Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Inconsistencies of Contemporary Conservatism

Conservatives famously argue that government is "the problem, not the solution." This is the standard argument made by contemporary conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, the writers of National Review, and their followers. Yet conservatives are eager to defend the government in ways that baffle the outside observer and exhibit some of the logical inconsistencies in the movement. Here is a brief list I've put together that I may expand upon in the future. It is these kinds of inconsistencies which have driven me from the Republican Party and made me realize that the two party system is fundamentally flawed and will lead only to totalitarianism.

  • Conservatives idolize Abraham Lincoln, a man who trampled Constitutional rights during the Civil War. Yet they believe this was a good thing, not a bad thing. Remarkable. Lincoln may be the key to much of what has gone wrong with the Republican Party, and indirectly conservatism, as he nationalized the country and destroyed the notion of state sovereignty.
  • Conservatives idolize the military—the most violent of all government institutions.
  • Conservatives have no difficulty allowing the government to educate our children, yet they complain bitterly about how poorly they do it.
  • Conservatives cannot separate the American people from the American government—the two are indistinguishable for them. Criticisms of the American government (civilian and military) are perceived by conservatives as an assault on the American people—except when it is they that criticize the government.
    • Conservatives readily engage in criticism of civilian government but will not tolerate criticism of the military wing of government. The military can do practically nothing wrong collectively—it is only individuals that don't tow the company line that are open to criticism.
  • Conservatives are vigorous defenders of the Bill of Rights unless police powers are unconstitutionally brought to bear upon obvious criminals. Conservatives will defend abuse by police when the suspect "deserves it."
  • Conservatives are loud defenders of the "free market" yet never criticize the existence of the Federal Reserve. Nor do they recognize that the existence of the Federal Reserve along with the rampant government intervention in the marketplace make the market free only in reputation.
  • To the conservative, government at home does not uphold American values well, yet government abroad does uphold American values well.
    • Conservatives are quick to defend against foreign influence, yet are eager defenders of American influence abroad. The C.I.A. is immune from criticism unless a rogue individual within the C.I.A. is giving conservatives a hard time.
    • Conservatives place little trust in the government at home, but place a great deal of trust in the American government's foreign policy abroad. It is never acceptable for foreign governments to meddle in American affairs, but it is always acceptable for America to meddle in the affairs of other nations.


Psyclist said...

John, this is a great post. I appreciate the candor of the content.

John said...

I'm glad you're still reading! Your lack of comments had me thinking you'd given up on this blog.

Yeah, I've undergone quite the transformation in my political thinking. It was a liberation, really. I've always been a small government guy, but shackled to a big government party. The chains are finally off, and I'm a free man!

Now I'm not only a small government guy, but a consistently anti-government one.

Psyclist said...

John, you "transformation" is fundamentally what I think I went through several years ago. I agree with you on small government. Another instance regarding inconsistencies with Contemporary Conservatism is the role government plays with respect to guns and women's rights. With guns, it is no government and with women's rights, it is big brother government. Each, fundamentally is with respect to having the potential to take a life. My comment here is only with respect to the role of government. Anyway, I like your writing and original thoughts with the "chains off".