By David Beilstein
ANYONE who has spent time reading Crede, ut Intelligas is aware of my pointed animus toward much of the popular conservative movement in our day and those impostors giving face and oral representation of it.
Since I do my best to be clear, it seemed like a good time to examine my thoughts about what calls itself American conservatism. I have not abandoned conservatism, if by conservative, we are defining it by Goldwater/Buckley, going back to the balmy seas of Edmund Burke’s fine expression of classical liberal principals.
Larger issues pursue my attention. It has been my contention – at least from a classical conservative paradigm – much of what calls itself conservative in our day is not, but conversely, has done little to limit the administrative state and preserve and animate Madisonian constitutional concepts, and likewise, harnessing Burkean Islands of Separation.
This has been a harbinger of ill news indeed, leaving the GOP base without a sound classical liberal rebuke to the leviathan swimming mightily within the Federal government – eating up more wealth, etiolating productivity in the private sector, and eliminating jobs and wage increases for lower and upper middle class citizens.
Having parsed the Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution, and much of the Founding Father’s thoughts on the duties and limits of government, it has occurred to me within the last five years or more – it is consequentialist libertarians who have been most interested in preserving the constitution locally, state-wide, and Federally, far more consistently.
What calls itself conservative in GOP circles presently, is far more akin to the early 20th century (and moralistic) progressive movement; a movement that surely did away with much individual freedoms, but more to the point, heralded and championed ever-expansive government – even if it contradicted the U.S. Constitution’s role of government.
Moreover, in many libertarian circles – what is calling itself libertarian anyways – looks a lot more like classical liberalism than the egesta percolating within the Republican Party’s modern notion of conservatism. And so, modern libertarians have much more in common with the old guard of conservatism – a conservatism that preserved classical liberal ideas about individual sovereignty, state’s rights, and a host of other ideological idioms occasioning capitalism, markets, and liberties. Since the face of the conservative movement has morphed into a dragon of unattractive dimension, unable to dismantle the intrusive heft of the state – it required of me – or seemed to – a disembarking from the conservative label. Likewise, the cultural-uniformity, triumphal America-as-kingdom of God type conservative politics simply contradicts too much of sound classical liberalism.
Names are supposed to mean something, in life and politics. All politics, as is often said, becomes local. Thus, it is libertarians in our day who are more consistent; harnessing effective polemics against the statist DNC and its myriad of consequences on less free citizens, eroding freedom of the individual; and with it, opportunity for self-improvement and self-sustainability.
If someone asks, “Are you conservative?” – I want to presume these folks are thinking of the kind of limited government confined to defined, limited parameters. The problem is, average men and women see conservatism wrongly. They see an authoritarian ideological system, desiring its own large government to impose cultural uniformity on a nation of secular confines.
In essence, to be conservative no longer means to Americans paying attention the kind of things, freedoms and liberties really, Goldwater ran on, or that William F Buckley, Jr., articulated for decades. Instead, it is the consequentialist libertarian who now occupies ideological territory outlining a society of limited government, individual liberty, and expanding free markets.
Now, sadly, conservative means Rick Santorum. I’m not sure what confusion over ideology does for those folks on the outskirts – but I do know such conservatism has failed to achieve its mightiest of aims inside the corridors of power and influence.
So I’m libertarian. I’m a libertarian since the voting public presumes upon modern conservatism (correctly) in too many ways, what it ought never be confused with – which is a hybrid paternalism and complete ineffective attack upon the limiting powers of statism on individual purpose and actions.
Once, conservatism in the past focused on a strident erecting of firm historical and polemical foundations to limit government, empower individual autonomy, and animate individual State sovereignty.
The torch has been passed, however bewildering that may appear. But sadness does not mark the occasion; for there is still too much work to do to recapture a country of the people, for the people, and by the people. A country of individual liberty and broader expansion of opportunity to build the life individuals seek to achieve with whatever means and time providence and circumstances allow.