Yesterday, I had this exchange with a "liberal" at work before my wife kicked me under the table (yes, Ms. PolyKahr and I work together. It allows us more time together.)
Him: "If Communism is the worst thing for a liberal, what is the worst for a Conservative?"
Before I could answer, he filled in his answer "A theocratic monarchy, that's what."
I started to explain that we had fought a revolution to get out from under a monarchy when I got kicked, and the conversation ended. Obviously, he was very happy with himself, apparently getting the last word means winning on merits to him.
But just in case he stumbles across this blog, here is a brief history, and an explication of what conservatives actually believe.
The modern Conservative movement came about in the late 1940s when William F. Buckley and other like minded individuals established National Review. Buckley famously said that a Conservative stands athwart history yelling "Stop!" There is some truth to that statement, in that Conservatives are slow to adopt new ideas. The reason we are slow is not, as the Left likes to chide us, because of stupidity, but because we are unusually attuned to what is called "the law of unintended consequences." We want to see if anyone else has tried it, and what their experience has been. We want to look at all its parts, and think about what if it is administered by our worst enemy. But there is an even more important reason, we want to test it against the Constitution.
The Left claims not to understand our insistence on clinging to long held traditions such as the Bible, the Constitution, and social and moral traditions. For many on the Left, I think a lot of this can be attributed to impatience to make their mark on the world. They figure they are smart enough that they can just throw out everything and start over without the help of untold generations of men who have gone before. To me, the arrogance of such a belief is breathtaking. But a careful reading of the Bible, of the Great Books, of history and philosophy, seems a necessary thing if one is to set about remaking the world. Rudyard Kipling wrote about this after WWI in the The Gods of the Copybook Headings. Go read it, please. Man has not changed, and there truly is nothing new under the sun. Whatever you want to call it, Socialism, Fascism, Communism, Progressivism, or Liberalism, it is a variant on the oldest form of government known to man, the Strongman. Monarchy, of course, is just one variant. More modern versions include Fuhrer, Il Duce, Dictator, President for life, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat-one thing about these guys is they are certainly creative.
Here, I want to pick a particular bone. The word "liberal" once had a good meaning, before it was sullied by Socialists and Communists hiding under its umbrella. Classical liberals included such men as Madison, and Jefferson, who would be angry to see what passes for liberals today. Neither would condone "interpreting" the Constitution to say something not said in the document. Neither would they condone such Unconstitutional programs as Social Security. Both would be appalled at our large professional military, and the designation of the United States as a "superpower." But I digress.
So, what is it then that Conservatives wish to conserve? It is faithful adherence to the Constitution, as written. Until the Constitution is amended, it should stand as originally written and intended. Judges can not change the law by interpreting the law. If they could, then there is no need for legislatures. We can just have judges make up law as they go. Indeed, such is the old common law-you see it has been tried before. The concept of Stare Decis is a good one, in that it provides some continuity to others who may come before the Court relying on previous precedents, but the Court should always look at the original law, and determine what the original law meant in each case that comes before it. Furthermore, before a member of the legislature votes on a bill, he or she should make an independent determination of the Constitutionality of that bill. Before a President signs the bill into law, he also should make an independent determination of the Constitutionality of that bill. Our Presidents and Congressmen have failed us miserably on this score. As an example, President Bush said during his campaign that McCain-Feingold was Unconstitutional, and he would, if elected, veto it. Yet, he signed it when he was elected. He failed in this case.
So, if you are reading this blog, here is what a conservative believes-faithful adherence to the original meaning of the Constitution. If you do that, you will necessarily have small, less intrusive government, stable currency, strong protection of contracts and property. Most of the governance in everyday life would issue from the States and local governments. We would all be much freer