Thursday, April 2, 2009

CONservative Roots

Submitted by ASO member: Raynard Jackson

The root of the word conservative is con. And that's exactly what the American people have received from conservatives.

Modern American conservatism was created out of an alliance between classical liberals and social conservatives at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Many credit philosopher Edmund Burke as the father of this movement. Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln stated that "conservatism is adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried." President Reagan is said to have stated, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."

But, for a Republican Party that reflexively quotes Reagan in every other word they speak, I find it quite odd that they espouse an agenda that is antithetical to what Reagan believed.

You have a Republican Party that grossly interfered in the Elian Gonzalez custody case. Republican members of congress tried to pass a bill to give him retroactive citizenship (though his father wanted him returned to Cuba). And this is the party of family values?

Remember the Terri Schiavo case. A case that President Bush, the Republican congress, and conservative activists injected themselves in over the objections of Schiavo's husband (who was the legal guardian).
All this grandstanding took place because these conservatives wanted to score political points at the expense of their so-called conservative principles.

During 6 of the 8 years of the Bush administration, Republicans controlled both houses of congress. What did they do? They increased government spending, increased the federal deficit, decreased government oversight of most federal agencies, and chipped away a many of our rights to privacy (all in the name of national security).

Conservatives vociferously claim that race shouldn't matter. I guess they are right in this regards because one rarely see anyone outside their race within their organizations (congressional staffs, think thanks, newspapers, etc.). So, they are truly color-blind or just blind to people of color.

Conservatives constantly warn of the dangers of "BIG GOVERNMENT," except when it comes to abortion or pharmacists who don't want to fill prescriptions they disagree with. If they can't outlaw abortion, they want to force doctors to show women an ultrasound of the fetus or mandate women receive information on adoption.

They also want a law to allow pharmacists the right to refuse to fill a prescription that goes against their morals. These are the same people who raised holy hell when it was widely reported that Muslims in Minnesota refused to check out customers at a grocery store if they had pork or alcohol (because of their religious beliefs). Conservatives basically said they should find new work (and I agree with them). I say the same thing to physicians and pharmacists.

Weak people take strong positions on weak issues. Conservatives will raise a stink about abortion, but said very little to this day about the abuse the Catholic Church unleashed on innocent children.

Conservatives always talk about the hypocrisy of the left, but I challenged them on the very same point. Are they for less government? Or Just when it's an issue that they are promoting? Are they for individual freedom, even when it involves something they disagree with (Terri Schiavo's husband's right to remove her from life support or Elian Gonzalez's father's right to have his son returned to him in Cuba)?

Conservatives claim to support the rule of law, but based on the above cases, it seems this only applies if they are in agreement with the actions in question. They are quick to quote Lincoln and Reagan with their words, but with their actions they have become as the tinkling cymbal or sounding brass; full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree in large part. However, I hope you post in the near future an outline of similar problems with the Democrats which should be quite easy to do. Animal farm is alive and well.

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