Momentary Socialists

Filed under History, Political

I know a lot of conservatives.  I am a conservative.  At least, that's how I identify myself.  And by conservative, I mean:

conservative |kənˈsərvətiv; -vəˌtiv|
holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

  • (of dress or taste) sober and conventional : a conservative suit.
  • (of an estimate) purposely low for the sake of caution : the film was not cheap—$30,000 is a conservative estimate.
  • (of surgery or medical treatment) intended to control rather than eliminate a condition, with existing tissue preserved as far as possible.
  • (Conservative) of or relating to the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.

a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.

  • (Conservative) a supporter or member of the Conservative Party of Great Britain or a similar party in another country.

conservatism |kənˈsərvəˌtizəm| |kənˈsərvədɪzəm| noun
conservatively |kənˈsərvəd1vli| adverb
conservativeness |kənˈsərvədɪvn1s| noun
ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [aiming to preserve] ): from late Latin conservativus, from conservat- 'conserved,' from the verb conservare (see conserve). Current senses date from the mid 19th century onward.

The above definition is from the New Oxford American Dictionary.  I included the entire definition just to provide a bit more perspective.  Obviously, I don't identify as a member of the Conservative Party of Great Britain, but the word does carry such meaning.  The conservatives I know in the US are quite comfortable with this definition.

Yet a great many people who identify themselves as conservative completely throw out their conservative values under certain (momentary) circumstances.  To me, this demonstrates a compromised set of principles and it seems like a form of intellectual sloth.

For example, with the so-called War on Drugs, many conservatives become socialists, after all, the term was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1971, and his choice of words was probably based on the War on Poverty, announced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.  It is socialism because the War on Drugs uses tax dollars to regulate substances in one state while seeking funding from another.  It is the classic redistribution of wealth, the very definition of socialism.  The War on Drugs forces one state with less of a "drug problem" to pay for enforcement in another state with more of a "drug problem," for example.   So regardless of how you feel about the social problems drugs cause, the laws are enforced federally and therefore require funding on a national scale.

The War on Drugs is just one example of how many conservatives sometimes turn into what I call "momentary socialists."  No Child Left Behind is another example.  It is a conservative idea to abolish the Department of Education because a free public education amounts to welfare for the middle-class.  Like the War on Drugs, it forces one state to fund education in another state.

In both of my examples, with the War on Drugs and No Child Left Behind, funding originates by each according to ability while funding is allocated to each according to need.  If a conservative cannot recognize the previous sentence as pure unfettered socialism, I think those conservatives are very lost or have compromised principles at work.

I believe these are examples why the conservative base has lost confidence in the Republican Party.  The slow erosion into momentary socialism and compromised principles has eroded support and cost the conservative movement the election.

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

— Benjamin Franklin

The above quotes and others make it clear that those who promote "redistribution of wealth" as a task for the government fly in the face against the very basic principles underlying the United States of America.  We couldn't trust the Republican Party this time around.  It's amazing they've lasted as long as they have.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog


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