Something is way out of whack in the logic of the Conservatives of 2008. The logic is guilt or honor by association. The logic goes something like this: “I believe in Jesus and I believe we should drill for more oil in our backyard.” Thus given that Jesus is a solid belief it follows that drilling for oil in our backyard is a solid belief.
Or this, Ronald Reagan was a great President – Michael Reagan is President Reagan’s son, So Michael Reagan must be great. Michael Reagan says, “Drill baby drill” so it follows that we should drill. This is mindless logic – and this logic has led to the failure of the Republican Party and the failure of government.
The Republican Party of the past eight years has used a few honorable belief systems to justify a myriad of insane proposals.
Teddy Roosevelt was a conservative – that meant to him that we should be frugal with our resources. Roosevelt was not a Preservationist – he recognized the opportunities afforded him would be lost on future generations if man did not properly manage resources. He did not restrain humanity to protect snail darters in a creek in Tennessee, but rather recognized the need for balanced eco systems. The conservatives of 2008 are unable to distinguish the practical nature of preservation.
There was a time when conservative banks would only loan money to those who already had money. That is a little overstated but the point is that conservative bankers protected their resources. Conservative bankers did not engage in predatory lending because they recognized that unregulated lending practices were not good for them or their customers.
There was a time when conservatives protected the environment – because that protection followed their basic belief that we should be frugal and manage assets with care. Conservatives believed in protecting business because good business practice was generally good for the country. Roosevelt recognized the need for good business – not just any business.
There was a time when conservatives were in favor of tariffs because the tariffs served to protect American business and American employees from cheap and low-quality products from ruthless foreign business. Tariffs were used to generate money for the government for sure – but the tariffs were calculated to create a level playing field for business. Tariffs were a compliment to Free Trade.
Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican who believed in States Rights. But the Roosevelt Presidency, at the dawn of the 20th Century, recognized that States could not regulate industry that spawned the continent. Roosevelt recognized that government should stay out of the regulation of Mom and Pop small businesses – let their respective States manage local economies. Again, Roosevelt recognized that Mom and Pop could not smelt the steel needed for modern industry. The nature of industry swamped the individual State’s ability to protect themselves.
The ideal of small government, of localized control, has many promising and alluring possibilities. When Bush implemented the “No Child Left Behind” education reform the Federal Government imposed values – but did not offer any money to put the values into practice. This created great burdens on local school systems.
Perhaps the most boggling twist of conservative logic is the idea that our Federal Government should invade foreign countries, dictate the process of forming their new government, and borrowing the money to tackle the project. Old fashioned conservatives did not want the Federal Government interfering in our own State Governments – so how can it follow that we should stick our military noses into the affairs of other countries?
Conservatives of 2008 believe that Government should stay out of the lives of individuals, unless the individual is homosexual, or Islamic, or immigrant, or female. My conservative ideal about faith is that I will respect your faith – but you must also respect my choice of faith.
We call our self a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. That means that we believe we should help our fellow man as long as the balance in our bank account is black. We will not borrow money to pay off your debt. If your debt is a result of your own life choices then any help we offer will come with strings attached. The Conservative Businesses of 2008 want tax breaks and corporate welfare with no strings attached.
One could easily argue that some very clever folks abused the evangelical right wing to get elected – but had no intention of doing anything about abortion or school prayer. One could argue that these folks who led the Republican Party have acted like cheap carnival barkers, luring the evangelicals into the tent so they could take their money.
These folks are clever – but they are not smart. And they are not patriotic. The conservatives have been whipped into a frenzy by talk radio carnival barkers. Frenzied to rape and pillage modern business and the very planet they depend on.