Posted by Charity on October 26th, 2007

This post is from the old She’s Right. It was published on 9/16/06. I cut off part of the intro because it was about my old blog template, but otherwise it is intact. I plan to expand on this in the coming weeks.

I want to explain what I mean when I say that I am a conservative. There are many different kinds of conservatives. Two of the most talked about and immediately recognizable in today’s political climate in the US are the neoconservatives (neocons) and the social conservatives.

Neocons are the conservatives that drive the Bush Administration foreign policy.

Social Conservatives are the ones who focus on the conservative social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. They are sometimes referred to as the “Religious Right.”

While I am a social conservative, in the sense that I have traditional values and I find it appalling that a civilized society such as ours deems killing an unborn child an acceptable method of dealing with unintended pregnancy, I am not a social conservative that believes in using the government to impose a conservative value system upon free people.

I am what is called a “small government conservative”: a term all but obsolete in our modern day federal government.

According to the Vermont Libertarian Party Chair, Hardy Machia, small government conservatives are a sub-set of Libertarians.

I used to think that small government conservatives (SGCs, as I will henceforth refer to us as) were a part of the GOP. That was true at one time, or so I am told, but that is no longer the case, which is the explanation behind my post-election rants.

Ideally, I believe that government is best which governs least.

Wait, where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, Thomas Paine of American Revolutionary fame said that. It’s almost as if that was one of the principles this country was founded on.

As an SGC, I firmly believe that the federal government is too powerful. Many of the regulatory functions of the current federal government were reserved to the states by the Constitution and are therefore un-Constitutional.

An example of this would include the United States Department of Education (which rightly should be abolished), and the Republican-supported No Child Left Behind Act, which significantly expanded the DOE’s control over local education decisions. As an SGC, I do not support this kind of federal government control.

I know, I am a crazy, radical extremist because I want to abolish the US DOE.

So, there you have it; a brief introduction to the radical mind behind She’s Right. I have been wanting to do a post about my basic ideology for, well, as long as I have been doing this blog. Now I have.

More to come.

I have to note that US DOE is actually the US Department of Energy. Obviously from context you can see that I meant US Dept. of Education.

10 Responses to “What is a Conservative?”

  1. Hmmm… At a later time, I’ll get into what’s wrong with your attempt to express an ideology here, but for now I’ll just try to correct some of the (usual) factual errors that plague everything you write…

    First, Thomas Paine didn’t say that bit about government governing best which governs least… No one is quite sure who said it… It clearly originated in French, Napolean used it frequently and made it clear that he was quoting an old adage…

    Where you came to the conclusion that the aforementioned quote was upon which our country was founded is beyond me. The “founding” of this country was, in fact, more concretely based on the principle that in order to create efficient and prosperous trade, we needed a strong central government. Oh, and your hero Thomas Paine was a serious proponent of a “citizen’s salary” which would provide every man, woman, and child with enough money to live out of the government coffers. I think he laid that out pretty explicitly in one of his longer books, Agrarian Justice, maybe? You could probably find it by reading.

    Oh, and TP was also a pretty direct opponent of most of what you would consider to be religion… He believed in God, but felt that there was no longer a connection between the earthly world and the heavenly world, and furthermore that any attempts to convince people that there was such a connection (basically all of organized religion besides the Quakers) was deceitful and served only to drive people into ignorance.

    I’m also concerned by your assertion that the “regulatory functions of the federal government were reserved to the states by the Constitution and are therefor unconstitutional.” To begin with, that’s just crazy talk… Back up what you have to say, or don’t say it. But (folly of follies) I will, briefly, address this falsehood as if it was something other than a batshit-crazy rambling:

    There is a grain of truth there, but it’s covered by a big pile of bullshit. The people who have not only read the Constitution once or twice so that they could spout craziness on their blogs, but also studied its composition, context, and application throughout the last 200+ years will bicker over some of the finer points, but by and large, the Constitution is applied as it was intended. Now you can point out the grey areas, and I will concede that there will always be great debate over the interpretation of the broad strokes and the application of the constitution to the forums that were beyond imagination in the eighteenth century, but the Department of Education is not one of those grey areas. Nor are income taxes, interstate highways, or any of the other things that you nutcases like to imagine away.

    Whether the federal government SHOULD play the role it plays in education is a whole different can o worms, and one that I would likely agree with you on to some substantial degree. But do yourself a favor and don’t sound so fucking crazy all the time. If you were intelligent and sane, you might get a bit more sympathy on those few issues on which you share some common ground with the rest of us.

  2. Hmmm… I wrote the above comment quickly and while partly drunk. I apologize for the disconnected syntax. If any of it is difficult to understand, let me know and I’ll clarify…

  3. “Ideally, I believe that government is best which governs least.”

    Well, you’ve had that for the last 7 years. How’s it feel?

  4. Rediculous seems to have gotten mired down in the few brief comments on Thomas Paine (who was a radical, not a conservative) and Charity’s views on the consitution. The post actually was about what a conservative was.

    JD Ryan also veers from the subject by stating that the United States has had seven years of a government that has governed less. In fact, the opposite is true as the Bush Administration has been very activist, both domestically and in its foreign policy. I would not consider the Bush Administration to have governed conservatively or by the libertarian axiom so often quoted in the post and in its responses.

    There are actually four to five schools of contemporary conservatism that exist in American politics.

    The first is the libertarian or classical liberal impluse which supports individual freedom and free markets. Many conservatives call themselves conservative when they are actually libertarian and the distinction is blurred even more as modern social democrats have appropriated the liberal mantle. A liberal, no matter of what stripe, is not a conservative, although libertarians are a part of the larger “Conservative Movement,” especially through the fusionist formulations of the early National Review and Frank Meyer.

    The second school of conservatism is neoconservatism. Neoconservatives, strictly speaking, are former social democrats, socialists, communists, and “liberal” Democrats who defected to the Right in the 1960’s in response to the actions of the New Left and the leftward shift of the Democratic Party. They maintained their esteem for social welfarism and a Wilsonian foreign policy and even though they define the majority of the Right, there is considerable debate as to whether they are actually conservative either.

    The third school of conservatism is traditionalism, which is not explicitly political like the neoconservatives and the New Right. Primarily guided by ideas and not issues, traditionalists tend to have been conservative from the beginning and have maintained their position in terms of policy and philosophy as one grounded in law, order, tradition, and custom. A subset of politically militant traditionalists emerged in the 1980’s in response to the rise of neoconservative influence and dubbed themselves paleoconservative. All paleoconservatives are traditionalists, however not all traditionalists are paleoconservatives.

    The fourth and final school of conservatism is known as the New Right. It originally was associated with National Review and the death of the Old Right in 1955, however many of the political operatives of the Goldwater campaign in 1964 took over the moniker and used their new influence to change the direction of the GOP, by focusing on social issues and taking a populist tack on policy. In the 1970’s the New Right joined forces with and in a sense merged with a rising political force, the Religious Right. The Religious Right is actually a part of the New Right, but over the years has eclipsed the older movement, with Dobson, Falwell, and Robertson overshadowing their old allies like Phyllis Schlafly, Paul Weyrich, and Richard Viguerie.

    All of these schools of American conservatism came together in the 1980’s and formed the so-called “Reagan Coalition,” which splintered in the 1988 election and have never fully come together again. There are many conflicts between these various schools and subgroups. Often the media and political hacks talk of “national security conservatives” as a distinct group, essentially replacing the old anti-communists like Burnham and Eastman. This is a misnomer as all conservatives were anti-communist and all conservatives are for national security. There is just differing views on what policy should be taken in terms of national security.

    I am firmly of the belief that if modern “liberals” had any sense (which they don’t since they actually think that banging on a drum in a protest is going to end the War in Iraq) they would look at the conservative model for political success as a way to get back into power. More and more I find liberals and progressives are ignorant of the gradations of conservative thought and of how they came into power. Instead they would rather have twitches and ticks over little old ladies who watch Pat Robertson on TV and a war overseas that no Democratic president is going to end even if (s)he gets elected.

  5. Wow, you seem to know a lot about political history but still don’t have a clue,especially considering how much you cling to these regressive and rapidly dying political philosophies – yes, they may be still very dominant, especially right now and especially in the mediea, but history isn’t going in your direction in the grand scheme of things, It never will, either.

    Conservatives rose to power by employing divisive tactics, passing plutocratic policies, and outright lying. They use manipulate the uneducated and often get people to support policies that are starkly against their own self-interest (and more often than not , in society’s best interest) I agree, liberals should most certainly be more aggressive, but I’ll take a pass on the other stuff. And it’s not like there are too many real liberals out there any way.

    Yeah, so I guess we shouldn’t have our little twitches and ticks about the war and these theocratic idiots which are a real threat to liberty. What do you suppose we do? Hang out and play footsie in toilet stalls? ANd I don’t know anyone who thinks banging a drum will end the war. Many of the things I would find truly effective would probably put someone in Guantanamo or on the gurney waiting for a lethal injection. WE know very well how you people ‘think’(if you can call it that). It’s dangerous.

    And you obviously didn’t get my comment. When you have people running the government that think government should do as little as possible for its citizens, well, that’s what you get and that’s what we have.

  6. Hmmm… asshole… I didn’t get mired down in anything, nor did I mistake TP for a conservative. I started by pointing out that I didn’t have time to actually have time to get into Charity’s (or anyone else’s) definition of “conservative.” I said that I would, however, address the usual mistruths and misinformation in Charity’s post, ’cause that’s what I do these days while I wait for Eldest Beautiful Daughter to go to sleep (she won’t go to sleep unless someone sits in her room now)…

    If Charity’s gonna make shit up, I’m gonna call her on it… I didn’t see any point in discussing with a conservative what the word conservative means… That’s what assholes do…

  7. Aside from Rediculous’s limited vocabulary (and it is no secret that radicals have a penchant for vulgarity and obscenity as a shock-tactic, unfortunately it is as old hat as the ideas of the New Left retreads who populate Vermont and have infected its populace with their German ideas). Charity made nothing up, however I do find that if you have the time to waste attacking a blogger you really need to get out more. Maybe you should spend more time in that Jacobin hive you on the Left populate thinking up conspiracy theories about the Religious Right. We are, after all, out to take over the country and force you to do evil things like pray and read the Bible and marry a woman.

  8. Ahhh yes, the old, “you said a word that my sunday school teacher told me not to say, so you must be stupid” argument… That’s a good one… You are such an original thinker… Wow…

    Charity did, in fact, make stuff up… In fact, it’s the rare post where she does not make stuff up… I’m not going to go back over what I have said previously, but suffice to say that her blog is littered with mistruths, half-truths, and critical omissions…

    As far as Jacobin hives go, you are beginning to really crack me up… If I took you at all seriously, I might be a bit offended (no matter how vicious and bitter your politics may be, I don’t refer to you (or Charity) as a Nazi, after all). But since you are obviously just a punk kid with a chip on your shoulder, I’m just amused that you are so disconnected from reality as to imagine “hives” of “radicals” cooking up “conspiracy theories.” Let me guess, and this is a notably wild guess, so I’m not staking any money on this one: You’re young, less than thirty, male, went to college and got a degree in either Modern European History with a minor in PoliSci or were just a straight up PoliSci major, you’re still one of those loud kids who thinks you’re smarter than everyone else, you own several suits even though you’re not employed in any field that requires them, you just buy them out of an inflated since of self-worth… Did I get any of it right? ‘Cause I feel like I know a handful of asshats like you and they all match the above description…

    Oh, and what you got right: I do need to get out more. That’s for certain.

  9. As I recall you were the one who attacked Charity and started the invectives. And what is stranger is that you hide behind a fake name to do it. As for the Left and conspiracy theories, well last I checked they still think Bush stole the election, had something to do with 9/11, and fear the Religious Right more than global warming. I never said you were a Communist either, so so what if you never called Charity and I Nazis. As to your characterization of me as a Young Republican, well if you aren’t college educated and know nothing about politics and don’t own a suit I won’t hold any of that against you. I figure even the lesser orders need a Truth Squad.

  10. Hmmm… I’m not sure what you’re getting at… You sound crazier and crazier every time you post. I did attack Charity, and I did so because she regularly uses completely untrue statements to back up illogical conclusions.

    As far as your fear of conspiracy theories goes, it rather speaks for itself. You’re the kind of paranoid nutcase who lives in one lunatic fringe and fears another lunatic fringe, you are completely out of touch with the reality of American politics.

    You never called me a Communist, but even worse, you implied that I was some sort of Jacobin radical. If you had said that to me face to face, and I took you seriously, I’d deck you… If you are unclear on why one might compare the pejoritive uses of Jacobin and Nazi, maybe you should have paid more attention in college….

    Given that you didn’t dispute my guess as to your character (and I never called you a Young Republican, just an asshat PoliSci major who thinks you’re smarter than everyone else and rolls around in a big pile of suits to get your sick jollies) I’ll assume I got it right and be pretty proud of myself for being able to identify self-important jerk-offs through the fog of blog commentary.