Just What on Earth is a Conservative?

A New Conservatism is needed to stop America going down the road of Welfarism

Iowa is upon us. 2012 is upon us. How will it all end? It may just all end in tears. Tears because Obama wins, or tears because the GOP did    not offer a viable alternative. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: this is a time to stand up for conservative principles.

But, just what on earth is a conservative, and can one win the White House this year?

To answer this means agreement on just what a conservative is, and your answer to the second part of my question depends on the answer to the first part.

Simply put, Conservatism is a set of instincts and principles guiding decisions, which are applied according to historical context. Today’s conservative may discuss different situations and policy options then an 18th Century conservative, but then they will adhere to some broad principles as if there had been no intervening centuries. The conservative whom is central to American modern conservatism is Edmund Burke, and he spelled out some core conservative elements of thought:

  1. People are basically religious, and religion is the foundation of civil society. A divine sanction infuses the legitimate, existing, social order.
  2. Society is the natural, organic product of slow historical growth, with institutions drawing on the wisdom of previous generations.
  3. People are creatures of instinct and emotion as well as reason. Prudence, prejudice, experience, and habit are better guides than reason, logic, abstractions, and metaphysics. Truth exists not in universal propositions but in concrete experiences.
  4. The community is superior to the individual. Rights derive from duties. Evil is rooted in human nature, not in any particular social institutions.
  5. Apart from an ultimate moral sense, people are unequal. Social organization is a complex of classes, orders, and groups. Hence, differentiation, hierarchy and leadership are the inevitable characteristics of any civil society.
  6. A presumption exists “in favor of any settled scheme of government against any untried project.  “Man’s hopes are high, but his vision is short.”  Thus, efforts to remedy existing evils usually result in even greater ones.

We find echoes of these elements in the influential 1953 essay “The Conservative Mind”, where Russell Kirk offered what he called “six canons of conservative thought”. Like Burke, the divine plays a foundational role:

  1. Belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience
  2. Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life
  3. Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes
  4. Persuasion that property and freedom are inseparably connected and that economic leveling is not economic progress
  5. Faith in prescription and distrust of “sophisters and calculators”
  6. Recognition that change and reform are not identical

In 2012, how many of these foundational canons of thought are taught in our educational system? Again the answer is simple: none. What does happen is that these foundational principles are undermined and dismantled at every level of education and public life. To be a conservative is to swim against the cultural tide, against the consensus which is taught in schools and parlayed by the chattering media.

Winning a political election means appealing to the consensus, and today’s consensus is not tolerant of principles, or even thought for that matter. In today’s climate, a conservative cannot win the election. You can only look at the GOP field and vote for the consensus candidate, in other words the nearest thing to an electable conservative. This is not a ringing endorsement of Mitt Romney, but he is the only candidate who can compete with Obama.

But then in the grand scheme of things the presidential election is a mere sideshow, because the real battles lie ahead in establishing a new conservative agenda for an America systemically in doubt and unsure. The enlightenment trajectory of Europe down the road to Welfarism, with its self-destructive repudiation of civilized principles, is the trajectory America is now following.

The answer is not to be found in this election, a new conservatism that tackles the causes of decline in enlightenment civilization is needed. A new Burke or Kirk is needed, because conservatives cannot simply look at Obama as the cause of America’s identity crisis, he is a symptom of the decay of the principles these thinkers set out so clearly.

One Response

  1. There is a serious FLAW in Burke’s theory, and that is at the very heart of the problem in today’s society because it is this flaw that has thrown a permanent wrench into any future of Conservative Cohesion.

    First, it MUST be stated that Burke was NOT an American, and that is why #6 is DEAD WRONG and cannot ever apply to American Conservatism.

    [A presumption exists “in favor of any settled scheme of government against any untried project. “Man’s hopes are high, but his vision is short.” Thus, efforts to remedy existing evils usually result in even greater ones.]

    The reason is simple: The entire CONCEPT of America, of our Founding Fathers, is based on Freedom and Liberty, and when America was invented it was exactly what Burke claims as an impossibility: An UNTRIED PROJECT based on NOTHING BUT VISION! There was no nation in history, no Republic that had ever existed in the history of Man that was like the American Experiment.

    Now, that leads to his SERIOUS FLAW: #4

    [The community is superior to the individual. Rights derive from duties. Evil is rooted in human nature, not in any particular social institutions.]

    While he is correct is that Evil IS rooted in human nature, he is DEAD WRONG that “Community is superior to the Individual.” And DEAD WRONG that “Rights Derive from Duties.”

    First of all, our Rights are derived from GOD, not “duties.” No one can take our Inalienable Rights away from us, as INDIVIDUALS. The Constitution clearly states that the role of government is simply to PROTECT our Individual Rights and Liberties. Nowhere does it state that we have to work to “earn” those Rights. That is ABSURD! That is like defending the Church selling Indulgences.

    The entire concept of “Community being Superior to the Individual” is NOT a Conservative concept, but the PROGRESSIVE concept of John Dewey!!! And EXACTLY WHAT HILLARY CLINTON BASED HER “It Takes a Village” concept on!

    Combine both fallacies together and one comes to one clear and Un-American, Un-Constitutional conclusion: That innocent community members may be punished based on other community members not performing their obligatory duties. In other-words, the State may enslave my children if I do not do what the State deems an obligatory “duty.”

    Guess what? That is EXACTLY what we have now, thanks to John Dewey and so-called “Conservatives” who have supported the power of the State to dictate how children are to be raised.


    This is not Freedom and Liberty, THIS IS SLAVERY!!!

    No, sorry, AMERICAN CONSERVATISM has at its core INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY. That is why an individual American CANNOT be punished or persecuted for the actions or inactions of another member of his or her “community” or family.



    A Church is a community of Individuals who choose to worship together; neither the State nor any other person can force or prevent individuals from communing together for religious, political or social reasons.

    Burke has created an unnecessary divide between what we now call “Libertarians” and “Conservatives.” In reality there should be no divide here at all. Both ultimately believe in the same thing, but one group advocates coercion (conservatives) while the other trusts Individuals (Libertarians).

    I will cite one example on which both Conservatives and Libertarians agree. The ONLY DIFFERENCE between Conservatives and Libertarians is that Libertarians apply the same reasoning to every other issue that currently causes controversy today for social conservatives. In other-words, the same LOGIC can be applied to abortion and gay marriage, but conservatives rely on the arguments of PROGRESSIVES to defend their positions, and that is why they have been LOSING the “culture war” in society at large. Had they just stuck with Traditional American Conservatism (AKA: Libertarianism) we would not be having this discussion right now and our society never would have fallen so far into Satan’s Secular-Progressive trap.

    Children: Libertarians and Conservatives see children as an extension of the Family. Progressives AND “Conservatives” see children as BELONGING to the “Community.” The UN sees children as “Individuals” whose parents are their slaves – parents have NO Right to teach their children their personal morals and religious beliefs because that is an “infringement” on children’s individual rights, but parents are forced to take care of those children financially on behalf of the State (International Community).
    According to Progressives and the UN, adults have the Freedom to Choose to ABORT a child, BUT if they Choose to bring that baby into the world it then becomes a member of the State or International Community and the parents only “Right” is to financially provide food and clothing for that child.

    PARENTAL RIGHTS: Both Conservatives and Libertarians argue that PARENTS, NOT THE STATE have the Right to raise their children as they choose.

    Contrast this with Progressives. Progressives believe that children are the future of Society, and therefore the Community and the State TRUMPS Parents when it comes to raising children. That is why Progressives are against private schools and homeschooling, because they fear that Individual values are a threat to “Society” (the Community, the State), and therefore children must be “formed” by the State and parents are simply OBLIGED to fulfill their DUTY of feeding and clothing their children. In other-words, if you CHOOSE not to abort your child, you are then FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE for that child, but you have NO INDIVIDUAL RIGHT to actually instill your Individual morals and beliefs on that child. In other-words, parents and children are SLAVES TO THE STATE. This is taken right out of Brave New World and 1984.

    Libertarians believe that Individuals have the Right to decide whether or not to join together, in either a religious Sacrament of Marriage (not recognized by the State), or a secular civil union (or some other Contract between two or more consenting adults), and any children produced from such unions are the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY of the PARENT(s). The State has NO RIGHT to intervene in the education or moral character formation of children, except for basic guidelines such as meeting reading, writing and mathematics skills so that when such children reach adulthood they do not become dependent on the State to support them.

    So, testing children to make sure that they can read, write and do math is a legitimate function of the State because literacy is a requirement for guaranteeing that child will be able to stand up and defend his or her Individual Rights as an adult, and will be able to support his or herself as an adult because those who cannot independently support themselves are necessarily dependent on others, such as the State for survival, and that necessarily means that person will not possess his or her inalienable Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. In other-words, the ONLY role of the State when it comes to children is that it protects them from becoming slaves or their lives are threatened by UNnatural means. Of course, this also means that treating children like actual slaves is illegal, so starving children or tying them up in the basement or extremely beating them would be legitimate ground on which the State can take children away from parents, IF they are found guilty by a jury of their peers of such SPECIFIC violations against the child’s Right to LIFE, because slavery is illegal and ALL Individuals are guaranteed the Right to Life.

    However, the State cannot dictate WHAT books children read or do not read; for example it cannot ban the Bible or “Dick and Jane” or “1984”, and it also cannot require “Heather Has two Mommies.” The same can be said for the health of children; the State can interfere if a child is being starved or fed (actual toxic) poison, but it cannot prevent parents from choosing their foods and medications based on their religious beliefs. So, I can feed my children only organic foods created by God such as raw milk and grass-fed organ-meats, and not GMOs or processed “foods” and there is NOTHING the State can do about it, even if the State tries to argue that I am harming Big Ag and they have authority under the Commerce Clause to COMPELL me to purchase something; WRONG – my First Amendment Individual Right trumps the Commerce Clause. The same goes for drugs and medications – the State cannot COMPELL a parent to poison their child with vaccines and “attitude adjustment medications” if it is a violation of their religious or philosophical beliefs, no matter what Big Pharma would like the State to do on its behalf. History and Science prevails to protect Parental Rights in these cases, as humans have survived and evolved naturally over millennia without these concoctions of modern science. The State cannot argue that it is saving children from “death” if they become sick from a natural illness, because creation and death is not the domain of the State, but of God, and for the State to forcefully intervene against the religious beliefs of parents necessarily means that parents and children are nothing more than SLAVES in a PRISON-STATE.

    OK, enough examples. The problem with the so-called “Conservative” argument for Parental Rights is that “Conservatives” want THE STATE to impose their own Christian values on everyone else. So, the “Conservatives” argue that the State cannot force Christians to expose their children to the Secular-Progressive gay agenda in schools (correct), but at the same time they argue that the State has the right to take children away from gay parents. So, the “Conservatives” want the State to Coerce its will on everyone when it fits with their own Christian moral values, arguing that it is “For the good of Society,” just like the Progressives do to us today. Sorry, you cannot have your cake and eat it to. If Christians are to be Free to raise their children as they want to, then non-Christian Liberals must be able to raise their own children the way they want to.

    Either we are ALL FREE INDIVIDUALS, or we are ALL SLAVES TO THE STATE. Both Progressives AND Social Conservatives are DEAD WRONG!

    Until “Conservatives” realize that they are in fact arguing on PROGRESSIVE (Dewey – for the good of society as a whole) grounds, they will KEEP LOSING THE ARGUMENT and society will keep heading further and further down into the Totalitarian Communist bowels of Hell.

    Those who argue that the “Community” is superior to the Individual are not arguing on behalf of Freedom and Liberty and the Constitution of the United States of America. No, those who argue that COMMUNITY TRUMPS the INDIVIDUAL are arguing on behalf of one form of governance only, and that is COMMUNISM. You can call yourselves whatever you want: Social-Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives, or whatever new name you’ll come up with when the Individuals in society turn against you next for infringing on their INALIENABLE RIGHTS, but based on your own arguments you ALL are nothing more than STATISTS: Intent on having the STATE impose YOUR VALUES on everyone else. And, when a Statist argues that he or she has the “right” to dictate to everyone else because it is for the “Common Good” then that makes you a COMMUNIST.

    Yeah, I know, you will now argue that “No, Conservatives believe in a Free Market Economy, not Communism.” True, but “Communism” is NOT an economic system, it is a Political system based on the “Common Good.” Marx’s POLITICAL system was Communism, but his ECONOMIC system was actually Command-and-Control.

    So, modern “Conservatives” in America argue for Communism with a Free-Market Economy.

    Progressives and Liberals in America argue for Communism with a Socialist Economy.

    Libertarians argue for the Constitutional Republic that our Founding Fathers created in which ALL citizens have INDIVIDUAL Inalienable Rights and the government exists ONLY to protect us from those who would infringe on our Liberties. And yes, a (truly) FREE MARKET ECONOMY!

    And establishment Republicans and Democrats argue on behalf of a Big Government / Big Business Corpora-Fascism that defends and protects the Special Interests who fund their election campaigns. Only in this system is the Political-Economy one and the same.

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