Sunday, January 13, 2008

Conservatism's Identity Crisis

by David Limbaugh - January 11th, 2008 -

This debate wouldn't be as significant if it were limited to the candidates alone, but a growing number of conservative intellectuals have also surrendered to the oxymoronic notion that conservatism must adapt to survive as a powerful political force in this nation.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum is an example. In his new book, "Comeback, Conservatism That Can Win Again," he argues that Republicans need a new approach because they can no longer win elections on the conservative ideas that catapulted them to power in the 1980s.

This is a great article. It is a quick primer on the various intellectual thoughts that are competing for the soul of the Republican Party. Understanding these ideas is critical in the aftermath of the Hastert-Rove abandonment of our principals to their contagious love of power. That is how they justified their corruption of our party, the need to maintain power. In the process though they have left our party reeling.

Limbaugh is right. Many have equated the governing philosophy of the Republican Party to the "Identity" of conservatism. The problem is that different factions of the party, and the enemy party (democrats) too, have muddled the use of the many labels and intentionally mis-stated what many of them mean. It is ironic that a party that has long been the party of ideas, has slipped into the being the party of insults. That is a major contributing factor to the current identity crisis. Too many who thought of themselves as Republicans have been willing to defend their own ideas, not by logical analysis, but by calling their opponent RINOs (Republican in name only) to win the discussion. This laziness has cost us. It is our version of PC, political correctness.

We have Republicans today who do not understand the incredible willingness of a nation of 150 years ago to go to war over the issue of whether a representative republic form of government was important for mankind. The co-mingling of two values, the abolitionists desire to end slavery, and the republican desire to maintain freedom, means there is no agreement over why the American Civil War was fought. That confusion is based on devaluing the concept of a representative republic. Many today do not even understand what that means.

Today there is the same confusion over why we are fighting the Islamo-fascists. That multiple reasons can be in play is rejected by those who oppose the war. That multiple reasons are driving different parts of conservatism is a major part of the identity crisis Limbaugh is discussing. At least one component that I find ironic is the failure of many conservatives to appreciate the concatenation of freedom with republicanism, the love of the form of government that has made our nation great. Democrats have so sold the idea that we are a democracy, the party formed in opposition to democracy has abandoned its reason for existence.

In its simplest form the reason a Republican party exists is because freedom is more important than health insurance. Hillary does not believe that. Amazingly, most of our Republican candidates don't believe it either.


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