What is a Conservative?
We all maintain that we’re Conservative and yet some heated exchanges have resulted in one or more RS correspondents claiming that the other is not a Conservative or not conservative enough. The truth of the matter is that we are all Conservative but the difficulty is that some of us don’t recognize there are different types of Conservatives.
From my observations there are four different types of Conservatism:
1) Social Conservatism (SC)
2) Fiscal Conservatism (FC)
3) Defense Conservatism (DC)
4) Constitutional Conservatism (CC)
(There is also political Pragmatism which is a topic for another posting.)
Here’s an admittedly over-simplified set of definitions:
The SC, among other things, favors the defense of marriage, is anti-abortion, defends Judeo-Christian ethics, etc.
The FC, champions balanced budgets, less government regulation, etc.
The DC supports strong borders, a foreign policy through strength, a strong national defense, etc.
The CC wants strict adherence to the Constitution, emphasizes states rights, and the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We are all of us a blend of these four in various degrees of intensity and emphasis. For example: Some of us are very SC. Should there be a conflict with another form of conservatism the SC response takes precedent. Others who are super strong FC may think that the fiscal response must first be accomplished before the social conservative solutions are pursued. Obviously, it is not so clear cut as that but hopefully the reader understands the principle. It’s a matter of emphasizing the one over the others in any given situation.
My personal preference is for our candidate to be all four but let’s be pragmatic. No candidate perfectly fits the bill, not even Ronald Reagan.
So which type of Conservative is most important for this election? I believe we absolutely need a strong FC and an equally strong DC. As much as I would love to address the SC and CC concerns it is my humble opinion that these two forms of Conservatism must, unfortunately, take a lesser role in this election. If we move too boldly on all Conservative fronts there would be considerable push back from the Left which could delay or derail our move back to our original constitutional foundations. If we successfully establish (FC & DC) Conservatism and the nation sees how well it works it can be used as an enticement to establish SC & ultimately CC.
Our nation faces immense difficulties in the near term. As I see it, at this point in our history, we should take these interim steps first, in order to return to the Constitutional Republic we once were:
1) Increase our military power and influence, not reduce it. (This doesn’t necessarily mean significantly increasing military spending.)
There is strong evidence that the drug war turmoil in Mexico, which is overflowing into the US, is due to Islamic terrorist involvement.
The war on terror must continue. This is the first war in history that is not tied to a national enemy. The enemy hides throughout the world with few political boundaries. It requires more than just traditional military intervention which is tied to conflict with other nation states. We need a Commander in Chief who understands this and what to do about it.
2) Establish some sort of Fiscal sanity. Obviously cut spending, make tax rates permanent or better still, reduce them permanently. Slash government regulations, etc. Deal with entitlement programs in the near term to put them on a sounder fiscal foundation. The long term solution is privatization but that can’t happen until the other Fiscal issues are stabilized.
These steps appear to be what we must do immediately. Once achieved, we can pressure our representatives to strengthen the Socially Conservative issues and then move to the Constitutional Issues. The erosion of our Republic has been ongoing for a hundred years. As much as I would love to reverse it overnight we have to be pragmatic. It shouldn’t take 100 years to undo but it will most likely take several election cycles.
Practically speaking, we need a President who will reverse the damage, take the initial first steps to reduce the size and scope of government, balance the budget, and free our entrepreneurs to do what they do best. In other words, a strong FC, who is also strong on defense, given the war on terror, what’s happening on the Mexican border, and in the Middle East.
As much as I understand and personally support the SC & CC positions it is my thought that if we don’t do these steps first we won’t have a country to re-build along SC & CC principles.
I was originally intending on analyzing our current candidates according to this nomenclature but recognize that this diary is already long.