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    « If it’s not “Climate Change,” then What Should we Call it? | Main | Because I’m a Conservative »

    Because I'm a Conservative--Part Two

    My recent blog post, “Because I’m a Conservative,” has garnered a surprising amount of attention. Much of this is due to the vibrant community over at Coffee Party USA’s FB page and the cross-posting support from Egberto Willies. But that’s not all of it: I’ve found links and comments all over the place. I am marginally disliked at Auburn University, for example, while readers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch generally approve of me. I even found a discussion in a comment stream over at The Blaze, which prompted a FB message from Glenn Beck himself (or at least one of his staffers).

    There were so many comments in so many places that I couldn’t possibly respond to them all. But three patterns emerged: those who took me for a closet liberal (many); those who agreed with me and bemoaned the loss of reasonable conservatism (also many); and those who basically told me I was full of shit (very few, thankfully). Running through it all, though, was a request that I share my views on a few more topics, ostensibly to help people determine into what category I properly belong.

    I’m okay with that (and I want to respect my readers). I’d mention, though, that the topics in the original post were intentionally chosen so as to prompt discussion over the label “conservative,” rather than how they might define this particular Incredibly Minor Public Figure.

    But here goes anyway. I hope this (still incomplete) list of viewpoints answers many of the questions raised:

    I like business and I like capitalism. Both get a really bad rap these days. I know there are many rotten apples out there, but isn’t it interesting that we only hear about those and not the good ones? I’m reminded of an old joke about a newspaper headline you’ll never see: “More than eight million New Yorkers survived the day without incident.” Every day, hundreds of thousands of companies don’t do anything wrong except meet their goals, take care of their employees, and try to make a few bucks. They deserve our respect and support as we provide the environment to encourage innovation, stability, and—yes—profits.

    I am strongly against abortions, but recognize the reality of the situation: Abortion is and will be. The more important question for me is how we will provide the safest, healthiest, most nurturing environment to, first, encourage/enable people to avoid unwanted pregnancies and, second, assure them that if they find themselves in such a situation, they have all options available to them.  Being against abortion, by the way, doesn’t mean being against choice. I would never presume to come between a doctor and his or her patient, nor between a patient and his or her God.

    Education in our country is dying the death of a thousand cuts, and I find myself repeatedly angered at the position of the unions as they insist on protecting bad teachers, and of school boards that refuse to leave important decisions to the professionals. Something new is needed. Because of this I support charter school models, school choice, and even a small level of corporate involvement in public education. Some of it may work and some may not, but we have to try, to experiment, else our educational performance on the global stage will continue to suffer.

    I believe we should carefully manage immigration while accepting the reality (again!) of the millions who are already here. We should not split up families nor subject anyone to some Kafka-esque bureaucracy, but at the same time we should not provide unauthorized immigrants with the same benefits as everyone else, nor should we open our doors to anyone who wants to come in. We would do well, first, in attending to our own tired, poor, and huddled masses. There are certainly enough of them.

    Oh, and I want big money OUT of politics, because the most important—the most “conservative”—tradition we have to preserve is the principle of “one person/one vote.”


    P.S.: I’ve also seen multiple comments expressing curiosity as to my voting habits. I’ve generally been on record, and you can read my views here, here, and here. There are probably a few voting decisions I’d take back if I could—particularly my vote for McCain/Palin—but not that many.

    Special P.S., for Egberto. I’m guessing these are some of the ways we’re different….. One of the ways we are definitely the same, though, is in understanding that reality must be a factor in any policies, and that blatant blindness to those realities is simply foolish.

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    Reader Comments (8)

    When I was young, I remember many of these positions being mainstream Democratic views. There were Republicans with whom I could have constructive discourse to fix problems. Generally speaking, we need each other. I lament the times that make progress and problem solving so difficult.

    March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElly

    Couldn't agree more, Elly. As I've written elsewhere, I grew up in a houseful of Democrats (and began as one myself), and I'm pretty sure the positions I've outlined wouldn't have been that out of place. Both sides have moved closer to their respective ends of the bell curve, it seems.

    March 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterMichael Charney

    I've never considered myself either a democrat or republican, though I vote democrat on the basis of social issues. I always thought I was alone on what I considered to be a Centrists or rationalists playform. What I consider to be actually fair and balanced. Guns with gun control. Choice with alternatives. Sensible taxation where it will do the most good. Reward corporations who do good things, penalize those that don't. Legislating for the greater good of the country, not just to line the pockets of the people who can afford the loudest voice. And everyone minding their own damn business and not feeling like their choices should be my choices. By force if necessary. That's what I thought we were being taught and teaching our children when we talked about the golden rule. Thank you for putting yourself out there. Gives me hope.

    March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren J

    Thank you for these posts. I felt I was floundering alone in a sea of extremism. It's very tough to make someone understand how I can be anti-abortion but pro-choice (not my body, not my decision). Gun safety instead of gun control (do you really need an two shotguns, an assault rifle and 1000 bullets to kill a deer for food?). Living wages, infrastructure repair, etc, etc, etc. I feel as if I've been pushed from the moderate vote for the person, for the people by the people, further and further to the left. I'm fighting to my way back to the middle, hoping to drag some who have fallen to the dark side of the extreme right back with me with common sense. Now that I've found your blog, I look forward to more posts. Thanks again.

    March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

    As a moderate with no party affiliation, I appreciate your identification of the drift in the term 'Conservative' over the last several decades. I've always felt that for our nation to be strong, we need two viable parties, as it seems we're stuck with the dualistic system. In my metaphor, Liberals are the gas pedal, Conservatives are the brake, and the country is the automobile. Too much gas without meaningful braking, and you end up in an accident. Too much brake (as we are now) without any accelerator, and you go nowhere. For my part, I have ended up voting Democrat more and more, simply because the options that Republicans offer me are really no options at all. Give me some true Conservatives, and I'll have something else to vote for other than Democrats.

    March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

    What you've described here is essentially the Modern Whig philosophy. This country is being let down by polarized Congress that is unable (or unwilling, due to fear of being "primaried") to work for the common good. But the Whigs desparately need a spokesperson. Hint. Hint.

    March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark P

    As a friend once put it, I am a bleeding heart, tree hugging, gun confiscating, tax-and-spend liberal. However, I am also a pragmatist. There is no possible way that America can be governed from either the extreme right, or the extreme left. True governance must come from the middle, and it would seem from your last two articles (that appeared on my Facebook page thanks to "Join the Coffee Party Movement") that you are firmly in that middle ground, with a slight list to the right. I really appreciate your positions, and the sensibilities that allowed you to arrive where you have. While I can't get behind all of your positions, it is just so refreshing to discover a conservative who uses his head for something other than bobbing up and down in agreement with the latest Tea Party rant. I long for the days when real negotiation and compromise led to legislation that, while I might not have approved of in its entirety, at least kept the country on course, and there was always room for later action to get more of what I thought was needed, but all due to rational discourse. It's just nice to know that there are still conservative writers that I can read without winding up pounding my head against a wall.

    March 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Murphy

    "Running through it all, though, was a request that I share my views on a few more topics, ostensibly to help people determine into what category I properly belong."

    I would step out on a ledge and say that you are also helping people determine in what category THEY belong.
    You, Sir, have a voice of reason, and that's the voice that's seemigly gone silent in the Republican Party.

    I have always identified as a Dem, and now I feel that calling myself a conservative Democrat might be even more accurate. There should be a lot more Republicans like yourself. We'd all be better off for it.

    Thank You.

    March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterS. Belliveau

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