Paul’s Jefferson. (<You’re welcome fans of history)

#4: The Visionary, Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House, Newt has always had a gift for improvising and ingenuity. Most recently he is noted for a grandiose scheme to build a permanent base on the moon, but this comes in a time when Americans are struggling to build stable incomes. He is the most philosophical, and the most inventive, yet through it all he still seems able to energize a crowd. Baggage from Newt’s personal life stunted his early primary success, but if he is able to win handily in his home state of Georgia tonight, as well as in Tennessee, the old professor could be back in the hunt.

The Endorsement: I greatly appreciate Rick Santorum’s message of tradition and strong families, Ron Paul’s love for liberty and the constitution, and Newt Gingrich’s skill at the podium and his ability to reform. Although all these things are needed, and have contributed to making this country great, if Barack Obama is not challenged by a strong, and united front of independents, moderates, and conservatives we don’t stand a chance at victory. Priority number one of the next election must be the defeat of the Barack Obama and his destructive policy. That is why for 2012, Mitt Romney is the candidate I am supporting in the primaries, and hope to see challenge Barack Obama for the presidency.

Be sure to comment or email A.J. at reformedcal1517@yahoo.com