Thursday, April 02, 2009

CONservative Roots

Conservatives vociferously claim that race shouldn’t matter. I guess they are right in this regards because one rarely see anyone outside their race within their organizations (congressional staffs, think thanks, newspapers, etc.). So, they are truly color-blind or just blind to people of color.

By Raynard Jackson

The root of the word conservative is con. And that’s exactly what the American people have received from conservatives. Modern American conservatism was created out of an alliance between classical liberals and social conservatives at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
Many credit philosopher Edmund Burke as the father of this movement. Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln stated that “conservatism is adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried.” President Reagan is said to have stated, “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

But, for a Republican Party that reflexively quotes Reagan in every other word they speak, I find it quite odd that they espouse an agenda that is antithetical to what Reagan believed.

You have a Republican Party that grossly interfered in the Elian Gonzalez custody case.Republican members of congress tried to pass a bill to give him retroactive citizenship (though his father wanted him returned to Cuba). And this is the party of family values?

Remember the Terri Schiavo case. A case that President Bush, the Republican congress, and conservative activists injected themselves in over the objections of Schiavo’s husband (who was the legal guardian). All this grandstanding took place because these conservatives wanted to score political points at the expense of their so-called conservative principles.

During 6 of the 8 years of the Bush administration, Republicans controlled both houses of congress. What did they do? They increased government spending, increased the federal deficit, decreased government oversight of most federal agencies, and chipped away a many of our rights to privacy (all in the name of national security).

Conservatives vociferously claim that race shouldn’t matter. I guess they are right in this regards because one rarely see anyone outside their race within their organizations (congressional staffs, think thanks, newspapers, etc.). So, they are truly color-blind or just blind to people of color.

Conservatives constantly warn of the dangers of “BIG GOVERNMENT,” except when it comes to abortion or pharmacists who don’t want to fill prescriptions they disagree with. If they can’t outlaw abortion, they want to force doctors to show women an ultrasound of the fetus or mandate women receive information on adoption.

They also want a law to allow pharmacists the right to refuse to fill a prescription that goes against their morals. These are the same people who raised holy hell when it was widely reported that Muslims in Minnesota refused to check out customers at a grocery store if they had pork or alcohol (because of their religious beliefs). Conservatives basically said they should find new work (and I agree with them). I say the same thing to physicians and pharmacists.

Weak people take strong positions on weak issues. Conservatives will raise a stink about abortion, but said very little to this day about the abuse the Catholic Church unleashed on innocent children.

Conservatives always talk about the hypocrisy of the left, but I challenged them on the very same point. Are they for less government? Or Just when it’s an issue that they are promoting? Are they for individual freedom, even when it involves something they disagree with (Terri Schiavo’s husband’s right to remove her from life support or Elian Gonzalez’s father’s right to have his son returned to him in Cuba)?

Conservatives claim to support the rule of law, but based on the above cases, it seems this only applies if they are in agreement with the actions in question. They are quick to quote Lincoln and Reagan with their words, but with their actions they have become as the tinkling cymbal or sounding brass; full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm. You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Go to to learn more.


Anonymous said...

Tell the truth. Shame the devil.

Jewels said...

With all due respect, I don't think you fully understand the conservative position, especially when it comes to life issues. I'll agree with you about the Muslims in Minnesota, though I hadn't heard of that case. Then again, now that I think about it, though the situations are similar- both people are in a position to sell a product they have problems with- Muslim's take issue with the product based on their religion, while the pharmacists take issue with dispensing of medication of which the only purpose of the product is to take life. That is a belief in one of the basic rights of our country. (that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.) The debate there should be more along the lines of, which is more important, our right to worship as we choose, or our right to life. Personally I think that both are equally important.

As for Terri Schaivo, that too was a basic conservative belief in our country's basic rights. For those who are conservative, the forced starvation of Terri Schaivo goes against everything that this country was founded on. They removed her feeding tube, but did you also know that they refused to allow food to be brought into the room for her? That she wasn't allowed a sip of water or a bite of bread? Did you know that tests had been done and had they allowed for those things, it's entirely possible that Terri would have been able to eat in that fashion, without the help of the tubes and machines? It took her over a week to die... we don't even kill prisoners on death row in such an inhumane a fashion. And why? Because her husband wanted to re-marry, without divorcing Terri (who was the benefactor of a large court settlement due to the cause of her condition) Not only that, but her parents were more than ready and willing to care for, pay for, and love Terri. She did not have to die. She should not have been killed. TRUE conservatives fight for the life of ALL peoples from the moment they are conceived until the moment they die asleep in their beds at age 120.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

If conservatives feel so strongly about abortion, why have they not declared war...that’s what Lincoln did with regard slavery? I think conservatives are hypocrites on the abortion issue. If I was opposed to abortion I would be fighting in the street, and leading a movement as Lincoln did to free the slaves. If you really believed that abortion, was the same morally as slavery then where is the outrage?

Anonymous said...

If someone doesn't agree with abortion then the simple solution is not to have one. Period.

Anonymous said...

Pure utter overflowing BS.

Anonymous said...

In regard to the italicized text before this article, Jackson brings up a very good point. That text was shown before the article for a reason.

I mean seriously, when other center-right parties like the Conservatives in Britain and Canada have more ethnic diversity than conservative parties in America here, that says something.

Conservatives all talk about reaching out to these groups, but rarely are do we see improvement. I may sound like a liberal, but the demographics are changing and if you don't adjust, well the party will be gone.

Gordon Winslow said...

I realize this is only a column, so perhaps some points weren't gone into in the depth the author may have chosen had he had more space to work with, but it has some problems.

I would agree with the author that Muslims who won't touch pork as part of their jobs ought to be fired, unless they made it clear in their interview that it was a stipulation of employment and the employer agreed. I am also fine with pharmacists and doctors being fired if they are not obeying their bosses under similar circumstances. Those doctors can go work at Catholic hospitals (for now), other businesses and organizations that share their beliefs, or start their own practices.

As far as conservatives not paying any attention to the Catholic priest scandal--he must be kidding. (FYI, I am not a Catholic.) I listen to conservative talk radio regularly and the topic comes up all the time to this day.

Schiavo and Gonzalez are complicated cases made very simple by the author. Is it "libertarian" to send a child to live in a dictatorship when he has a loving family in a free country? Does it promote family values? There is a strong libertarian and a strong conservative case for both send-him-back and keep-him-here, and to flat out declare that someone who disagrees with you is a hypocrite is small-minded. (For the record, I sided with send-him-back, and struggle with that to this day.)

I won't get into Schiavo, largely because this comment is too long already, but there are good-faith conservative and libertarian arguments that could be made on either side of that one, too. It is deeply offensive for the author to say that those who disagree with him on the issue did so to score political points.