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.

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Iowa Caucus Locator: Find the Location of Your Local Caucus Precinct

If you are an Iowa Republicans and are not sure of where your caucus is located, please click on the link below:

A Message To Iowa Republicans

Bookmark and Share   Iowa Republicans are being provided a truly special honor today.  They have been reserved the right to provide our nation with the first official evaluation of the people who want to lead our nation based upon a conservative ideology that is designed to preserve the founding principles of our government.

For nearly three years now, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, we have seen a profoundly different ideology at work.  It is an ideology that believes government needs to do far more than our founding fathers ever intended the federal government to do.  That ideology has led to a stagnation of our economy, a reduction of liberty, the shackling of the free market, a lack of confidence in our future, and a state of affairs at home and abroad which can only be seen as having been one big step in the wrong direction which leaves us worse off now than we were three years ago.

Today’s Caucus is the first attempt to help our nation take a step in the right direction and the people of Iowa are given the chance to lead the way.

Like most Americans, Iowans may not find any of the candidates to be perfect.  But our Constitution was never meant to achieve perfection.  It was designed to preserve freedom and to prevent any state and federal authority from gaining the type of control over lives that would get in the way of our dreams and hopes.  And that is what Iowans should keep in mind when they finally decide upon who they want to replace President Obama with.

While I find most all of the Republican candidates to be better equipped to lead our nation in the right direction then President Obama is, I have chosen Newt Gingrich as my first choice.  In addition to having proven himself to be intellectually prepared to face the challenges of our nation, he has a proven record of  reform and innovation and it is my belief that if we intend to turn this nation around, we need to do so with innovative reforms that will challenge the failures of the status quo and usher us in to a new era of strength, security, and prosperity.  For it is obvious to me that the status quo is not working.

I am of the belief that while Newt is familiar with the inside of politics, he is a political outsider by nature and as such, I believe that he will challenge the political establishment more so than any other candidate in the race.  And at the same time, I believe that Newt is a genuine conservative who shares the basic principles which make most of us Republicans.  Like the others, he is not perfect, but he is promising.

But no matter what the people of Iowa decide, it is my greatest hope that they have taken advantage of the attention that they have received from the candidates.  As the resident of a state that is one of the very last to have a say in the nomination process, I have not been afforded the attention from the candidates that most Iowans have. And I will not be afforded that type of attention.    Which is why I truly hope Iowa republicans take this decision seriously.  And it is also why I hope that Iowa Republicans do not ignore this responsibility by sitting at home on Tuesday night.

Given the election laws that govern the Iowa Caucuses, people who believe in a different kind of America than us will be afforded the chance to decide who they think should be our nominee and represent our beliefs.  If too many Iowa Republicans do not take advantage of the responsibility given to them by not participating in the first in the nation caucus that they are blessed with, than the liberal ideology which we oppose and hope to defeat in November  can consume our beliefs.

So if you are a Republican, if you are a conservative, do not shirk your responsibility and risk our one chance to defeat Barack Obama.

With that in mind, I am happy  to provide you with this link to the Iowa GOP Caucus Locator.

If you you do  not yet know where you need to go in order to vote in tonight’s caucus, go to it now, type in your address, and find that location.  Then get yourself ready to go there and do your part in this most basic of American civic responsibilities.

Click here to find out where to vote in the Iowa Caucus

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