Considering the state of conservatism in national politics today reminds of one of an old anti-war anthem from yesterday.
“We hope they’re hiding
We hope they’re playing a game
But we know this is really happening
Where have all the conservatives gone?”
With apologies to Joseph Kerschbaum
The rioting and protests in many U.S. cities today are a direct result of cultural changes that began in American college campuses in the 1930s. Although it sounds like a conspiracy theory, the teachings of these Marxists slowly permeated Western culture over decades to break down order.
Order, above all else, is what conservatives believe in. For example, knowledge is necessary to live a rational life. Contrast that with the subjective view that there are no standards of truth beyond personal feelings or thoughts, which holds true for tomorrow’s leaders. This is where decades of Marxist inoculations by people like Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkmeir and Herbert Marcuse left U.S. college educators.
By the way, the aforementioned “scholars” drew their conclusions without data or applying their models to the Soviet Union or China.
Who Will Put America First?
Converatism’s latest stand was with the 2000 presidential election when Pat Buchanan ran on the Reform Party ticket. He ran as a faith-based, pro-life, pro-family platform. Buchanan opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization, illegal immigration and foreign entanglements.
The party had not taken a position on abortion and this led several who followed Ross Perot to the party in 1996 to withdraw.
Donald Trump also ran for the Reform nomination, at least for a few weeks, in 2000. Candidate Trump labeled himself “very conservative,” but supported universal healthcare and suing alcohol corporations like tobacco corporations.
Trump may call himself a conservative, but what has he attempted to conserve in the past five years?
How High Were the Stakes?
Historians point to 1964 as the beginning of the modern conservative movement. Sen. Barry Goldwater’s victory over Gov. Nelson Rockefeller for the GOP presidential nomination spelled doom for Republicans that year, but it allowed libertarians a voice at the table.
Two speeches laid the cornerstone of the movement. Both cited the religious faith of conservatism’s followers, order and limited government.
The most often quoted quirk from the acceptance is, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!” Considering Goldwater’s reference to atomic warfare during the campaign, it is easy to see why that scared people.
Had the country employed Goldwater’s next line, many of today’s problems may have been different. “And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
Also in 1964, Goldwater’s speechwriter, Ronald Reagan, delivered possibly the strongest speech of the campaign on Oct. 27, 1964, in Los Angeles. “…You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down: [up] man’s old — old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism,” he said at one point.
Democrats “have voices that say, ‘The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism.’ Another voice says, ‘The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.’ Or, ‘Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.’ Sen. [J. William] Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the president as ‘our moral teacher and our leader,’ and he says he is ‘hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document.’ He must ‘be freed,’ so that he ‘can do for us’ what he knows ‘is best.’ And Sen. [Joseph] Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as ‘meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.’”
Fifty-six years later it is clear to see which side is winning.