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Conservatism Is Officially Dead - R.I.P.

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 09/02/17 12:04

by Dave Mindeman

Let's make the declaration. Conservatism is officially dead. We no longer have to deal with the flag waving...the references to Constitutional governance... the ideas of smaller government...the caps on spending.

All of it..every last piece...has died.

Part of the demise is Donald Trump. The Republican capitulation to a government devoid of integrity is one thing. But conservatism lost its way long before that. It sold out to Christian conservatives. It winked and nodded to the alt-right. It acquiesced to foreign policy Neo-Cons. It all took its toll.

Let's look back at the 11 Reagan Principles of Conservatism that came from a book by Paul Kengor in 2014 - as outlined in the American Spectator.

1. Freedom - A loosely defined word. It's definition has been usurped by flag waving nationalism. The Tea Party. And extreme libertarianism. Freedom is important except when it comes to gays...to immigrants...to choice.

2. Faith - Faith has been extorted into a Christian only totalitarianism. Faith is a moral principle; but outside of the Christian faith - morals do not exist. The Family values of the Reagan area are now Trump values today. They are NOT the same thing.

3. Family - Conservatism trusted the family, but then began to use its own definitions. Single parent families were welfare baggage. Gay families are considered an abomination. Only anti-choice advocates need apply.

4. Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life - The pro-lifers of the Reagan area have morphed into Trump lemmings. And the ALEC organization has used abortion legislation to punish rather than promote. Human life is sacred except when it comes to war and capital punishment. And quality of life is degraded by poverty and discriminatory legal status.

5. American Exceptionalism - This was a Reagan hallmark. America would prevail in all things, because America was an exceptional, moral world power. But in the era of Trump, America is not exceptional. It is reviled and in chaos. The words of America are not trusted and are even viewed with suspicion.

6. The Founders Wisdom and Vision - The principles of the Constitution would always be upheld in conservative ideas. But once again, it is Trump that stretches the credulity of that idea. The Constitutional framers considered America a welcoming country - we no longer are. The flawed, slave owning founders still believed in equality (in a somewhat limited sense) - but even that limited equality has been eroded by Trump ideas on race and sexual orientation. And the founders believed in majority rule - and even that has been manipulated by gerry mandering and Citizens United.

7. Lower Taxes - Even Reagan's firm belief in lowering taxes was qualified by balancing budgets. Conservatism know longer recognizes the balanced budget idea. Current absurdity talks of massive tax cuts in the face of a boondoggle border wall and the need of South Texas. You cannot balance a budget by massively reducing revenue and increasing spending.

8. Limited Government - This is still the rally point for conservatism; but just cancelling regulations is not an answer to anything if people are poisoned and the air quality is compromised. Is government limited under Trump? Is he being challenged on conservative principles? And how would Reagan react to a President that adds to his personal fortune via government payments to his company? Would Reagan build a stupid wall? Would Reagan have staff and advisers that use their position for personal gain? A President who believes that only his opinion matters is not going to promote limited government.

9. Peace Through Strength - Trump tells us that he follows this principle, but strength is not a matter of building up the military. You can spend the money to do that without question. But if our diplomacy is compromised because the President is not respected and has lowered our standing in the world - then our strength has been weakened as well. No amount of military hardware can make up for that.

10. Anti-Communism - Even though communism as a method of control in a country has been defeated. Its totalitarian remnants still remain. Can you imagine Reagan standing by while Trump cozies up to Putin? Can a true conservative even fathom that?

11. Belief in the Individual - Reagan didn't believe that he alone can fix anything. He believed in each individual American controlling or working to control his or her own destiny. Donald Trump does not believe in the destiny of every individual in American. He only believes in those who agree with him. Only he can fix it. Only he and his ideas can prevail. Everything else is "fake news".

Conservatism is dead. Those principles are dead. No matter how many times they are verbalized - Trump has destroyed all of it.

And if true conservatives still really believed in those principles themselves then you would think they would fight for them. That they would challenge what the Republican Party has become. That they would never capitulate to such an obviously flawed and unprincipled President.

Conservatism is no longer even on life support. It is dead.

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