Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some Questions for Conservatives

Do you support scrapping Social Security, either gradually or suddenly?

Do you hold to a general principle of laissez-faire capitalism, that the government ought to stay out of the economy. That principle is equally violated by a corporate bailout as it is by LBJ's War on Poverty.

Was the GI Bill socialism?

Do you oppose any and all government assistance to poor people?

And who do you think was last conservative President? If you say GW Bush I'm going to laugh. Ronald Reagan? Give me a break. Herbert Hoover? Maybe.

Are child labor laws justified? There's government intervention to be sure.

The leaders who have run the Republican party for years are not principled conservatives. They want government to back big business. Their hearts start bleeding at the sight of a failing multinational corporation.

Do you seriously doubt that many have benefitted from government involvement in the economic life of the public?

What, in your view, constitutes principled conservatism? This isn't just a rhetorical attack. I'd really like to see what conservatism is really all about. The "conservative" ideology that has run the Bush administration seems to be an ideology that looks out for big business first and foremost. If that means government involvement, then government gets involved. It that means reducing government, then government is reduced. But I see no commitment to limited government as an overall governing principle. That is why, if you really convinced me that conservative principles were true, I would register, not Republican, but Libertarian.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a conservative, but it seems to me that for the overwhelming majority of conservatives, their party allegiance isn't about policy at all. It's about identity.

They're Conservatives because they're White, they're Protestant. They're unassuming, they pay their taxes, they go to church, they mow their yard and go to their children's games on the weekend.

And in their mind, liberals are well-off, condescending, professorial, effete... or they're gay or they're black. To them, Liberals either eschew traditional values (the gays) or they're morally inferior with regard to them (the blacks) or they look down on people who hold to them (the effete).

That liberals are supposedly wrong on the issues is an afterthought. These folks vote Conservative because Conservatives are "their kind of people"... and Liberals aren't.

Mike Darus said...

There are different types of "conservative": social, economic, moral, theological, political... Victor's challenge seems to be more about economics. I tend toward conservative economics based on the good old protestant work ethic. But I am conflicted. I am not a principled conservative. I recognize that social realities do not provide equal opportunity. We have real problems with poverty.

Social security serves an important function. However, it has been supported by favorable demographics. A large working population has been able to support a smaller retired population. The future is in doubt.

The government's role in the economy is a balancing act. The government can over-regulate to the point where business cannot function effectively. However, laissez-faire capitalism can also be another name for fraud and abuse.

It is a good thing that you cannot name a president who performed according to principled ideological conservative principles. The ideological extreme would not be good for our society.

SE said...

The last conservative president? Probably a Democrat, Grover Cleveland.