Mending the Conservative Split
June 18, 2009
The split among Conservatives who define themselves as social
conservatives (SoCons) and fiscal conservatives (FiCons), each
contending that their view and theirs alone is the key to conservative
political success, is unraveling conservative unity. Social and fiscal
issues are inextricably linked. Unlink them at your peril and you
become the divided party of nebulous ideas and principles that appeal
only to the ideological faithful.
Liberals suffer no such division and win elections despite the fact most
Americans are conservatives at heart and generally apolitical by
nature. Liberals support gay marriage, abortion on demand at any time,
the welfare state, racial discrimination by quotas, hate crime
legislation to stifle free speech, social justice (whatever that is),
excessive government regulation, free markets so tightly controlled they
are no longer free, open borders, free this, free that and free
everything else. The liberal mantra of "diversityĒ is about nothing
more than appealing to the selfish interests of the groups they can cull
from the American herd. Liberals offer a platform of social and fiscal
carrots that various groups grab with the understanding that if I
support your interests you will support mine.
There is not a liberal I know that doesnít believe that what they stand
for is morally right and a fiscal responsibility of government.
Liberals argue it is morally right that everyone should own a home and
it is fiscally responsible for government to guarantee that right. This
is a socially and fiscally united view. The economic catastrophe this
has caused our nation is swept under the rug as the price we pay to be a
"fairĒ society. In the liberal mind, it is Wall Street and fat-cat
capitalist bankers that are paying the price of this disaster, and there
isnít anything wrong with that. In fact, the sooner we are rid of them
and have government run everything, the better.
The schism between SoCons and FiCons seems to be more driven by a belief
of what it takes to win versus an ideological consistency you can take
the bank. Offering the typically conservative albeit apolitical
American voter half a plate is not a winning serving. Letís balance the
budget and curb big government sounds good, but it isnít complete.
Letís ban abortions and gay marriage sounds good, but it isnít
complete. Letís spend government money responsibly, but what exactly
does that mean? You donít have the right to do anything you please, but
what exactly does that mean? Liberals have all the answers, while
SoCons have half and FiCons have half.
I claimed earlier and maintain that most Americans are apolitical and I
mean that in a complimentary manner. I would also maintain they are
justifiably cynical. They know they have to choose leaders but they
also know that they have to discern which candidate may do the most good
or the least harm. They believe, and rightfully that politicians are
untrustworthy. They are in the surrealistic situation of choosing
leaders they hope are good for everyone, even to the point of denying
some of their own interests, but know the leaders they select always act
in their own interest first, and the public interest second. In this
respect, Democrats and Republicans appear the same, so I may as well
vote for the more benevolent crook.
Conservatism is right for America and it is right for the world, but
what is it? Liberty and responsibility are interlocked. It would be
unjust for me to claim a right to smoke if I did not also accept a
responsibility for the consequences. It would be unjust for me to claim
a right to free speech and then slander another person. It would be
unjust of me to demand payments from one person to provide for the needs
of another. It would be unjust for me to buy things I cannot afford and
demand that others make the payment.
Americans may be apolitical but have a keen sense of justice. That
sense comes from a Judeo-Christian heritage and would be quite different
if our founders were Muslim or Hindu or anything else. FiCons without
SoCons are like bankers without a conscience. SoCons without FiCons are
like idealists without commonsense. Both views are needed to balance
liberty with responsibility, and isnít that what we call justice?
Conservatism is the philosophy of justice, and that is a winning
philosophy. FiCons and SoCons need each other, and the sooner they come
to that realization, the sooner we can elect leaders that prize justice
above their self-interests.
About Tony Rubolotta
Tony Rubolotta works in the