“Conservative” is NOT synonymous with Republican–although I’ll grant you that the terms have become confusing. There are fiscal conservatives and “neocons” (emphasis on the “con”), Christian Conservatives and run-of-the-mill social conservatives, Inte(R)nationalists, bluedog defectors and “free-traders”, “log cabin” folks and legacy voters (as in “daddy was a Republican so I am too”) in the Republican party but the original “Conservatives” are Constitutional Conservatives, (Goldwater Conservatives, Classic/Enlightenment Liberals, Anti-Federalists).
Constitutional Conservatives believe in limited, Constitutional government. We understand that the First Amendment allows freedom OF religion–not freedom FROM religion but we also understand that no religion can ever be established and enforced by the government. We know, from our history, that the “living Constitution” is living in that it can be amended–not overruled by a judge or modified by legislation. We believe in Natural Rights and that these Rights are inalienable (because they originate from God). Government does not provide Rights, they restrict them by the very act of governing. Rights are things one can do in a world with no government (anarchy). To live in society we agree to surrender some Rights to the government and to allow the government to excercise them for us. At the same time, there are some Rights that must be reserved to the individual such as the Right of self-defense.
The Constitution limits the federal government by specifically defining rightful actions of the federal government. The 10th Amendment reserves all other powers to the States and the people. This is NOT debatable because the debates ALREADY HAPPENED. Read the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, as well as the Debates in the Federal (Constitutional) Convention of 1787, to get the arguments from both sides–yes many of them go back that far.
Constitutional Conservative philosophy is also properly called “Classic Liberalism” or Enlightenment Liberalism. This should not be confused with the Hegelian Progressives (Communists) that identify themselves as “Liberals” today, but rather should be thought of in the light of such folks as Thomas Jefferson.
The Libertarian philosophy is similar to Constitutional Conservatives. So similar, in fact, that there are estimates that as much as 38% of the Libertarian Party is comprised of Constitutional Conservatives that have left the Republican Party (like me).
Do not confuse the Constitutional Conservative with a “neocon”. Neocons are reformed liberals that have faced reality. Most of the Republican party that voted for “Don’t take Baghdad” Bush, George (I created the DHS) Bush, John McCan’t and the current nominee, Romney, are a mixture of legacy Republicans (party line robots), Inte(R)nationalists. bluedog defectors and neocons (The folks Constitutional Conservatives think of as RINOs). When I think “neocon” I think Bill Kristol.
The Constitutional Conservative should also not be confused with the Christian Conservative. The Christian Conservative tends to want to use the government to enforce Christian values, while Constitutional Conservatives tend to be what is considered Libertarian–with the notable exception of abortion. It is not that we want to take away women’s Rights, it is that we don’t want to take away the Rights of the unborn. There is no more permanent way to take away Rights than to kill the being entitled to them.
The Constitutional Conservative should also not be confused with the Fiscal Conservative, although Constitutional Conservatives ARE primarily Fiscal Conservatives, too. The deviation here is the adherence to the “Free Trade” philosophy. Constitutional Conservatives understand that there are perilous national security implications to free trade and that free trade is a wealth redistribution system. Constitutional Conservatives do not believe in the Keneysian economic philosophy that is the basis of deficit spending. We also abhor the income tax and would rather replace it with tarrifs and duties on imported and exported goods–the opposite of free trade. This is the system for funding the government set up by the Founders–they were STRONGLY against the income tax.
Constitutional Conservatives love this country. We believe this is the best country in the world. Are there flaws? Of course there are but it is the best thing going and we have to be careful to not throw the baby out with the bath water. Change is sometimes good and sometimes bad. The key is to approach change logically and be willing to reverse a policy if it proves to be bad. Rapid change is destabilizing–but we also acknowledge that it is sometimes necessary.
If you see a progressive walking away from someone with a dazed, confused, shocked and hurt look on their face that someone is probably a Constitutional Conservative. To really be one you have to have common sense and understand history, philosophy, Christianity and law. When that combination is achieved liberals get vaporized when arguing with them. It was, no doubt, after a debate with a Constitutional Conservative that Saul Alinsky decided to advise radical leftists to not debate “the enemy” on the facts–because the facts are ALL on our side.
So now we all understand Conservatives, right? Clear as mud…….