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Conservatives – Are We Crazy?

Conservative warningI tripped across a Los Angeles Times article by David Klinghoffer, entitled “From neocons to crazy-cons” that provoked some serious thought on my part.  Are we Conservatives out-of-our-minds?

The most thought-provoking statement in his article was, “Conservatism wasn’t just a policy agenda, a set of partisan gripes or a football team seeking victory on the electoral field. Above all, it was a satisfying, sophisticated critique of modern, materialist culture, pointing a way out and up from liberalism.”  Does one lead to the other or are they separable?

Early Conservative thought presented by the likes of Richard Weaver, William F. Buckley, and Frank Meyer shaped the tenets and platforms of Conservatism.  Klinghoffer seems to be saying that formulating the ideas and thoughts were enough – actions are crazy.  I could not disagree more.

For over sixty years Conservatives have remained mainly an intellectual group – no huge protests, no public events, no grass-roots movements.  Unfortunately, just talking-up the Conservative agenda has led to a vocal and active minority shaping the nation’s future – progressive liberals.  Should we go back to smoking jackets and libraries, writings and discussions?  Sure, but that does not need to be where it ends.

If we consider the pamphlets in the 18th century, we know that thoughts and words are indeed important – for inciting action.  Where would we be if  we had taken our understanding of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and just talked about it in gentlemanly circles?  While much contemplation should proceed any consequential action, sometimes events progress to a point where words and ideas are not enough – they become motivational.

I am not pushing for armed insurrection, a new violent revolution or anything of the sort.  My intent is a call to action, of the political activist kind and making the case that you aren’t a loony for doing so.

Conservatives have tolerated attacks from progressive groups.  We have been labelled old, white, men who care not for anyone.  We have been called racist, war-mongers.  Our ideas have been called backward.  When it remained an ideological debate, ideas and words fit as the weapons for battle.  They are no longer just debating, they’re taking action.  The ideology from the left is being realized at the cost of our ideals and liberties and they have misjudged the passivity of Conservatives.

Did the fundamental change of our way-of-life just start?  Of course not, but it is accelerating.  Let’s examine a small sampling of the actions of progressives, putting their ideology in-place while Conservatives take little or no action (we’ll save the debate on how problematic these actions have been for another post):

  • In 1933, The New Deal was implemented
    • A large government plan that funneled huge amounts of federal dollars to political swing-states (the impoverished south was neglected)
    • FDR convinced Americans that it was needed to prevent a repeat of that kind of financial crisis (oddly familiar)
    • FDR attacked investors and producers as, “Economic royalists or privileged princes” – effectively quelling debate from Conservatives who he knew wouldn’t do anything about it (Conservative shaming – deja-vu)
  • In 1935, Social Security was enacted
    • touted as a successful fix to the localized town-elder administrated poor laws
      • town elders determined who got assistance from the public coffers and who should be reprimanded for being lazy
    • The determination is no longer made, lazy is just fine and everyone can have it.
  • In 1965, adding disability to Social Security
  • In 2000, Social security was amended to allow eligible people that were employed to keep their benefits without reductions
  • In 2010 enacting health care reform
    • Including a mandate on citizens that everyone must buy insurance
    • Senate leadership is currently fashioning a bill to add in a government-run public option

There are many more actions that progressives have taken, but notice what inaction on the part of Conservatives brings – incremental increases to the size and power of the programs and the encroachment on personal liberties.  We can bend no more or we will be broken.

While many paint us as wingnuts, right-wing crazies, crazy-cons or what-have-you, it is simply that they are seeing something new, something effective, something angry.  The Tea Parties and FreedomWorks, Glen Beck’s and bloggers, marchers and protesters – Conservative activists all.  And that’s a relatively new term that was destined to be.

Enough is enough, talk isn’t enough, and we’ve had enough.  We aren’t crazy in the psychotic kind-of-way, just the angry “mongrel” kind-of-way.  A cornered animal might appear crazy, but in truth, it’s just pissed-off.

We didn’t become Conservative, we always were and needed an identity.  Even Klinghoffer realized this when he quoted Richard M. Weaver:

A life without real purpose is likely to be anxious, restless, prone to bitterness and suspicion. The goal of conservatism was to restore to men and women a metaphysical dream that allows for ultimate meaning in our existence.

These “crazy” actions are our purpose, our identity.

David closes the article stating that Conservative’s goals aren’t, “..to defeat Democratic officeholders or humiliate left-wing activists. It was, and still is, with those who remember, to save civilization.”  I would take that one step further and say, our goal is to preserve the civilization our founding fathers put in-place and now, we’ll take whatever action is necessary to achieve that goal.

Register, Vote, Participate.

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  1. fsfsfsfsfa says:

    “While many paint us as wingnuts, right-wing crazies, crazy-cons or what-have-you, it is simply that they are seeing something new, something effective, something angry. The Tea Parties and FreedomWorks, Glen Beck’s and bloggers, marchers and protesters – Conservative activists all.”

    Not really. It’s same ol’, same ‘ol. And yes, every person and organization you’ve mentioned is, in fact, a right-wing nut job. Okay, they Conservative activist nut jobs, I’ll give you that.

    As a liberal, I have no problem with conservatives who don’t try to reach into my uterus while proclaiming that they want as little government interference as possible. I also have no problem with conservatives who don’t try to push their religion on me in a country where State and religion are legally separate. Similarly, I have no problem with conservatives who don’t brag about “the sanctity of life” (before birth, but not after) while supporting gun ownership and death penalty. I do have a problem with conservatives who claim that their goal is “to save civilization.” You do realize that your forefathers were bigoted, racist slave owners? Is that a legacy you want to preserve? Or which part of it do you want to preserve, the wife-owning part? The wife-beating part? The literacy tests before voting? Grandfather clauses? The “manifest destiny” part where you wipe out native peoples? The American exceptionalism part where you think it’s your duty to “spread” civilization when, in fact, you’re destroying hundreds of years of rich native civilizations that have survived for centuries without your “help”?

    As you can see, what you think is something new and effective is, in fact, something old and problematic as ever.

  2. Ethan says:

    I’m sorry but when you hear house speaker bahner refuse to even consider cutting oil subsidies because cutting a govt welfare program for big bussiness would be a “tax” we have entered the crazy zone. Sincerely a “real” conservative.