Some time ago, R. Emmett Tyrrell wrote a book titled, The Conservative Crack-Up. Tyrrell makes the argument that while conservatism has become popular as a political philosophy, Tyrrell argues conservatives have had little effect on the American culture. I submit the current ‘crack-up’ is worse, as today’s conservatives have little effect on American politics.
During the Reagan years, there were 3 kinds of conservatives: the social conservatives, who rallied against crime, welfare, and abortion. The economic conservatives, who rallied for less regulation, less taxes, and less government. The foreign policy hawks, who rallied for a strong national defense and a coherent America
First foreign policy. Today, these kind of conservatives still exist but many of their issues have been muted or taken off the table. However, one of the most insidious groups co-opting the Conservative Movement are the Libertarians. In and of itself, Libertarianism is not an evil theory but it is incompatible with the conservative theory of governing and government. They cloak their movement in Constitutionalism and the Constitution but it seems their end game is to create a laissez faire style of government where good and evil are relative to the moment and the perception. They believe in a lack of government and not a codified form of government. Somehow, this vacuum will not be filled but ignorant to man’s nature, someone will fill the void and that someone is usually a liberal democrat or a republican progressive. A libertarian GOP will only concede more political ground to the Left. Perhaps, a Ron Paul supporter will argue this is not true but it is more likely that a defense of Paul will include venom and vitriol as the dream is punctured. The funny thing about Ron Paul’s foreign policy is they are very copasetic with the foreign policy views of Henry Wallace and George McGovern.
Can the domestic policy be far behind? The Conservative Movement believed in standards and an absolute belief there was a right and wrong. It was a belief that competence, hope, idealism, patriotism and American exceptional-ism were to be desired over anger, resentment, and desperation. The Conservatives of yore were leaders; they did not quit when challenged. They had faith in what made America great. They did not just talk the talk; they walked the walk. You knew them from their labors.
Today’s conservatives are eager to co-opt the libertarian argument for their own in hopes of gaining support for conservative causes. This does not work. The libertarian is by their very nature an emotional creature. They are closer to the liberal mindset than they and conservatives realize. They are more likely to blame a conspiracy for any failings of their policy and procedure. They will blame Wall Street, the Zionists, the Illuminati, the Masons, the US Government, and a host of nefarious groups and individuals. They believe Obama was born outside the country and despite a lack of evidence the belief survives. These far-fetched beliefs only drag down conservative thinking and the Conservative Movement.
In Part II, I will discuss the state of conservative thinking in politics and punditry.