Modern Day Political Conservatives Need a Reality Check

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 27, 2011

They get one from Russell Kirk, via Stephen Bainbridge:

Conservatism, I repeat, is not an ideology. It does not breed fanatics. It does not try to excite the enthusiasm of a secular religion. If you want men who will sacrifice their past and present and future to a set of abstract ideas, you must go to Communism, or Fascism, or Benthamism.

But if you want men who seek, reasonably and prudently, to reconcile the best in the wisdom of our ancestors with the change which is essential to a vigorous civil social existence, then you will do well to turn to conservative principles.

As Professor Bainbridge points out, there are a number of people in the House GOP caucus, and a number of Republican Senators, who want to sink the Boehner plan, and who think that a good alternative to the Boehner plan entails trying to get through a balanced budget amendment in the current political climate and with the debt ceiling deadline breathing down our throats. These people may call themselves “conservatives.” But Bainbridge begs to differ, and so does Russell Kirk. And for that matter, so do I.

  • Johndoe

    So, desiring to permanently (or nearly so) curtail the scope, size, and growth of government isn’t conservative? What is it, then? And what better time is there to do such a thing than now? Passing an amendment through Congress now means  it will be some time before the requisite number of states ratify it (and the sooner the better on that account, as who knows how long we’ll control the number of state houses we do currently).

    Why shouldn’t we fight for what we know is right?

    • Demosthenes

      “So, desiring to permanently (or nearly so) curtail the scope, size, and growth of government isn’t conservative?”

      Of course it is.  But then, Pejman never said it wasn’t.

      “Why shouldn’t we fight for what we know is right?”

      Simply put, the GOP doesn’t have the votes to pass a balanced budget amendment through both houses of Congress so that it can be SENT to the states.  The House already put the Senate in a hot spot by making it table CCB…a maneuver of which I approve, because it gets Reid on the record as being against the most workable proposed plan.  But that’s the most Boehner and the House GOP can do right now.

      Spending the time on the first attempt was not a waste.  Spending time on any future attempts would be.  Why should we waste time, resources, and energy on something that we KNOW will not clear the Senate…when we can spend time trying to come up with something acceptable to us that CAN clear the Senate, and force both Obama’s and Reid’s hands?

      You fight the fights you can win.  Fight for what you can get now, and take more later as you can.  In the long term, I want CCB.  In the short term, I’ll take the best plan we can get, which will be well short of that ideal.  C’est la vie.

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