Left, Right, Conservative Light
One hundred years ago today, the “Titanic” sank. She came to rest at a depth greater than the height of Mount Hood in Oregon. We mourn the beautiful ship that went down. We mourn even more the 1517 people that died unnecessarily early that morning in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. One reason for the current on-going popularity of the subject of the great ship is that she was the luxurious, graceful and grand pinnacle of human ingenuity at the time. It’s wonderful to relive those days of grandeur and confidence, while forgetting the tragedy and the awful loss.
Is that how we will, some day, think back on the “once great” United States of America? Personally, I would rather not let that happen. There were three ships built like the Titanic, we only remember the one that got away. Her sister ship, the “Olympic” came to be nick-named “Old Reliable.” That’s where we should be with the USA.
What is the political iceberg in our way? Can we save ourselves, or are the lifeboats being deployed half empty, and not enough of them anyway?
Thinking of half-empty lifeboats, Romney’s remarks that he was a “severe” conservative keeps being quoted from time to time. In my mind, the term “severe” conjures up an association with a large, destructive thunderstorm that creates much havoc. Is that how Romney thinks of conservatism? Is he that ignorant of the true concept of conservatism?
I have the greatest respect for “The Great One”, Mark Levin, who has vividly described what it is to be an American conservative. Nevertheless, in a nutshell, let me humbly present my own brief take on what it means to be a conservative: Basically, to “conserve” is just another word for “preserve.” A conservationist would wish to preserve natural resources. Likewise, a political conservative wishes to preserve or maintain an existing order, or to resist change from that order. In the USA that’s a little late, for so much has already changed. Wasn’t it hope and CHANGE that Obama promised? So we could argue that, in this context, an American political conservative wishes to resist any deviations from the order of the Unites States as originally constituted.
Based upon that we have a somewhat simple definition of a conservative; so one either wants to preserve the United States as she was defined, or else let it slide without resisting change. There is nothing in the middle – either resist change or let it happen. Looking at it this way you can’t grade conservatism on a curve. Although enthusiasm and devotion can be measured, conservatism itself doesn’t come in degrees of intensity. So where do we classify the “moderates?”
Now let’s consider the terms “Left-wing” and “Right-wing.” I am told that the origin of these terms came during the French Revolution (1789). The National Assembly was divided broadly into two camps: those who supported religion, the old order and the Bourgeoisie or aristocracy; and those who favored all the changes of the revolution. The first group sat apart and to the right from the revolutionaries “. . . so as to avoid the shouts, oaths, and indecencies that enjoyed free rein in the opposing camp.” This was generally (off and on) followed in subsequent regimes: i.e. Legislative Assembly, National Convention, the Restoration, and the Third Republic; which gradually came to be the recognized seating for socialists and conservatives. There were also those who sat in the middle. They were not on the right. It is interesting to note that this arrangement was imitated by other European countries; and after the Bolshevik revolution, Russian Socialism constituted four parties initially, among whom were the “Left Socialist Revolutionaries.”
In modern America this arrangement has come to differentiate the Democrats (most of whom are socialists/liberals) from the Republicans (not all of whom are socialists/liberals). One can see how the division has blurred. However, those favoring conservatism are generally considered to be “Right-wing”, while the rest might identify themselves either as “Left-wing” or “Moderates”. It must be lonely to be a conservative in Washington. Thankfully, that’s not the case in the rest of America.
Nazi’s and Fascists – are they Right-wing? Nazi is the abbreviation of: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party). So who said Socialism was Right-wing? Of course, they made a big show of destroying the Communist Party (KPD), blamed them for the Reichstag fire, then picked up their votes. They called themselves “right-wing”. (Right . . and Goebbels had a passion for the truth . . .) On October 10th, 2011, Jim Hoft of the e-paper “Human Events” had the following headline regarding the American Nazi Party: “Nazi Party and Communist Party Support Occupy Wall Street – So does Obama”. Don’t fall for it, folks – that’s Left-wing!
The Fascists in Italy were not Nazis, the name came from the “fasces”, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around a Roman soldier’s axe. Like SPQR (Senātus Populus que Rōmānus), it was the old Roman symbol of civic authority. Use of the symbol was the concept of Benito Mussolini, a socialist party member, who had been brought up as a socialist from childhood. Both parties were harshly authoritarian and nationalistic. They were not right-wing conservatives seeking liberty and justice for all. Don’t be fooled. The way I read into it from history: if right-wing means conservative, then the above descriptions exclude Nazis and Fascists. If not right-wing, then where do they fit – with moderates? It suits the Leftists to paint any radical extremists to be “right-wing”. That seems to be working and too many have believed them.
Throughout history, left wing radical politics has proven to be harsh, from the guillotine of the French revolution onwards. Robespierre, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il-sung, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and others all became responsible for a multitude of deaths and misery of their own people. There are those in this country on the Left that admire some of those in that list. That’s frightening.
There is nothing “severe” about a true conservative. One can be an enthusiastic conservative, or a devoted conservative, but not a moderate conservative. What about a “fiscal” conservative? Who knows what that means. I suggest that those folks should call themselves “capitalists”. Conservatives go deeper. If they do not subscribe to conservatism, then they should not pretend to be conservatives. There is no “severe” conservative, neither can there be “extreme” conservatism. The Communists, Nazis and Fascists are on the Left. The term “compassionate conservative” is redundant, and implies that there is a dispassionate conservatism. That’s dumb.
Here’s what I believe as a conservative:
Broadly speaking, it can be argued that a conservative believes in freedom from unnecessary government interference in our private lives, homes, possessions, food, learning, thinking, work, worship and recreation. I believe that conservatives honor God, but accept that not all will agree on the details. A conservative will expect to feel free to express religious convictions (or not), and worship in public without hindrance. Separation of church and state should protect the church from the state; not the other way round. The traditional family unit should be the center, the building block of society. Conservatives would be bold to protect the innocent, the week, and the unborn. They should feel constrained to take care of the poor and needy themselves, and not expect the government to do it for them, thereby letting themselves off the hook.
Business would be encouraged to reward and incentivize initiative, risk and hard work. Energy and natural resources would be managed responsibly. Market forces would apply. Profits are productive, provide incentive, encourage employment and benefit the economy. Respect would be earned, and credit for achievement and success must be recognized and rewarded. Education would be the responsibility of the parents and teachers; but the accountability for laziness would not be placed upon anyone but the lazy. The harder the struggle, the greater the reward. Children would be taught the truth in science and history, and would be encouraged to learn and enjoy the traditions and festivals of free Americans. Showing respect earns respect. Discipline is not a dirty word; and it promotes self-discipline and character.
Conservatives do not shrink from the truth and, shunning political correctness, will not tolerate the actions and lies of those who violate the laws, norms and morals of a just society. Tolerance excludes acceptance of evil and immorality. Although they don’t tolerate their actions, they will nevertheless show impartiality and justice towards those individuals. Each individual is recognized to be unique regarding personality, beliefs, aspirations and abilities. Consequently, minorities and those who differ in belief and opinion would not suffer prejudice. What is fair and just for the individual would take precedence over the convenience of the party or the government. Mutual respect will be observed among all, and self respect would be encouraged. A conservative enjoys laughter, and possesses a clean sense of humor.
“We the People” are defined by conservatives as those who have a legal right to residence and citizenship in the USA. Conservatives will jealously guard the rights inherited by “We the People”, constantly protecting them against usurpers. Unlike those usurpers, they will understand and be ready to contribute to and participate in the responsibilities and demands of citizenship. A just and legal system of access to residence and citizenship in the USA would be encouraged, recognizing that those who take on citizenship by a conscious, informed choice (if not by birth) would be welcomed.
Regarding the country, a conservative will honor the flag, the constitution, its rightful leaders, and observe the law. They will prepare and fight to defend their Nation and their freedom. A conservative will honor, with gratitude, those who fight for our country. A conservative will expect – nay demand that those in office will respect the office to which they have been elected or appointed. As civil servants they will be held accountable by “We the People” of the United States of America, who will command their respect in return.
Is there anything severe about that? What is there to be ashamed of? Is that old fashioned? In a degenerating society, old fashioned is better. The Liberals/Marxists and the moderates can stay on the Left. As conservatives we should always aspire to do what’s “Right”.