Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Behind the Conservative Mask

Many of today’s most outspoken conservatives are merely anti-liberals, people who wouldn‘t know a traditional conservative ideal if they stepped in it.


Over the last 20 years the political education of the blowhard wing of the Republican Party has come primarily by way of living within a talk radio echo chamber. They've learned to consider liberals as book-learned pansies who favor socialism … whatever that particular ism might be.

Millions of so-called conservatives are supporting former-Gov. Mitt Romney this year. Many of them aren't so keen on Romney. But since they see President Barack Obama as a flaming liberal, they can eagerly embrace Romney, the anti-liberal candidate. 

Legions of today’s conservatives have been taught by self-styled pundits to hate a government that wants to take their money and give it to foreigners and lazy people who deserve nothing. These Dittohead conservatives view those who favor such a forced redistribution of wealth -- tax-and-spend liberals! -- as their sworn enemies.  

Yet, when it came to financing collective endeavors, such as roads and schools, old fashioned conservatives, like Virginia's Sen. Harry F. Byrd, believed it was more prudent to tax than borrow. In the past, conservatives in Virginia supported the principle that government-backed banks should be extra careful with other people’s money.

At one time, American conservatives generally opposed risky military adventures overseas. Too many of today's trash-talking conservatives seem to believe the White House can and should decide who occupies the seats of power in lots of other countries.

Destroying nature in pursuit of profits does not conserve, it doesn‘t cherish and protect what was left to us. To a hedonist, squandering an inheritance might sound like fun. Still, it’s anything but conservative.

Saying the world was created in six days and that it is only 10,000 years old isn't as conservative as it is stubbornly ignorant. While it might be fun to pretend the Flintstones cartoons are documentaries, with dinosaurs and people living together, it's too bad some children are still being taught to ignore science.  

Conservatives on abortion?

Hey, it’s more totalitarian than it is conservative to insist women surrender their bodies over to the will of the government, with regard to pregnancies. When right-to-lifers seek to impose their religious beliefs about personhood on others that may seem conservative, because it harkens back to a God-fearing past. Others might call such throwback thinking simply Un-American. 

Likewise, fanning the dying embers of racism, in order to thwart a president’s reelection, is more backward than it is conservative. It's hardly about the future. Conservatism can't be anti-future.

A conservative used to have ideas. Conservative icon William F. Buckley didn't need to torture the truth to back up his ideas. There is no Buckley of today's Tea Party-driven conservative movement. Instead, we get smug spin doctors.

Behind their masks of conservatism, anti-liberals have more passion than ideas. This year their man is Romney. It doesn't matter so much what sort of temporary conservative he might be, this time around Romney is the candidate who is not a liberal ... and, of course, he's white.

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