Conservatism. Too Many Definitions and November is Fast Approaching by Craig Covello

Craig Covello
Loyal Reader and Friends:  I am finally back from a long four month trip to Thailand where I was shooting my feature film entitled, “Elephant White.”  The film which stars Kevin Bacon and Djimon Hounsou is currently in post-production and will be complete sometime in December.  Now, that I am home and relaxed, I will get back to writing at least one article per week for this column.  Again, I want to thank Ira Schwartz and Craig Covello for keeping this column going while I was away.
I’m hoping to have an article posted sometime mid-week.  In the meantime, here is one more article by Craig regarding the definition of a Conservative.  I think it is very well thought out and addresses a lot of points to make one think . . . . .
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last week when, admittedly, I steered towards politics. I should know better. When it comes to politics, I believe we share many conservative viewpoints. He wants to keep his own money, live his own life-style and raise his kids as he see fit without government intervention. Yet when I suggest the obvious, his response is typically something along the lines of “that doesn’t make me a conservative!”. So it started me thinking, is there a generally accepted standard defining conservatism? After a little research on the Internet, it appears that Wikipedia lists no less than seven definitions:
Christian conservatism — Conservative Christians are primarily interested in family values.
Neoconservatism — A modern form of conservatism that supports a more assertive, interventionist foreign policy, aimed at promoting democracy abroad.
Limited government conservatism — Limited government conservatives look for a decreased role of the federal government. They follow Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in their suspicion of a powerful federal government.
Paleoconservatism — Arising in the 1980s in reaction to neoconservatism, stresses tradition, especially Christian tradition and the importance to society of the traditional family. Paleoconservatives are generally isolationist, and suspicious of foreign influence.
Libertarian conservatism or Fusionism— Emphasizes a strict interpretation of the Constitution, particularly with regard to federal power.
Fiscal conservatives support limited government, limited taxation, and a balanced budget.
Social conservatism is generally dominated by defense of traditional social norms and values, of local customs and of societal evolution, rather than social upheaval.
Of course, Wikipedia is not the final word on any topic, so I decided to do a little more digging by looking for core conservative principles. Anthony Martin of the Columbia Conservative Examiner offers his top-ten list:
1. ‘Government money’ does not belong to government. It belongs to the taxpayers who worked hard for it, and who had funds deleted from their paychecks even before they got to see them. 
2. The government that governs best governs LEAST.
3. Government normally does not solve problems. People do. Big government usually IS the problem.
4. Oppressive large governments are responsible for more murders of citizens than all of the wars in history.
5. The private sector is where the juice of society lies. There you will find ingenuity, creativity, and the creation of wealth–provided government gets out of the way.
6. Government social programs reward pathological dependency. True adults, unless hindered by debilitating physical impairment, seek independent living as free persons who are not stuck in an infantile dependency on the government nanny.
7. The one role of government mandated by the U.S. Constitution is to provide for the national defense.
8. Human rights are not granted by government. They are inherent and automatic. We are ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ Government can only choose to recognize and protect those inherent rights.
9. The right to self-defense, as encapsulated in the 2nd Amendment, is the key to all of the other rights described in the Bill of Rights. Free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and a free press are secured and kept secure by an armed citizenry.
10. Our form of government is NOT a ‘pure democracy’ or ‘majority rule.’ In a Constitutional Republic such as ours, the will of the majority is tempered and limited by the rights of the minority, which are always intact and unalienable regardless of the ‘will of the majority.’
The Patriot Journal takes a somewhat more simplistic approach by listing three core conservative principles:
Faith:
Faith in God is the most important principle. God provides the moral stability that every standard of conduct is based.
Honor:
Your word is paramount in this world. A true Conservative would never let their honor come into question. Personal accountability is never an issue. You do what you promise to do and expect the same from others. You live by example always.
Patriotism:

Americans now are enjoying the fruits of labor of 233 years, and generations of blood, sweat, and tears of American ancestry before them. A lot of respect is due. As a patriot you believe that the country created by the Declaration of Independence and governed by the Constitution is just, and does not need radical change from the vision of the founders.

Political commentator Mark Liven has his own top 10 list of conservative principles:
1. America is guided by morality, having an origin in God.
2. The U.S. Constitution is not a “liv
ing and breathing document.”…It is the defining document which enables our rights, and delegates the powers to each branch of the U.S. Government, as well as to the states of the Union.
3. The Free Market fosters creativity and inventiveness.
4. Entitlement programs tend to be intergenerational swindles that threaten the well-being of future generations with massive financial obligation incurred from benefits received by today’s generation.
5. Illegal immigration is against the law, and threatens our security, morality and traditions as a nation.
6. Enviro-statism is a threat to freedom and its citizens…..With the assistance of a pliant or sympathetic media, the Statist uses junk science, misrepresentations, and fear-mongering to promote public health and environmental scares…
7. The Tenth Amendment is not to be ignored; rather, it is that amendment which was to keep the intent of the Declaration of Independence. ….States are more likely to better reflect the interests of their citizens than the federal government.
8. Self Preservation is the reason for public policy. Conservatives understand that the reason for public policy is for the preservation and improvement of American society. It cannot be made in an experimental attempt to rush us into a Utopian society.
9. Conservative activism must be maintained at all times to keep Americans educated….“The conservative must become more engaged in public matters.
10. Americans have the right to keep the fruit of his own labors…. taxes must be reduced to give people and business more disposable incomes. … the progressive income tax must go. … All residents must be required to pay the tax so they have a stake in limiting its abuse.
And finally, Mike Huckabee has his own list of 10 principles:
1. Lower taxes are better than higher taxes.
2. The purpose of government is to protect us, not to provide for us. We should provide for ourselves.
3. The best government is self-government.
4. If there must be a form of civil government, it should be as limited as possible and as local as possible. The most local government is ideal in that it is closer to those being governed and therefore more accountable to the governed.
5. Peace for a nation is best achieved by having a superior military capacity than those who pose a threat.
6. Government should facilitate and not complicate the free enterprise system.
7. Excessive taxation, regulation and unmitigated litigation lead to job migration. Government intervention and regulation should be the court of last resort and not the first option in anything.
8. Mothers and fathers raise better children than governments do.
9. Government should undergrid the basic family structure and not undermine it.
10. The Constitution and the Bill of rights were written to limit and restrict government from interfering with the right s of it citizens, not to keep citizens from exercising their rights.
By now, you’re probably dizzy with various definitions of conservatism, so I won’t bother including The Mount Vernon Statement, the Tea Party’s Contract from America, or several other definitions of conservatism found in various websites. You should be aware, however, of a few fringe conservative views posted on the Internet which many mainstream conservatives would challenge:
• The statement that the United States is a European country and Americans are part of the European people.
• Conservative values include the protection of the environment and natural heritage.
• Conservatism supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world.
• If you want peace, prepare for war.
• Fundamentalist Muslims and Socialists are enemies of the state and must have no power or public influence on any law or custom in this nation.
• There are times when interference in the affairs of foreign nations are necessary for American security.
Analysis?
There are simply too many different descriptions of conservatism, and a few even seem to contradict each other. But that’s not surprising since there appears to be at least seven different types of conservative definitions in this country. Why should we care? Because we are rapidly approaching the 2010 elections, and unless the Republican Party starts to do some heavy lifting in defining what it stands for, the moderates in America will be confused by all this noise. The Tea Party cannot shoulder sole responsibility for carrying the conservative message forward. It must be refined by the Republican Party. Sean Hannity may have the right idea by insisting that Republicans create a contract with America. It should be in simple terms so that it can be easily communicated to most citizens without room for excessive interpretation. Mike Huckabee’s list might fit the bill.
Make no mistake. The progressives who currently are in control the federal government will use the radical’s well-established technique of saying the exact opposite of reality. This website has chronicled literally hundreds of facts for the sole purpose of helping us remember the past 18 months of progressive rule. My fear, however, is that some moderate Americans will be so worn down by the corruption and deliberate obfuscation of facts by the Obama White House, that they may lose hope for America and avoid the polls altogether. The only way to stop this from happening is to continue to beat the drum of conservative optimism while exposing the progressives agenda for what it is: Total control over virtually every aspect of our lives by use of governmental force. The words of manufacturing czar Ron Bloom come to mind: “We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of the gun”. All Americans need to be reminded of that statement in November.
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It also might be appropriate to remind them of the words spoken by President Ronald Reagan –


“The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom……We’re still Jefferson’s children. Freedom is not created by Government, nor is it a gift from those in political power. It is, in fact, secured, more than anything else, by limitations placed on those in Government.”

I could not have said that any better myself. Let’s hope the Republican Party crafts a simplified conservative message now so that it will be understood in November.

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7 Responses to Conservatism. Too Many Definitions and November is Fast Approaching by Craig Covello

  1. Anonymous on May 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Franky,

    That was a great read my friend. I found it very interesting. Good to bring back the truth that made us what we are…or were.
    I have to say though that those quotes about the best Government being small and by the people sound so great but it would be nice to see it some day.
    These politicians will say anything and I mean anything to get what they want and the minute they swear in they seem to suffer memory loss.
    And that goes for all of them!
    But still yet that was well worth reading…you are back my friend.

    Bruce Carson

  2. Anonymous on May 12, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Conservatives-Too many Definitions

    This blog “Conservatives-Too many Definitions” is exceptional in its thought provoking concept. The world is looking at the advantages (a new definition) of a crisis too good to waste. A crisis is the playground of a tyrant.

    Those who do not have a solid set of core values are certainly lost in a wash of “too many definitions” a construct needed to justify wrong headedness. As one wanders through the winding rational it is sooner than later that we come to realize that not only are there too many definitions, the definitions are changing. Check out Sal Alinsky and those who embrace Lucifer as their role model. What happened to the definition of heaven?

    The politicians pander, spin, weave with tortured logic while often, if not always, disingenuous at the best and conveniently ignorant at worst. These gifted minds of our culture will craft a witch’s brew of Machiavellian logic justifying the in defensible.

    There is that loud ominous sucking sound as again fiscal discipline and principles of common decency, moral standards by which a culture lives prosperously, exit, currently, down a global politically decadent sewer, To some, greed (necessarily redefined), excessive entitlements, actions for which there is no “legal controlling authority”, are now defined as good. The mounting national and global firestorm has a silent agenda. The definition of Holocaust has changed from the extermination of the unwanted to “it never happened.”

    We diligently search for ways to devalue and demean the Tea Party while taking only a casual analysis of the virus erupting in Greece, mirrored here by our national debt, growth of government, the creeping malevolence of insidious control, and the illegal alien issue. There is immoral terrorism (a new definition), but our nation’s populous is weak kneed on terrorism….because there are too many definitions of terrorism…..and anyone who falls on hard times has a right to a jihad. These are all products of too many definitions.

    This blog suggest that conservatism suffers from too many definitions. Start with your version of the Ten Commandments and when all else fails refer back to them. That cannot be “too many definitions” for most of us. But interpretation can be complex, built on an edifice of spin, inequality, suppression of ideas, censoring of information, egocentric comfort, systematic elimination of religion, and economic depression where the all consuming priority is just to survive.

    The USA has gone to war to resist evil and defend inalienable (not able of being given up or transferred) rights, principles of transcendent value such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” now in the throws of fundamental transformation. One might ponder the twisted and tortured interpretations, new (too many) definitions of what the Constitution means or what it “should” mean….and what a new Supreme Court will “want” it to mean.

    Someone, it is reported, is making a strong case for “Crime Incorporated” at the highest levels of our financial and congressional institutions. The facts are so solid, if you dare research them that the only defense is to stop listening to your IPOD, IPAD, XBOX, and Iphones. Shoot the messenger. Don’t bother to become informed and make up your own mind. That is far too difficult and not very much fun. And the proud misguided will never admit embracing a “wrong” definition.

    There is Greece, which now wants to privatize healthcare, the euro crisis and this socialistic contagion is already here in California, New York and coming to a city near you. Canada, with its problematic healthcare system, has embraced some very strict economic regulations and creating export appetites for oil, gas and minerals. Try buying a home in Canada. They are affordable! Worldwide cinema is the fastest growing private sector, usually an indication of a need to escape a recession or depression. Middle class jobs are fading away as American exceptionalism has “too many definitions.”

  3. Ira on May 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

    A very thorough and thought provocating comment Anonymous. It is true that in times past things were easier to understand; things were either right or wrong. In those days you knew where you stood. My comparison to those days are like the days of a child growing up. He knows only right and wrong and what he wants and doesn't want and what he likes or doesn't like. There is no compromise. But someday he has to grow up and when he does he will learn those "definitions" he has known all his young life are not so simple anymore. Our inter connection with the world has brought everyone additional meanings to old standards. Things are no longer black and white but contain numerous shades of gray. The rest of the wold does not see things as we do. They look at it from their perspective. But having said that though we must understand "where they are coming from" we should not compromise our definitions to accomodate theirs. Unfortunately we have been doing this for some time…I believe we now call it "political correctness". We have sacrificed some of our uniqueness to fit in with the rest of the world. Is that a good thing? Personally I don't think so but only history will tell.

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  5. The Right Girl on May 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Excellent post and thoughtful comments.

  6. A Hollywood Republican » Obama the NeoCon on June 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    [...] objectively, Obama just might be the greatest NeoCon this country has ever [...]

  7. Obama the NeoCon | Hooray For CHANGE! on June 14, 2011 at 10:23 am

    [...] objectively, Obama just might be the greatest NeoCon this country has ever [...]

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