Once in a while you
come across something that makes you think. At least, if you are a
thinking person, it does. On Saturday November 15, I came across one
of those pieces. It was posted to the editorial section of WorldNetDaily
by Joe Farah under the title “Why I Am Not A Conservative.”
A strange title, you might think, considering that just about everyone familiar
with Mr. Farah and WorldNetDaily has probably emblazoned the “Conservative”
label next to their respective names.
But Mr. Farah writes that he is not a conservative, and after reading him
through I have to agree. I also have to agree that I am not either,
nor are many others I know who will probably consider themselves conservatives,
nonetheless. The difference is not merely semantic. It is a matter
of understanding, comprehending and acting. It is also a matter of
worldview and our acceptance of what has become the staple fare in politics
– the belief that everything can be divided into two camps such as liberal
and conservative, republican and democrat, left vs. right. Mr. Farah’s
assertion is that this is a false view, and while I may dispute with him
a bit on that point, he is not going to get much argument from me on the
rest of what he has to say on the sum total.
At the heart of his position stands the assertion that conservatives seek
to conserve past institutions and values. However, Mr. Farah rightly
points out that when a society has moved too far from what is good and right
it no longer has much worthy of conservation. Here is Mr. Farah’s list of
problems we face; a list we have doubtless seen many times:
* the breakdown of the institutions of marriage and family;
* the inability of many to distinguish between right and wrong;
* the consolidation of power in Washington and in the executive branch;
* the breakdown in the rule of law;
* the usurpation of power by unaccountable supra-national agencies;
* infringements on personal freedoms;
* increasing vulnerability to weapons of mass destruction and government's
unwillingness or inability to address such a basic concept of defense.
I might add a few more items including:
* disrespect for our national heritage;
* devaluation of education and the ability to reason;
* gradual displacement of the Constitution as supreme law of the land;
* replacement of truly great historical figures with transitory pop culture icons.
As Mr. Farah points out, “conservative” politicians have no real prescriptions
for correcting these problems. Many critics of our current President
George W. Bush have made the statement that he has done less for the “conservative
cause” than he has for continuation of the over-spending and over-regulation
that has characterized much of our government since 1900. And when
opportunities present themselves to gain ground, such as in the appointment
of constitutionalist judges to the nation’s high courts, those who should
be supporting them generally put up a good show before rolling over and playing
dead. As Joe Farah puts it, “Conservatives have no stomach for fighting
– the kind of fighting it takes to restore real freedom to America.” And
he is right.
For many of us, when Ronald Reagan was elected President, that was a major
victory. The same might be said for the election of the Presidents
Bush. But these elections were minor events compared to what happened
after. As one who admires Mr. Reagan, it pains me deeply to say that
I was disappointed in much that occurred during his terms in office.
He did little to stem the tide of government growth, and the Tax Reform Act
of 1986, which happened on his watch, did little to change the system or
to eliminate the problems the income tax has imposed on the American public
and the American economy for decades. As I wrote at the time, “it sacrificed
fairness for simplicity and simplicity for fairness,” so that instead of
a simpler, fairer system, as was intended, the result was something less
fair and less simple. The same can be said in other areas. It
was as Milton and Rose Friedman wrote, “Tyranny of the Status Quo,” or if
you prefer, as Sonny and Cher once sang “The Beat Goes On.”
So what are we, if not conservatives? To my mind, we are patriots,
lost in a world that no longer values patriotism, and in some cases demonizes
it. We are Lt. Col. Allen B. West, taking necessary and proper action
to obtain information from an enemy, using it to save lives, and then being
condemned for it because he didn’t follow rules set by armchair generals
with little or no conception of what he was dealing with. We are Judge
Moore being told that to hold office we must deny the existence of God.
But we are also potential freedom fighters, if we choose to take up the fight.
It is not an easy calling. As Mr. Farah says, to be successful we must
be rebels; we must be revolutionaries in the mold of George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson. We cannot rely on “politics as usual.” We cannot
let the status quo stand, nor can we be satisfied with small victories.
Perhaps it is to discourage us from taking such a stand that the role of
such men as Washington and Jefferson is being downplayed in modern education.
Those who live by the status quo cannot afford to let people with great visions
get in their way or lead the march back to freedom.
For America to survive as the shining beacon it started out to be We The
People must stand firm on the law that this nation was founded upon.
We must not forget our heritage and our history. We cannot let others
make the decisions for us, or rely on them to keep us safe. We must
see to it ourselves. If this makes us rebels, then so be it.
We will be rebels in the cause of freedom, dignity and a brighter future
for our children and possibly for the rest of the world.
Steven Laib is a practicing attorney.