Conservatism: What it is and why it is needed?

Conservatism is by today’s standards closely associated with Edmund Burke’s philosophy. I think it goes beyond that, in that it is more than merely a political doctrine. It is, in my estimation, a way of life, a code of conduct that associates one’s property with one’s liberty. For how can one truly be a free man when his property is not his to do with as he wishes? Russell Kirk, a man who has had a big impact on 20th century conservatism and has helped to shape it going into the new millennia was quoted as saying that conservatism is “the negation of ideology.”

How is that ‘negation of ideology’ translated into today’s conservative movement? By its very nature the term conservative is derived from the Latin verb, conservare, meaning to preserve or to save. So how do we arrive at what seems to be an oxy-moron such as ‘modern conservatism?’ How does one combine 21st century thinking with a traditional approach to life and politics? It’s not that difficult, really. I think Kirk was onto something important when he called it ‘the negation of ideology.’ For if one is to look at the Statist’s modus operandi, it is clear that amassing power and expanding the role of government in the life of the “masses” is his number one priority. It has been said that the far left, which is the controlling faction of the Democratic Party at this time, is part and parcel with big government. In other words, the Democratic Party needs big government for power and big government needs the Democratic Party to exist. It is a symbiotic relationship that is troubling to say the least and dangerous in the extreme.

To be honest, some Republican Presidents have increased government spending as well. Let’s look at Ronald Reagan. He did increase government, but he did it in a slightly different way. Reagan dramatically cut the role of the Federal Government in domestic programs and shifted the focus to increasing the military. Of course, this is well known today to be one of the leading reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union. So this begs the question, did Reagan increase or decrease the role of government in our lives? On the domestic front, he dramatically decreased it, so the argument can be made that he was a small-government conservative. If one takes into the account the expanded size of the Federal Government due to the military build-up during the Reagan years then the answer seems less clear unless you remember one key factor, our Constitution. It specifically calls for the Federal Government to provide for the common defense; it does not call for entitlements, or other socialistic programs. So in retrospect, Reagan was definitely a true conservative. It is very unfortunate that we do not have a true conservative in the White House at this time.

Obama is the most pure statist in American history to ever occupy the Oval Office. If you look at the unprecedented spending undertaken by this administration, then you see that we are on a course of financial ruin.
• $787 billion stimulus package
• $410 billion omnibus spending bill
• $700 billion Wall Street bailout package
• $3.6 trillion budget
To assail his critics, Obama promised to find $17 billion in cuts from his gargantuan budget. If it weren’t so scary, it would be laughable. As Senator Judd Gregg (R N-H) said, “It’s as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spigot on at full speed.”

But it actually gets worse. ProjectionEntitlement Programs Set to Outpace GDPs from the General Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office show that spending on entitlements will outpace economic growth from 147% to a whopping 331% by 2030. That means with our Gross Domestic Product at 72%, we will be spinning our wheels as a nation to try and cover the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to mention any universal health plan that Obama may get passed.

So what we, the American public have been stuck with is the bill for a pure statist’s Utopian dream. Can we afford this? Can our children or our grand-children? The answer is no. This is only one of the many reasons why we need conservatism so much right now.

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By anticsrocks Posted in Op-Ed

19 comments on “Conservatism: What it is and why it is needed?

  1. Once again, my friend, you have failed to state or consider the times that we live in when it comes to spending as it pertains to President Obama. Reagan, by today’s standards, accounting for inflation, spent huge amounts of money. So did both Bush’s, especially the latter. One can’t be a conservative spending billions on unnecessary wars. Remember the words you wrote, conserve means to save! Obama was dealt unquestionably the toughest hand ever to play. Multiple wars, deficit spending by his predeccesor, a recession of enormous proportion, financial sector peril, housing crisis, unemployment not seen since the depression, etc., etc. Factor in all that to the equation and one must find a way to put money back into the economy. Now that it seems to be working and the economists are saying the worst is over, conservative values which have never been fully practiced by anyone religiously, will become a thing of the past. Regulation may be the new buzz word as we seek to control those who put us in this mess.

    • Ndfence, if you are really that concerned about the spending by Bush 43, then where is your outrage at Obama quadrupling the debt? Where is your outrage at his insane spending, err “stimulus” package? It had very little to do with stimulating the economy and much more to do with rewarding his campaign contributors and others who put him in power. If it were about the economy, then it would have been nearly fully spent by now. What, like 12% has been spent, with the bulk of it to be spent right before the midterm elections? I am not a proponent of Keynesian economic policy, but every economist agrees that pumping massive amounts of money into an economy gives a temporary boost. It isn’t sustainable, but then the stimulus is designed to give that “bump” to the economy right before the 2010 elections. Reagan scaled back government to a great degree domestically. Would you have let him cut the military and still have the Soviet Union to contend with? Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, THEY were the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

      I warn you, my friend the worst is not over. Massive inflation is on its way due to the equally massive printing of money by the Treasury Department. Even your beloved Keynesian economists will attest to that. There is a new wave of foreclosures on its way, just as soon as the Fed raises interest rates and all those ARM loan payments begin to go up.

      No, Obama is not the savior of the economy, you have been drinking too much Kool-Aid. He is the BIGGEST job killer we have ever had in the Oval Office, Hoover included. Remember him saying that if they passed the stimulus bill, the jobless rate would not go over 8%? Well it is at 10% now and if you count everyone looking for work, not just those signed up for unemployment, the number approaches 17%. Tell me, how has Obama helped the economy exactly?

      For you last sentence – regulation got us into this mess in a big part. Those evil insurance companies are over regulated, as are the banks. We need regulations, but we need some that make sense.

      It is kind of silly for you to blast over spending as the sole reason our economy is screwed up and then praise Obama for…what? Oh yeah – overspending.

      Irony, anyone?

  2. I’m not going to debate the policy issues here, but I did want to share the first thought that popped into my head when reading the first few paragraphs.

    The problem with conservatism that I see is that people are not conserving, they’re hoarding. And hoarding is bad for everyone. Just my two cents 😉

    • Well, that isn’t really what conservatism stands for, but I get what you are saying. I would say that the conservative mind set, the true conservative mind set, that is – is one of personal liberty and freedom, doing what is necessary to take care of oneself and one’s family. An entire nation of folks doing that generates an awesome economy with a great GDP.

      • Well that’s the problem, though isn’t it? What is archetypal is not what is, so to speak. What I see when I observe people who call themselves conservatives – even those who know what the actual meaning is – is not what they claim to be.

        And that’s the problem.

      • Ha! Where did you get that photo? LOL. OK that’s not the kind of hoarding I meant 😀 That’s actually a psychological disorder….

        What I do mean by hoarding is the idea or thought process (and I see it in Liberals, too BTW, it’ s pretty prevalent in the US in general) that one should make/take as much as possible even when it’s not needed. Get the biggest house, make the most money (more than they’ll ever spend) and also the ideology that one is entitled to use up as many resources as they see fit, so long as they pay someone for it.

        Now, I’m kind of a “green” girl, not in an eco-nazi kind of way, but in general. I believe that taking more than one needs is wasteful. And greedy. That includes energy, gas, space, etc…(think of all those people using their AC in a heatwave who overload the system and then no one has power – that kind of “entitlement”).

        I see it, all over but also quite a bit on the conservative side of things. Then again, perhaps this is a time when Labels are doing a poor job – much like the label “Christian” a lotta people use it, but few actually fit the bill.

      • Well my ninja friend that would be greed you are describing and it isn’t one of the seven deadly sins for nothing, you know. 😛

        Greed is bad, whether it be the personal kind or the corporate kind. I believe in leaving something better than when I found it. For instance, if I have to borrow someone’s car, I wash it, or fill it with gas – do something to show that I appreciate it and that I left it in better condition than when I found it. I am not trying to sound full of myself, but if more people subscribed to this philosophy, then we would all be better off. In fact, if politicians did this, then America would be better off.

  3. Well said, Anticsrocks. I would only add that Reagan was able to de-emphasize the domestic influence of the fed with massive resistance from the Democrats, which usually had majorities in the Congress. Had he the Republican majorities that Clinton and Bush II had, we’d not have this nonsense going on as we do now.

    Great post!

      • Or we read each other’s blogs.

        Oh, and most of the property damage in Oakland during the G20 has been traced down to one person, a 20 year old from CA, who was not an Anarchist. The rest has been largely attributed to the University of Pittsburgh students after they were attacked by the police for observing the protests.

        When you know what you’re talking about, come on back at me with something substantial. Until then, Shut the f*ck up because you’re making a fool of yourself.

  4. To see how much in debt we are, read my article “Debt versus Deficit at FaithfulinPrayer.wordpress.com. Our spending is unconsciousable, reckless, and downright unlawful. If any of us, regularly spent way more than we take in each year, we would be living in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere.

    I would love to see someone on trial regarding the reckless spending taking place.

  5. There is a vast difference between what
    the American conservative meant in the 20th century and what the author described as “modern conservatism”…. Surely as was mentioned the two are oxy-moron when
    it comes today’s politics.

    The only true conservative that can be seen, representing the its core and original blueprint values is Ron Paul and none else.

    • To say that today’s politics is not conservatism really illustrates my point. Thank you. That is what we, as true conservatives want. We want our politicians to straighten up and stop the spending, stop the government expansion and start representing the American people.

      By the way, Ron Paul is NOT a conservative. He is better described as a Libertarian. Not that Libertarianism is a bad thing mind you, just that he isn’t a Conservative. Where Dr. Paul falls short on Conservatism is his foreign policy.

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