06 November 2008

Forget rebuilding the conservative movement: it’s dead.

The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles. -- Alexandr Solzhenistsyn
Ron Paul was right about the Libertarian party it seems. The only way to accomplish anything will be to do it within the Republican Party. Now that the republicans have had their arses handed to them, maybe [they] will be open to the idea of getting away from the NEOCON BS and back to the principles Ron Paul has urged. – (“dewboy910” here)

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh started with some observations on the elections. Here are several, just the ones which I thought memorable:

1. This loss is the new tone come home to roost.
2. The loss of moderate Republican representation from the Northeast is a testament to the fact that moderates can safely be ignored.
3. McCain’s concession speech was precisely the reason he lost. It was a testament to his campaign, demonstrating to one and all how to lose an election.
4. This was no landslide; and there was no record turnout.
5. We have not risen above the level of our public education.
6.Where conservatism is on the ballot and clearly defined, it wins, for example, Proposition 8 in California, of all places. Conservatism hasn’t been on the ballot since 1994. (Glad to see him exclude the current President from the movement; but then he always has.)
7. The conservative movement is ready to be rebuilt. The first step is to make sure those who left for Obama (those "moderate" Republicans) stay out.

My own observation, with regard to that last: Conservatism can only truly be rebuilt if it will embrace several core elements of libertarianism. Right now conservativism shares too much with “liberalism”, especially the conviction that there are things over and above simply protecting lives and property that government can and must do. In a very real sense, conservatism as we have known it should die. And really, we should consider it dead.

So, forget rebuilding it. If you want it back, it doesn’t need rebuilt. The Frankenstein monster was a rebuild. What you want – what you really, really want – is a resurrected movement, a movement with new life, a movement which is more revolutionary than a Marxist rebellion. (And this is, of course, true because this new, resurrected conservatism is a counter-marxist revolution.)

If conservatives really believe in limited government, as they say they do, they should lay aside the notion of a limited big government, which is really what they have been pushing. McCain’s plans (1) to grow the economy and (2) provide us with 5$K refundable for healthcare were examples of big government ideas that avoid being called “liberal” and “socialistic” only by not involving an explicitly centralized command economy and nationalization (and monopolization) of the healthcare industry.

If conservatives are really serious about limited government and free market capitalism then they should take people like Ron Paul (whom Hugh Hewitt has called a “nutter”) more seriously, especially when it comes to doing away with the Federal Reserve System. Look, if conservatives really believe in free market capitalism then they should favor abolishing the Federal Reserve System. Capitalism is about REAL money, not crap made out of cheap paper and ink. (And Christians who are aligned with conservatism should favor abolition of the Fed because it violates the “just weight” standard.)

If the Fed is, as Hewitt and other dead conservatives say, here to stay, then so is Big Government. And Big Government, no matter how “conservative” it may start out must always become bigger and liberal. The Fed is the real power behind Big Government, and it undermines a free market (with government complicity) by replacing it with a manipulated market in which the activities of buyers and sellers is determined not by individual choice but by raising and lowering interest rates and printing up “money” at its whim. It has to go. Believe that or pick something other than conservative to describe yourself. Otherwise, you’ll need to redefine the term so that it no longer has any connection to free market capitalism. You can call yourself a liberal Marxist.

If conservatives are really serious about the illegitimate power of the federal courts, then, for the sake of their integrity (at this point in history one should laugh right now) they should also get serious about the illegitimate power of the Office of the President (whose usurpations go back not George Bush, or Ronald Reagan, but to Teddy Roosevelt, maybe even Abraham Lincoln) and the illegitimate power of the Congress.

If conservatives are really serious about living in a nation of laws then should get serious about the Constitution and the government which it created, a creation of the states. Conservatives should make clear that they see the federal government as the creation, and therefore the agent of the states rather than the other way around. This means they will have to concentrate the vast majority of their efforts not so much in Washington but at the state level.

Finally, if conservatives are serious about not being simply less-than-liberal (whatever that may mean) then they will have to drop the materialistic philosophy which also undergirds liberalism. (By materialistic I mean the notion that the only reality is the material one and that our entire lives consist in the acquisition of material goods and the maintenance of our physical lives – at any cost.) As Alexander Solzhenistsyn observed, among contending materialistic worldviews, the one which is more consistently materialistic will win. The only real hope against a worldview as materialistic as liberalism is a worldview which isn’t materialistic. (And conservatives should also make clear that its ‘materialism’ is what really makes liberalism socialistic/Marxist).

What conservatism really needs is not rebuilding. Conservatism is dead; it therefore needs to be resurrected.

This talk of resurrection really means that the conservatism which is resurrected must be different, even “brilliantly” different from the conservatism which was buried. How might this resurrected conservative differ from that which was buried?

It will take off the gloves. These people are not interested in republicanism; they are barbarians who have no other interest but to take, and to distribute their plunder to their followers. They will take everything and tell us to be glad they have left us our physical lives, and the handful of pebbles they give out.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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