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, 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
  • $1.2 – $3 trillion for Obamacare

To assail his critics, Obama promised to find $17 billion in cuts from his obscenely bloated 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. Projections 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 Obamacare which is a boondoggle of gargantuan proportions.

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

  1. Excellent post. Great points about how Reagan can grow the government not domestically but on the military standpoint which is most definitely Constitutional.

    If you read about what the ex-soviet leaders say about Reagan, they attribute his SDI or the stupidly named “star wars” as the number one reason their government failed – they could just not keep up with that technology, and they went bankrupt trying to.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Linkage: Iron Maiden Edition | Conservative Hideout 2.0

  3. In regards to Reagan’s military build up, the irony of this was that even though it was spending, it led to the peace dividend under Clinton, that temporarily allowed the balancing of the budget. It is the appearance of weakness or the actuality of weakness that leads to wars, as there is always some power hungry state or individual at the head of a state who wants to fill the void. There was Pax Romana due to the utter dominance of the Roman Empire. Certainly wars are very expensive, and after a while, the population tires of them. One can retreat into isolationism, but that will not lead to less of them; i.e. Hitler’s rise. Certainly this is complicated, but you have a much better chance through strength, than weakness. This is one of the reasons why Obama has been such a disaster.

    • I completely agree, piperdoc. Reagan’s “peace through strength” and “trust, but verify” are policies that never go out of style.

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