OK…A little healthy, or unhealthy, mix of entertainment and political theory. Bear with me.
Believe it or not, I’ve put a lot of thought lately (meaning about the last 4 years or so) into how important it is for us to think deeply about why we believe what we believe, and why seeing different perspectives is not only useful, but absolutely necessary to put our own views in their proper context.
With that in mind, let me reiterate what I’ve pointed out in a previous post, and this will likely become a recurring theme of mine:
Maybe the problem is that the “Conservative” three-legged stool should NOT be:
- Free Markets
- Christian Fundamentalism
- Peace through Strength.
But should instead be:
- Limited and Enumerated Government
- Community and Family Values
- National Sovereignty
…Without this perspective Conservatives look like either: 1) warmongers, 2) greedy money-grubbers, or 3) fanatic proselytes. (As opposed to Environmentalist Wackos, Feminazis, and Peaceniks)…
The above was my ranting about the quick narrowing of alternatives on the Republican side of the ticket for the Presidency, however, there are several things that I have observed over the last 6 weeks or so that has crystallized my thinking even further. Those events were these:
A trip to Richmond to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Capitol where the most striking moment of the day (for me anyway) was reading this inscription on the statue of Robert E Lee, planted six steps into the chambers where he actually stood to say these words:
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
Profoundly impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, for which I must say I was not prepared, I accept the position assigned me by your partiality. I would have preferred had your choice fallen upon an abler man. Trusting in Almighty God, an approving conscience, and the aid of my fellow-citizens, I devote myself to the service of my native State, in whose behalf alone will I ever again draw my sword.
Now, I had heard that quote before, but seeing it on his statue right there in the Chambers put a huge lump in my throat. I stood speechless for a moment and tried to understand what he must have gone through. I sincerely hope I never REALLY have to understand it. If any reading this has not read a thorough history of Robert E Lee, then we will have a hard time having a conversation about what it truly means to be an American. He is in my mind one of our great Patriots. If you think that’s just crazy, well…too bad.
Another “event” was catching (sporadically) back episodes of Jericho on HD and the new season on CBS. Never has a fictional show made me think more about the role of my Federal Government. If you haven’t watched this show…please do so. Regardless of your political perspective, it’s an excellent warning about how dangerous it is for us to place so much authority and responsibility on bureaucrats hundreds and even thousands of miles away.
Add to the above (in random order): The SCOTUS taking on the DC gun ban; Newt Gingrich’s speech at CPAC; a local project I worked on titled–“Ensuring a Sense of Community in Loudoun County” (long story); of course, the unlikely successes and lack thereof, of Governor Huckabee; and lastly a few chapters into “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg…
…And I have come to the conclusion that what is really missing from the “Conservative movement,” the “Reagan Coalition,” or perhaps a NEW collective, starts with fundamental belief in the following:
- Having strong self-reliant communities where simple (dare I say “traditional”) values of that community are encouraged and supported by neighbors instead of enforced by the Government.
- A simple and direct foreign (and border) policy, which certainly respects the sovereignty of other countries, but first and foremost places our OWN sovereignty, safety, and indeed prosperity on the TOP of the priority list (as we would expect other countries to put THEIR rights and THEIR welfares on top of THEIR priority list).
- A health, education, and welfare system with a “bottom-up” approach instead of a “top-down” approach, where States, local communities, and families have ALL of the authority and all of the responsibility over the health, education, and welfare of their citizens and families. The Federal Government’s role in these areas would be limited to that of promoting “best practices” among the Republic, and would instead focus its attention on that which is in its purview, including the task of making sure that fundamental Constitutional rights of individual citizens are not infringed upon.
Am I simply in a dream world, or do these sound like universally Constitutional and classically liberal values? If not, what am I missing? Are these concepts outdated? Impossible in a “modern world”? If they are appropriate–why is it that these values have been completely lost on the leadership of both major political parties?
And lastly? What can be done about this disconnect?