Nay-Sayers at the Conservative Renaissance

This has been such an encouraging week. Out of the wreckage of the Republican Party, so many voices have risen to speak for the need to return to our core principles. From the ashes, a conservative renaissance is leading the way back to the foundation on which Ronald Reagan built the Party during 1964-89.

But naturally, like any movement rooted in truth and hope, it has its nay-sayers. One theme that these nay-sayers echo is the idea that the world has changed so much over the last 20 years that the principles that worked for Ronald Reagan won’t work any more.


Yes, the world has changed, in some good ways, and in some bad ways. But not in any way that affects long-term fundamentals.

Economic and political freedom, individual responsibility, and finite government are not matters of personal preference. Nor are they matters, as the wealth-spreaders like to claim, of greed, unfairness, or un-neighborliness.

They are principles that work. They foster prosperity, in the full sense of the term.

If this understanding has diminished, if these principles have lost some luster over the last two decades, that’s in no small measure due to the big-government Republicans who gave them lip service while collaborating with liberals in undermining them. And this craven collaboration is part of why the world faces economic trouble.

Republicans can continue to kow-tow to the whiners who want government to kiss away all their boo-boos, to bail them out of the consequences of their own irresponsibility, to regulate life into comfort and fairness.

And they will continue to lose. The dream of life enveloped by state-sponsored cushions is more than just the cop-out of weak and cowardly souls who think everyone else is responsible for taking care of them. It’s a prescription for impoverishment. When government micro-manages peoples’ lives, when it spreads the wealth around, when it overturns the natural justice that rewards virtue and punishes vice, it makes life worse; it dampens the human spirit, and human flourishing diminishes.

When government adheres to its proper, finite mission, the people prosper. A party that leads the way to prosperity is a party that can win.

Ronald Reagan once said, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things.” Those great things are true, and they don’t change.

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6 thoughts on “Nay-Sayers at the Conservative Renaissance

  1. Leslie,

    You have brought up a good point about communicating. Reagan could communicate great ideas because he believed in them consistently. McCain had a lot of trouble because he had been all over the map in the past (e.g., with tax cuts, drilling for energy, etc.) I think that was part of the popularity of Sarah Palin, in that conservatives know Palin is a bigger believer in (and communicator of) the conservative message.

    Ivy, you are incorrect in your assumptions. Republicans do not want to tell scientists they can’t perform research on (embryonic) stem cells. We are just saying that we don’t want the government to pay for scientifically and morally questionable procedures. No one is stopping the private sector from investigating this not-very-promising technology. And the fact that this line of research is not very promising (given all the hype about how miraculous embryonic stem cell research is supposed to be) shold tell you something.

    As far as abortions go, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Given your logic, one can say that you just want to allow (and subsidize) all kinds of murders. Do you like that? I didn’t think so. As to gay marriage, we believe that marriage is between one man and one women. No one is telling a gay person how to live his or her life, but again, as far as subsidizing this behavior, the answer is no. See also California Prop 8, which passed with quite a bit of non-Republican vote. By the way, we also do not approve of polygamy, either. Maybe you do?

    The left has been giving a deceptive message of how they will really back off of most of the population while “only” affecting a few unpopular rich people. In the meantime, they will increase the scope of the regulatory state. Somehow you are not complaining about that, Ivy.

    JAB, Thanks as always for your excellent points. I think we do need someone who can communicate how leftist politics are counterproductive to everyone, and how conservative principles are superior.

  2. Ivy said, “The Republicans want to tell scientists they can’t research treatments based on stem cells, doctors they can’t perform abortions, and gays they can’t marry. None of this is the roll of a small government. When the party learns to honestly back off, they’ll win the support of those who really want the government to back off.”

    Conservatives acknowledge the current legality of embryonic stem cell research and abortion, but they do not wish to fund them with their tax dollars.

    Proponents of homosexual marriage are the ones seeking to radically change the definition of marriage and using marxist utilitarian methods to achieve the destruction of society’s core unit, the family.

    In all these cases we witness components of cultural marxism’s assault on our society. This activity is part and parcel of an effort to tear apart the fabric of our culture in order to promote the evils of marxism.

    Wake up and recognize these issues for what they are.

  3. Consider what has happened that makes a difference in the past 30 yeas.

    We are that much further into the Information Era and its global economy.

    We have grown government and taxes.

    The shifts in the economic order create much wealth for many more people with the skills and work ethic to profit. There are far more rich, well to do and upper middle class Americans.

    The shifts create fewer middle class folks who don’t have special skills. The pressure on wages for competitive companies to survive keeps pressure on lower wages.

    The growth of government and taxes kills capital – and johs.

    If you push the median Virginian’s tax rate (family of 4, 2 workers, $51k in 2004) back the 3% they’ve grown (since 1974) they get about $252 extra bucks A MONTH. That matters.

    If you use the money the government takes out in social security and health – and deposit into individually controlled retirement and health savings accounts – the folks who don’t have skills – and are unwilling or unable to go into business for themselves (not needing tech skills – like lawn care, cleaning, etc)- will have health and retirement security.

    Cut taxes

    Cut spending

    Reform entitlements

    Let the market expand energy supply.

  4. I think that it is indeed time for the Republican Party to get basck to it’s roots and to threash out those who have led it so far from the great Party that it once was. No, I’m am not thinking of Reagan–though I respected him, his was a movement that, like Roosevelt’s New Deal, was an answer to circumstances of a period of time long gone. No, I’m thinking of a Republican President who built up out military, expanded our country, fought corporate and political curruption and won a Nobel prize for ending a war. He was a thinker, a doer, and a soldier.

    Who was this great man and great Republican President before Reagan was even born? For those who can’t guess at the answer, it’s time to hit the Republican history books, because that great leader was non-other-than…

    Teddy Roosevelt.

    And his principles, which predate “Conservatism” by half-a-century, are the ones we need to go back to.

  5. The trick is you have both sides trying to over-govern. The Republicans want to tell scientists they can’t research treatments based on stem cells, doctors they can’t perform abortions, and gays they can’t marry. None of this is the roll of a small government. When the party learns to honestly back off, they’ll win the support of those who really want the government to back off.

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