Democrats are domestic terrorists. ©2004-2013. All rights reserved.
posted by Kent at 8:01 AM
What do you think the essence of conservatism is?
Hey stranger, I'd say the essence of conservatism is smaller government, low taxes and less regulation with a specific focus on individual freedoms, individual responsibility, state's rights and national security.
What about in an international context, also what is its ideological underpinning?
Internationally speaking, the conservative mindset encourages freedom in both an economic sense and a political one. Let people decide their own fate, allow them the chance to prosper. When the people shape their government, mistakes will be made, but the hope is that people learn and adjust. The ideological underpinning is trust in your fellow man and preservation of individual rights and responsibilities. I have no problems with my neighbors owning guns, because on a basic level I trust them to be smart about it. I own guns, and have never had an accident. Training helps of course, but most guns that consumers purchase are not complicated. Trust in your neighbors, and trust in the people around you to have a decent amount of responsibility. Trust in authorities not to abuse their power, and trust in your fellow man to join you in recognizing and opposing abuses. Conservatives do not believe that life's vagaries or the basic unfairness of most situations can be legislated away - we instead grant a voice to to those who have suffered injustice, in the hopes that they make their case effectively, and overcome their situation. Life will always be unfair, but taking my money and giving it solely to someone else is also unfair. Spending my money on roads, bridges, the military, and to fund schools is not unfair, because all of those will benefit me directly. Giving my money to a welfare recipient is unlikely to benefit me at all - and it's benefit to the recipient is itself debatable and highly dubious. "Teach a man to fish . . . "Conservatives generally oppose international political bodies. Nations are all different, and as long as they recognize basic human rights, there is no reason to want to change them from the outside, except to perhaps open a dialogue for convincing them to engage in trade and to promote friendship. Some conservatives even oppose military alliances, but others do not. Personally, I believe that military alliances promote understanding on a higher level than mere trade and tourism - they also help concentrate force among like-minded nations to achieve security goals and, when necessary, remove threats or pressure dictatorships or communist governments to liberalize and modernize. However, conservatism always starts with the individual. I recognize that, as a person, I should strive to be the best I can be. Competition is a good thing - animals compete for food, water, and shelter (habitats). People have evolved and now compete for those things on a higher level, by competing for jobs, or opportunities, or security. As an individual, I must recognize that I cannot count on anyone except myself. Family is nice if you have a large or tight family, but some do not. My rights are important, and the rights of my loved ones are important, and those of my friends. Someone I do not know is a question mark. Some people ignore their own rights, or take them for granted. If someone's rights are not important to them, why should they be important to me? Those willing to fight for their rights will find a friend in people like myself - those who are given to submission will find pity, but little else.Finally, conservatives embrace responsibility, and consequence. A drunk driver needs to be held accountable for their actions - while I oppose unfair punishment, this does not mean I do not want effective and sometimes harsh punishments for breaking the law. If you have promiscuous sex, you need to take responsibility for it. I feel no sympathy for those who end up with STDs, even serious ones like syphilis or AIDS, unless they take ownership of the situation. If you engage in ANY risky behavior without a suitable fallback (medical insurance, life insurance, car insurance, savings accounts, self-defense skills, marketable job skills to ward off lasting unemployment) you will not find an ear to lend sitting on my shoulders. And while there are some who had no say in their misfortune, or were simply unable to overcome an inherent disadvantage in their situation (and those people do deserve our compassion and assistance - so long as they make an honest effort to reach their potential), those who had a fair chance of improving their station in life and refused to take it are the reason we have charities - but are not the reason we have a government. The government is not a cradle, nor is it a babysitter, or a substitute for a job (unless you actually work for the government). The government serves the basic function of protection, enabling opportunity on a basic level (providing infrastructure and such), and while I do not argue against government schools, I am a firm believer in private school vouchers for those parents who wish to have an effective say in their child's education.Finally, it comes down to values. Do you value your life? Do you value your rights and your freedom? Do you value the human spirit to overcome adversity, to invent, to create? Do you value your individuality? Do you value your strengths, as well as your weaknesses, as inherent to yourself? Do you value your traditions, and your history? Do you value personal responsibility, and it's key role in personal success? Do you value the friendship of those who share most, if not all, of your personal values? And finally, do you value opportunity and challenges?That is what I believe it means to be a conservative.
I say this in all seriousness regarding your question.The 'ideological underpinning' of conservatism is not really giving a damn about what the world thinks of us.
Amen to that.
I'm not sure that Young underscore Activist knows quite what to say to your detailed response to his philosophical question meant to throw us off our game, Andrew.I'll buy you a beer if you ever come to Boston. Sam Adams lager or Harpoon I.P.A. would be my suggestion.
You say you support the right of all people to popular sovereignty so long as human rights violations do not occur, but conservative are always arguing to prop up brutal dictators when they think it is in the U.S's national security interests, they are willing to overlook and even encourage human rights abuses, and they have actively worked to undermine democratic governments.Before Donald Rumsfeld was clamoring for us to overthrow Saddam he was selling him weapons knowing full well that they would be used to abuse human rights. The conservatives make the lesser of two evil argument, but they know full well that the U.S was not obligated to support either evil. The conservatives spent years demanding the PLO hold free election and when they did there was a problem. The wrong party got elected. The conservatives applauded U.S efforts under President Bush to overthrow democratic governments in Haiti and Venezuela and they turn a blind eye to the arming of the corrupt kings and puppet presidents who rule the Middle East and much of the third world. They are the first to defend the overthrow of Arbenz, Allende, and Mossadeq. They are adamant about human rights, sure, but only when abuses happen in a country they don't like. They support democracy too, but only when it produces the results they want.What about freedom for the Sonalis? What about freedom for the Palestinians? What about freedom for the Afghans?Not giving a damn about what anyone thinks about us is not an ideology, its arrogant and stupid, but at least it describes the actual conservative way and not some fantastical delusion about human rights and freedom.
When you say 'conservative are always arguing to prop up brutal dictators' you ignore the fact that in such cases we are assisting the lesser of two evils. We propped up Saddam and Iraq over Iran. We propped up Bin Laden and the Mujahadeen over the former Soviet Union. Had we not acted in those two cases the world would be very different today.The decisions made then might not have been perfect, but they were judgment calls that had to be called.I'm sure you've been quite vocal and earnest in your praise of the United States, President Bush and Guantanamo Bay for giving human rights to all of the detainees. They've gained weight because they eat so well.
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