Whither American Conservatism?

December, 2012 Feature--Truth Based Logic

Confusion in priorities, fragmented focus; whither Conservatives, seeking to preserve American ethnic & cultural achievements must go. Can Republican Party yet serve Conservative purpose?

The election is over; nothing changed. If we were"slouching" towards Gomorrah, prior to November, 2008, we have been marching down the main street, since. Never in this writer's lifetime has the American future seemed less clear; never has there been a greater confusion in priorities--a greater fragmentation in focus, the ultimate foundation for priorities. To be clear, most of the resident population, both rooted, recent & transient, is focused on material concerns, often at the expense of the spiritual or cultural. Yet even with the material, attention is radically varied both by concerns of time & class and, in many cases, by the positive or negative (by aspiration or envy). There is also great resentment against a highly varied panoply of villains.

We pretend no answer to every human problem. Our focus, here, will be on what course Conservatives--seeking to preserve ethnic achievements reflected in a Constitutional Federation, founded as an American cultural expression (as well as material advantages that have grown out of our cultural values)--must take in response to the past election. To limit the thrust, we will address the immediate future from a perspective of trying to work within the confines of a two party political system. (This limitation in focus does not imply anything. Survival of the unique cultures of America is infinitely more important than any political formula.)

Can The Republican Party Yet Serve Conservative Purpose?

The answer depends on whether we can resolve questions of purpose, priority & tactics, with far more clarity than we have in the last twenty-one years. Politics have always been about winning & the art of the possible; but to the true Conservative (which in the American context has always involved a major libertarian component), "winning" means preservation of a Constitutional heritage, never merely electing people with a particular label, nor those primarily identified with a single cause or the demands of any special interest. Winning is about preserving the multi-generational purpose & pursuits of a particular people--the mainstream Americans. (For analysis of the crisis, here, see October Feature, below.)

We addressed a mistake in the Romney campaign in a November Feature (also linked below). Now we will look at several approaches to expanding the Conservative vote, while reducing the vote of groups being exploited by politicians on the Left. Some of what follows is more aspirational than immediately achievable. In the interest of stimulating reflection on dynamic interaction from a long-term, multi-generational, perspective, we lump together what could be accomplished tomorrow, by simply changing the way we argue, with goals that will require considerable ground-work.

No matter what subjects we address in the future, we must not abandon our traditional purpose & priorities. What we must abandon, is the fallacy--easily fallen into with over-dependence on the 30 second sound-bite--of arguing by ex cathedra pronouncements. Once a people lose their homogeneity, religious cohesion, or common cultural identity of purpose, the ex cathedra argument convinces no one, not already "on board" for whatever viewpoint is being advanced. The examples of mistakes in this category are legion. We will address but a few examples of issues, which Republicans handled ineffectively in the past campaign.

Consider the contrived issue over the oxymoron of "same-sex marriage." The Conservative answer seldom involves an in depth discussion. The idea of having to treat, what is seen as a mockery of both Scripture & marriage, as a legitimate issue, is highly offensive to millions who see the ex cathedra pronouncement as the proper response. Unfortunately, millions of our youth have never been exposed to a serious discussion of the role of traditional marriage in a healthy society. We can denounce the educational systems, the NEA, even Leftist clerics, who preach egalitarian nonsense rather than Scriptural values; but we are losing votes to the Left, so long as we do not take the trouble to explain what is actually involved.

Proclaiming that marriage must be limited to "one man & one woman" is, itself, both insufficient & inaccurate. In many parts of today's world, you still have polygamy; even as you did in Biblical times among such towering figures as King Solomon. But the essential point is that your pronouncement fails to counter the indoctrination of many young Americans. Is it really too much trouble to quietly explain, perhaps in one or more of those 30 minute telecasts, urged in last month's feature, that marriage is now & always has been about sanctification of the procreational acts that lead to family formation; to the next generation, in a society where family is the functional mechanism for multi-generational focus--the vehicle for passing on the spiritual, cultural & material achievements of past generations. (This may not bring all of the lost sheep back into the fold. It will improve our numbers.)

Consider how the Left demonizes those, who want to severely restrict immigration--particularly incongruous immigration. Simply ranting about "illegal immigration"--as bad as that has become--is not an adequate response. It does not reach the real underlying issue that goes to the nature of a nation: Who has the best claim on the finite space & natural resources of its domains; on the culture, as a reflection of ethnic characteristics; above all, on questions of purpose & priority? In any discussion, demonizing other people can be counter-productive. Peoples differ; but respect for the differences does not mean disparaging those with different characteristics, physical or social. Millions of our voting population have been indoctrinated in an egalitarian fantasy that people are interchangeable; that each generation is somehow distinct from those who came before; that "one world" is an ultimate achievement. These ideas need to be addressed; countered with reason, in a spirit of good-will, not insult. (And the surest way to have those here illegally, deported, is to follow our proposed path.)

To demonstrate this approach, we suggest a training exercise: How might one approach Senator Marco Rubio, to persuade him to renounce a recent call for immigration amnesty? Denouncing one of our most effective exponents of the benefits of a "free market," is no way to restore basic American values in Washington. Far better to acknowledge Senator Rubio's economic values; yet remind him that, while we are glad to have him on board, allowing Cuban refugees to settle in Florida was not tantamount to an agreement to alter our cultural heritage--a heritage, which, incidentally, best suited his values. Some important points:

That rooted Americans--including not just the largely Anglo-Saxon, Celtic & Western European founders, but those who arrived later, yet sought out & accepted that traditional ethnic heritage, its culture, language & social values, hoping to be a part of same;--most assuredly do not want to see Americans go the way of the Hawaiians--a minority in their own domains. That he needs to look more closely at the differences between an affluent Cuban population in Florida, and those he is now embracing ideologically; that he needs to respect the values--all the values, not just the economic--of the people who took his people in. That his duty under his Constitutional oath requires no less.

Then there is a failure to discuss the multi-generational foundations to economic strength. Here, too, ex cathedra pronouncements as to how private enterprise creates wealth--coupled with references to web sites, where the motivated voter can discover a fuller argument--do not accomplish what is needed. Leftists succeed in confusing the issue by endlessly denouncing "trickle down" economics. The reality is that private achievement is never "trickle down," but a building on grounded principles--growth through individual enterprise, based upon personal responsibility, often drawing on the retained fruits of previous achievement, passed down through the generations. It is the retained capital resources of a prosperous people--not Government--that fuels economic growth & innovation; the result of natural renewal in a culture based upon personal responsibility & individual achievement. The claim that allowing people to keep more of what they earn, is somehow an adoption of anything so silly as "trickle down economics," is laughable to anyone who actually comprehends how Capitalism functions.

A serious issue, which must be addressed, has been understood since the days of De Tocqueville's commentary: People using the suffrage to demand new entitlements for themselves.

A situation, where there is no offset for receiving unearned benefits from public coffers, obviously condones conflicts of interest. As more & more of the population falls into this category, it becomes ever more critical that Conservatives respond to the clear implications. Loss of suffrage, to those who receive but do not produce--and unlike those on veteran's or social security pensions, have never produced--is inevitable. The only question, really, is whether such loss of suffrage happens before a complete fiscal collapse, or after someone or some ones pick up the pieces--after a day of reckoning. (For more on this, see Universal Suffrage--Threat To Liberty.)

What can be done tomorrow--as opposed to what might eventually be possible? Begin to highlight the issue, in a way that would be beneficial to Conservative candidates. Start by offering "riders" to any appropriation for additional Welfare benefits in Congress, requiring would-be recipients to agree not to vote in the next Federal election, as a prerequisite for any new benefit. Certainly, there would not be the votes to pass such a provision, now. It would simply plant the idea for future consideration--an idea that would actually be reinforced by the predictable shrieks of outrage from the Left!

Note: This would not give the Left the advantage, recently achieved by playing a recording, taken out of context, of Governor Romney referring to 47%, receiving Federal benefits. There the Obama campaign focused on veterans & social security recipients, reflected in the numbers. That did, indeed, hurt Romney--as those groups included a great many Republican voters. This would not be the case, if the references were limited, by definition, to hard-core Welfare recipients. And any damage would be more than offset by the positive effect, following an in depth discussion on the disadvantage in increasing the vote by the least responsible, least informed & most self-centered of the population; precisely the vote increased by allowance of multi-day voting--which provides Left-wing community organizers with more time to herd such voters to the polls.

Another problem, which Republicans have neglected to their disadvantage--even as they argue against raising taxes on the more successful--is the practical effect of Capital Gains taxation, when coupled with the ongoing inflation of the currency since the 1930s; a confiscation of previously taxed family resources, not a pure tax on income. (See Capital Gains Taxation.) This can be a winning issue, as we careen from one economic crisis to another; but Republican Conservatives need to be articulate on the subject to make the point!

Saving the most controversial proposal for last, we suggest Conservatives revisit the plea of Booker T. Washington, from the 1890s (Booker T. Washington). Washington, the acknowledged spokesman for the Southern Negro in the era, emphasized the close, multi-generational, ties between the races, in urging White employers to hire Negroes, with whom they had shared a common history, before offering new jobs to recent immigrants.

While this would be forbidden under so-called "Civil Rights" laws, today, that could be changed. The merit in putting the question back on the table goes not only to an issue of basic fairness. It highlights the two-faced tactics of the Democratic Left in claiming to champion the interests of both Black & Mexican minorities. It is not the potential jobs of voting Republicans, which semi-skilled Mexican & Central American migrants, flooding over the Southern border, have been taking.

Republicans? We need frank discussion of real problems; not apologies for a heritage that once made us the most successful people on earth!

William Flax

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