The misguided quest for true conservatism

Written by Paul Zannucci on 10:07 AM

I just read a notice that one of the people I know via blogging is starting some sort of qroup/site that quests to return to a true conservatism. Why is it that Republicans always react to defeat by attempting to become more exclusive? Toss out the neocons! Toss out the evangelicals! But politics is very much unlike a sea-going vessel or a lighter-than-air craft. In fact, it is the opposite, and tossing things overboard causes you to weaken your numbers, causes you to sink.

I once considered doing a blog called "Stuff Republicans Hate," but as I started working out the directions I would go, I realized it wasn't all that funny because you can find Republicans who hate pretty near everything.

We can't stand gay people. We can't stand immigrants. We can't stand our own neocons and evangelicals, et cetera. Seriously, what the hell?

Now none of us would admit to hating gays, immigrants, or anyone, but we seriously don't want to offer any concessions to them and have them busting into our exclusive political party. And then in the next breath we mutter curses that the party is too incompetent to win elections.

Maybe it's just too small.

Rather than searching for the holy grail of conservatism and scrunching us down to only a handful of religious nuts (like me) or individual liberty zealots (like me) or fiscal tightwads (like me), we need to identify the lowest common denominator and expand our reaches to embrace as many as we can. If we don't do this, we will fail.

So what can we all agree upon? Liberty. If there is one thing that all of us crave, it is to be free. We need to latch onto the idea that more government, by its very nature, means less liberty.

Being a nation that values liberty over all else means that we give the religious nuts the forums within which to practice their religion and spread their good word, and, most importantly, give their adherents the free will needed to be truly virtuous.

Through valuing liberty we protect American sovereignty and make the neocons happy.

Through liberty we welcome legal immigrants and improve the immigration system so that all are welcome to come legally to America.

Through liberty we preach fiscal soundness and free markets, the ability to rise and fall on the backs of our own ingenuity and labor.

Through liberty we say that it is okay for gays to marry, for kids to attend any school they wish, for companies to soar without the weight of over burdensome regulations. We abolish the nanny state. We take drugs out of illegal status and clean out our prisons and our courts.

With liberty we become free to make our own right or wrong decisions, but we must also be reasonable. We cannot simply slash and burn all entitlement/safety net programs and expect to get elected (particularly not during an economic crisis). We must create market-based alternatives and an economy that blossoms and improves the conditions of all Americans.

But most importantly, we must realize the need to reach out to as many groups as possible and to give concessions here and there. Evangelicals must accept gay marriage in exchange for their own freedom and the ability to worship and send their children to the schools of their choice. Gays must accept, for instance, the pro-life stance of the religious. Fiscal conservatives must be willing to open the wallets every now and then when reason demands it and neocons must realize that there must be a balance between taking America to the world and surviving as a financially viable country.

We must realize that there is no "real conservatism" without the many voices that should be welcomed and given a small part of the party to call their own. Otherwise, we are doomed to more and more oppressive government.

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