Archive for Conservatism

Conservatism as Moral Imperative: Why am I Conservative?

Posted in abortion, civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags on May 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

In July of 2003, a group of Berkely researchers for the American Psychological Association did a study on what makes a Conservative.  Rather unsurprisingly, after basing their “research” on the fairly specious definitions to be found in “fifty years of literature,” they basically decided that Conservatives are narrow-minded, bigoted fearmongers by nature or psychology.  That Conservatism, in other words, was a pathology rather than a set of values.

I’m not going to spend this post dispelling the moronic notions put forth in this five-year-old study; if I recall it was fairly deftly dispatched at the time.  But I did come upon this study again the other day, and it got me thinking:  why am I conservative?  What is it that makes being Conservative make so much sense to me?

It is that question I’ll try to answer.

I like to tell people I tried being a liberal once, while I was in college.  I found out I felt neither guilty for my own position in life, nor entitled to anyone else’s.  As glib as this is, there’s also a lot of truth to it — and it cuts to the heart of my position of Conservatism. 

In contrast to the mainstream (and incorrect) view of Conservatism, I am not judgemental or pessimistic.  I’m not wealthy by any financial standard.  I’m not distrusting of, nor biased against, those of other races or genders.  I’m also not a fan of NASCAR, just to eliminate all stereotypes.

Instead, I am something of an optimist.  Although I usually consider myself a realist, the fact is, I believe the best is always possible.  I’m quick to give my trust (though not as quick to give it back once I’ve been burned), and quick to believe in people.  True to stereotype, I am an Evangelical Christian, which goes a long way to explain my concern and, yes, compassion, for my fellow man.

All these things are why I am a Conservative. 

I believe Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “A man is governed best who is governed least.”  I believe man — every human, regardless of race, creed or sex, is capable of providing for himself without help from a government entity.  Because of this, I believe every individual ought to be responsible for himself and his own family.  Indeed, I believe we function at our best when we are unfettered by government intervention.  I don’t believe a man ought to be given special dispensation because of race.  Being black is not a handicap, and anyone who thinks it is, is a racist.  The same goes for being female.  Or gay, for that matter.  I believe it is not compassionate to foster dependence upon others. 

Real compassion, I believe, is in allowing a person to make his own decisions with the same opportunity for reward and consequence as everybody else.  I don’t believe compassion is forcing others to provide for anyone — rather, when somebody needs help, compassion is providing for them yourself.

I am Conservative, because I believe it is the morally correct position.  I believe a man’s thoughts, beliefs and actions (so long as those actions don’t adversely and without permission impede another’s freedoms) are between him and God alone.  I don’t believe in telling somebody what they can and can’t do within their own persons or households — with exceptions only for that which would needlessly harm another human being.  I also don’t believe in forcing members of society to morally justify or accept those positions in others that they find distasteful or immoral.

I am a Conservative because my conscience demands it.  Slavery in any form — intellectual, moral, political or physical — is evil.  I believe the money a man makes is his money, and that when that money is taxed, it is to be for the purposes outlined in the Constitution — and not for anything else.  To do otherwise is to make that man a slave.

I am a Conservative because I believe life is precious, and must be protected.  I believe humanity is the highest life form on earth, and created after God’s own Image.  Therefore, at all costs, human life must be sustained.

Finally, I am conservative because I believe it is the job of government — the job we, the People, pay them for — to protect us from those who would do us harm.  This is the mandate from the people.  This is the only morality of government:  to keep the peoples’ trust.  To keep us safe. 

Conservatism is for me, a moral imperative.  I am Conservative because it is the way that makes the most sense — from an intellectual level, as well as spiritual. 

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What’s a Conservative to Do?

Posted in Economy, Elections, First Amendment, Fred(!), Hillary, immigration, John McCain, Mitt Romney, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

It was with a heavy heart that I watched Fred Thompson bow out of the race.  A heavy heart as I finally made the decision on Super Tuesday to vote for the nearest candidate left to a true conservative: Mitt Romney.

It was with a heavy heart that I watched Romney get his ass handed to him on Tuesday, and then read his concession speech today.

It was with a heavy heart that I read John McCain’s speech to Conservatives, and began to understand that this arrogant SOB is the only chance we have left against a Dem-led White House.   The speech in which he acknowledged his differences with Conservatives on particular issues, but then dismissed those issues as unimportant.  Issues like the First Amendment and border security.  Issues like the Bush tax cuts. 

To his credit (I guess), McCain did not apologize for his decisions in these matters — merely acknowledged that they failed to line up with the views of the Conservative base.  He still believes the Conservative base is wrong on these issues.  He fails to see how McCain-Feingold attacks the fundamentals of Free Speech.  He promises constructionist judges — but won’t say how he will find judges who are both “strict constructionists” and will uphold McCain-Feingold (because such individuals don’t exist — the two are mutually exclusive.  This leads one to wonder, then, which ideal will be the guiding principle).  He promises to secure the borders first, if elected, but will not backtrack on McCain-Kennedy amnesty for those already living illegally within our borders.  He has not acknowledged any wrongdoing regarding his blatant and false smear against Romney on the Iraq issue.

Today, he said the right things.  I am not convinced — and don’t expect I will be — that he is the right man.

But, we conservatives are told, now is not the time to “abandon” the Republican party.  Now is not the time to let our principles stand in the way of a Republican victory.  There’s a war on, after all, we’re told.  An economy that threatens to collapse.  Could we be so callous, so … so selfish, that we would sacrifice the US to the will of the Democrat party, simply to “make a point?”

So, with a pat on the head (or a smack on the face), we’re told to hang on to those principles until 2012, perhaps.  Or maybe 2018.  The Republicans haven’t abandoned Conservatism, we’re told.  But we really need a win right now.  And if we Conservatives weren’t so damned picky, we could have this thing in the bag.

Fine… so we hang our ideals and vote for McCain.  We beat the Democrats.  And then what?  When do the Conservatives get their party back?  When do get to fight for our own values without being labeled as “traitors” to the party that is even now betraying us?  When do we get to fight the leftward motion of the Republican party, or failing that, leave?  2012?  Assuming there isn’t a similar crisis that demands our loyalty?

McCain spent the last few years of his career betraying Conservatives.  Now he’s asking for our loyalty?  How many times does this dog have to bite before we’re allowed to put it down?

I haven’t yet made up my mind about whether McCain gets my vote in November.  I know he’s not getting my money.  He hasn’t earned my support.  He hasn’t yet earned my vote.  A few paragraphs of pretty words and a call for Conservatives to make nice doesn’t undo McCain-Feingold, or the Gang of 14, or his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, or McCain-Kennedy.  The looming spectre of a Democrat president may well be enough to scare me into pulling the McCain lever.  But neither McCain nor his supporters should make the mistake of taking the vote as anything other than that.

It’s not a mandate to continue pulling the crap he’s been pulling.  It’s not an invitation to urinate all over Conservative principles in the interest of “bipartisanship.”  Conservatives aren’t voting for the Maverick.  They’re voting against the Democrats, plain and simple.  It’ll be a hollow victory for all involved, if victory it is.  A marriage of convenience with divorce looming ever-so-near on the horizen.

So congratulations to John McCain.  He may or may not get my vote, but he has effectively won the nomination.  He hasn’t won my mind.  He hasn’t won the heart and soul of the Republican party.  In spite of the fact that most Conservatives can’t stomach the man, he has a victory.  Maybe it’ll be enough.  Maybe fear of Hillary and Obama will be enough to unite and mobilize the Republican voters.  It’ll have to be.  Because McCain isn’t.

Rush (Finally) Gets It — Many Republicans Still Don’t

Posted in Elections, Fred(!), Giuliani, politics with tags , , , , , , on November 30, 2007 by Randy Streu

Rasmussen polls taken last night (mostly before the end of the debate) have Rudy Giuliani leading the Republicans with 27% of the vote.  Though Rasmussen is far from the only polling service, and many other services show wide disparity with Rasmussen, I find this deeply troubling. 

It’s not that I don’t like Giuliani — I do.  It’s that when I pull the Republican for President lever next November, I want to be voting for a Republican.  Giuliani’s about as Republican as Joe Lieberman.  He has defense.  That’s his Republican part.  He’s pro-gay-marriage, pro-abortion, has turned NYC into a sanctuary cityendoresed Democrat Cuomo over Republican Bloomberg for governor.  And, oh, yeah… has the worst record on gun control of any of the republican candidates. 

Giuliani’s response to these criticisms?  I was mayor of New York City!  I stopped Crime!! 

I don’t honestly know why he’s going on and on about his mayoral record on crime.  This is something that, actually, confuses me greatly.  We’re not electing a DA, and we’re not electing a judge.  We’re certainly not electing a mayor.  Don’t get me wrong: it beats him running on 9/11 — again.  But still, it would be nice if the guy actually had a record that backed up his rhetoric. 

Speaking of rhetoric, though, Rush Limbaugh has finally come around somewhat on what’s really happening with our Republican pool here.  Limbaugh, always paying attention, noted that, in the debates last night most of the top-tier candidates were wishy-washy, moderate, or even liberal in their responses:  “There was one candidate who did not display any moderateness or liberalism or have any of his past forays into those areas displayed, and that candidate was Fred Thompson.” 

Limbaugh goes on to suggest that the “no fire in his belly” criticisms are ill-informed.  “I don’t think anybody would get into this mess running for the presidency, the media and all of these things. You can’t imagine what these people go through.  You wouldn’t want to go through it, and I can’t imagine somebody put themselves through it if they really don’t want it.”

If truly conservative voters were basing their voting decisions on substance, on true conservatism, Giuliani should be somewhere 12 points behind Ron Paul.  Sadly, it really does seem to me that Republican voters this year are going for sizzle over steak.  I truly hope this isn’t the case.

Conservatives, let’s stay conservative. Give Fred Thompson a look, check out both his stances on issues, and his record on them.  Take a look at his proposals.  Fred Thompson is the true conservative in the Republican lineup. 

(Off-the-record note:  I really hate to go off on other republican candidates, since, barring Thompson taking the primary, which I truly hope he does, I may end up having to support one of them.  But among all of them, Giuliani is simply not the Republican we need.  Not now… not ever.)