The conservative movement lacks skill in articulating it’s position. It does so because it has shifted from the intellectual debate of the 50’s and 60’s to the emotional debate of the post 60’s era. It has, unlike the libertarian movement, failed to provide a vehicle for educating conservatives with POSITIVE statements rather than negative castigations. Conservatives have largely failed to develop a language and ‘scripture’ because they do not have a solution other than to return to the nineteenth century classical liberal model.
That model will never rise again. It only occurred because government was very weak, and the individual entrepreneurial need to expand and populate the continent required both private ambition and private capital. It required the conversion of resources into taxable resources, which would empower the government. Conversion requires business people the way conquest requires soldiers. And therefore commercial society was in control during that period.
Our current problem is not to convert land into taxable assets. It’s to maintain the international system, and our ability to financially manage the international system. We have been paying for it by trade advantage for some period of time, and then selling dollars for the past forty years. Liberals do not want us to maintain that system but they want the rewards that come from it to be redistributed. Conservatives object to this position. Neither really understands that there is no american exceptionalism except american military exceptionalism.
Our future problem is that in redistributing the wealth of that military network of trade and banking we have directed too much of the profit to bankers and not enough to the citizenry. Conservatives do not like this privatization of wealth any more than liberals do. But most importantly conservatives do not like being castigated and treated as
Being conservative simply means taking a gradual approach to social change and particularly with respect to the financial, family and military traditions. It means being skeptical that our visions of the future will come true, and looking at the world as what people ACTUALLY DO not what we WISH they would do.
We as a nation are notorious for predicting an optimistic future that cannot or has not occurred. The dialog around our prosperity is often inaccurate and self-congratualtory rather than factual. We have transformed our culture of evangelical christianity into one of evangelical democratic secular humanism.
Conservatives are skeptics. They may speak in antiquated language, because that is their language. They may fail to articulate their position effectively because of that language, but they ACT conservatively, think conservatively, and treat the world conservatively.
This is why conservatives are, in general, more prosperous – and frankly, happy. And the sacrifices that they make in order to be prosperous are material to them. They remember them. And therefore they resent those sacrifices being ‘spent’ by others who do not make the same sacrifices.
Monetarists and capitalists are not conservatives. They may hide under conservatism. But they are not conservatives. The conservative class is a military, middle and craftsman class and it always has been and always will be. It is the ‘residue’ of the european fraternal order of soldiers at the bottom, and at the top, it’s a ‘residue’ of the middle class movement that revised and adopted civic republicanism during the enlightenment as a way of transferring power from the kings and church to the middle class. it is an alliance of the military and middle class.
Liberalism (socialism, communism) is a ‘residue’ of a union of the priestly cast and the peasantry. Academia is simply an outgrowth of the church. The peasantry has always allied with the church, and the church has always had power because of it’s support by the peasantry.
And that said, we do not have a separation of church and state. Our state religion is now democratic secular humanism. We are now a state-run-religion using the myth of division of church and state to oppress (or reform) religions so that we can have a state sponsored church.
That’s it. That’s the articulated conservative position.
The republican party collects conservative coalitions. The republican party is not a conservative party. conservatives join the republicans because they have no choice. They see the party as corrupt.
People are complex and only join parties because of limited choice mandated by our ‘winner takes all’ form of government, which fosters class warfare.
In fact, all political decisions exist on a spectrum or bell curve. There are a myriad of political decisions to be made. There are a myriad of people with different abilities to understand each political opinion. Each person is interested in a myriad of decisions. Parties are collections of people with opinions. Very skilled people tend to be highly unsatisfied with party choices. Very unskilled people tend to simply support their party of nearest interest. Parties therefore pick platforms that make enough people happy that they can get into power.
arguing that conservatives want to keep things asa they are, is a silly argument. The objection is simply illogical. The question instead, is whether liberals propose a solution that conservatives can live with, and wether conservatives can propose a solution that liberals can live with.
If we had listened to the liberals in the last century we would have ended up like either Russia or China. If we had listened to conservatives we would not have had our progressive social changes. It’s the competition of ideas that gives us the choice as a body politic.