Source: The New Democrat
What I’m going to do with this piece is explain what conservatism is in the political sense which is conservatism at it’s core and what it isn’t. As well as other political factions that use the conservative label and call themselves Conservatives and believe they own the real conservatism. As well as other forms of conservatism like religious conservatism especially Christian Conservatism or cultural conservatism, ( if you prefer ) that might be conservative in a religious or cultural sense, but not in a governmental or constitutional sense.
Cultural or Religious-Conservatives, would like to see the government bigger in some areas, who take anti-conservative pro-statist position on amendment’s like the First and Fourth Amendment’s. And even would like to see the U.S. Constitution amended in some areas like as it relates to the First and Fourth Amendment’s, since the U.S. Supreme Court have consistently ruled against them. Like in areas of speech as it relates to music and other forms of entertainment, pornography. Christian-Conservatives would like to see homosexuality outlawed and for that to happen they need to amend the Fourth Amendment to do that since the U.S. Supreme Court keeps ruling against their anti-homosexuality laws.
When I’m talking about conservatism, I’m talking about it in a political, constitutional, and governmental sense. The role of government in America based on the U.S. Constitution. Not one’s or others religious and cultural values and believe certain things should be illegal and legal, because of their religious and cultural values, not based on the U.S. Constitution and what the role of government is in a constitutional sense.
The American right-wing even before you get to racist groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and others are made into four ideological camps, at least as I see it.
Conservative-Libertarians ( the real Conservatives ) the Barry Goldwater’s of the world. People who I could call the political Conservatives who look at public policy and government through a constitutional sense, not a cultural or religious sense. Who don’t believe their religious and cultural values are so superior over everyone else that their values should be the laws of the land, even if they’re unconstitutional at least with how the Constitution currently reads.
Conservatives are pro-strong national defense, but believe in a limited defense. And don’t believe America can govern and police the world by itself and want to invade other countries because they don’t like who is current in charge of that country. Who believe in fiscal responsibility and that deficits and national debt actually do matter. ( Unlike the current Republican Congress and Administration )
Conservatives believe the U.S. Constitution and fiscal responsibility go together and that one way to keep deficits and the debt from going up is by limiting what government actually tries to do for the people. And doesn’t increase government spending simply because they don’t want to raise taxes or cut spending spending in other areas. And don’t believe borrowing money to meet current political objectives is irresponsible. ( Unlike the current Republican Congress and Administration )
When an actual Conservative like a Barry Goldwater or a Senator Rand Paul or Senator Mike Lee, Senator Jeff Flake, Representative Justin Amash, Representative Adam Kingsinger, and other Republicans in Congress in both chambers, say they believe in individual freedom, you should believe them. They don’t just believe in low taxation and regulations on the wealthy and business’s, religious freedom for Christians, free speech for their political allies.
Conservatives believe in both economic and personal freedom. Believe both in property rights, as well as privacy rights, and free speech and not just political speech, but free speech broadly. That it’s not the job of government to protect people from themselves, even if those actions offends Christian-Conservatives moral and religious values. That people should be free until they hurt innocent people with their freedom.
Conservative-Libertarians obviously don’t represent the entire right-wing in America, just the Center-Right. You have Christian-Conservatives and you even have different factions in the Christian-Conservative movement. You have Christian-Conservatives who are hawkish on defense, believe in low taxation and regulation on business, believe in fiscal responsibility, but also believe that government can be useful and has a role in helping people who are struggling. Both in helping private charities through subsidies and grants, but also through public assistance programs. But who have big government statist positions on social issues. Like free speech as it relates to entertainment, but also sexuality, and other personal choice issues like alcohol and illegal narcotics.
And then there are the Christian-Nationalists or just plain American Nationalists in America, who are just as conservative as the Conservative-Libertarians on economic policy and national defense, but less interventionist and internationalist than the Conservative-Libertarians, But who are as Far-Right as big government on social and cultural issues. Who believe freedom of religion doesn’t apply to Muslims and perhaps other non-Christians, to use as an example. Who believe the right to privacy doesn’t exist and that homosexuality can be outlawed and you don’t need warrants to pickup suspects, especially if they’re suspected of terrorism.
Nationalists tend to have fascist leanings when it comes to the free press and that government can shut down media outlets that they see as Un-American. We’re currently seeing this with how President Trump and his allies deal with media outlets that are critical of the Trump Administration and have reported negative information about President Trump and his Administration.
Nationalists tend to be anti-immigration, at least anti-non-European immigration and in some cases even anti-non-Northern-European immigration. This is basically the Phyllis Schlafly wing of the Republican Party. The best way to describe Nationalist Republicans, is Ron Paul on economic and foreign policy and Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee, the Christian Coalition on social policy. Pro-small government on economic policy, but pro-big government on social policy.
And there are the Neoconservatives on the Right, people who are actually fairly progressive on economic policy. Things like Welfare To Work from the mid 1990s is actually a very Progressive Republican idea. That we as a country should put low-income non-workers, who are currently on public assistance, to work and to school. So they can make a good life for themselves and no longer need public assistance at all. But Neoconservatives also gave us supply side economics from the late 1970s and early 1980s. That now three President’s have put into law. President Reagan, President George W. Bush, and now President Trump. This idea that deep tax cuts for business’s and wealthy individuals, pay for themselves. Which of course has never been proven to be true.
Neoconservatives also gave us the 2003 War in Iraq and have the belief that regimes that pose a threat not just to us or our allies, but to their own people, should be eliminated and that it’s the job of America wipeout authoritarianism and authoritarian regimes, especially if they also fund terrorism. The George W. Bush Administration, is really the only neoconservative administration that we’ve seen in America.
Neoconservatives are also big believers in the public safety net, as long as it’s used through conservative market principles and used to move people out of poverty and into the self-sufficiency. Welfare To Work is a perfect example of that. Neoconservatives also tend to be racially, ethically, and colorblind, pro-immigration. Things along with their approach to the safety net that I tend to respect. They also tend to be hawkish not just on defense but law enforcement as well and tend not to believe in civil liberties.
To ask what it means to be a Conservative, I almost have to answer that with a question. Are you talking about Constitutional Conservatives, ( the Conservative-Libertarians ) are you talking about Christian-Conservatives who look at public policy and cultural sense through a a conservative religious fundamentalist vantage point, are you talking about Neoconservatives who in some cases actually sound very progressive like as it relates to public assistance?
When I think of Conservatives, I think of political Conservatives who are strict believers in limited government based on the U.S. Constitution ( Conservative-Libertarians, if you will ) people who believe in conserving our Constitution and individual rights. Not forcing their religious and cultural values on the rest of the country through the force of law. People who judge people by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin, or their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexuality.