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The shadow of conservatism

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The definition of conservatism fluctuates depending on whom you ask. If I had to find a common thread, I would argue that the traditional consensus is that conservatives believe in a small government coupled with a strong social fabric which espouses traditional values of home, family, and religion.

That doesn’t mean a conservative must be religious, necessarily, but he certainly should acknowledge the positive role of religious motivation in sculpting modern society.

But beyond this simple definition of small government mixed with traditional morals, there are actually two distinct factions of conservatism, and the distinction centers around the question: what are conservatives trying to conserve?

The difference between constitutional conservatism and practical conservatism is the basis for the quandary of what could be done vs. what should be done

In my opinion, the truest form of conservatism is constitutional conservatism, the group to which I belong. Constitutional conservatives seek to conserve the founding principles of our country, we believe in unalienable rights as defined by the Declaration of Independence and that God is the source of these rights, and we treasure the pillars of Western Civilization. Everything we do, every policy we push, and every goal to which we aspire — politically, economically, culturally — stems from the notion that all men are created equal and that our natural rights must be preserved.

This means that constitutional conservatives can, should, and often do defend every position they hold in terms of how it will advance freedom, how it will secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. A constitutional conservative’s stance is logical, since liberty is always beneficial to society, but it is also moral, for there are few concepts more virtuous than individual freedoms and God-given rights.

The other chief form of conservatism is shallower and unfortunately, I think, far more common. This is what I call practical conservatism.

Many on the Right refer to it as “fiscal conservatism,” but as I often lament, Democrats talk about starving children and Republicans use the word “fiscal.” It’s a boring word that instantly squanders public interest. A more accurate yet no less snooty title would be “pragmatic conservatism,” but I hesitate to go there for the same reasons. Thus, practical conservatism.

This branch of right-wing ideology promulgates largely identical principles to constitutional conservatism, especially when it comes to economic policy, healthcare, and immigration. But the two arrive at the same conclusion along different routes. Constitutional conservatives promote policy because it is right; practical conservatives endorse it because it works.

Now, there is some crossover. As I said, constitutional conservatism, while primarily concerned with the virtue of preserving natural rights, is also impeccably logical in its advocacy for capitalism, free markets, and cultural assimilation. Similarly, every practical conservative I know is pro-life, acknowledging that a fetus has a right to life. There is a recognition of right and wrong from both groups, but that is not the practical conservative’s primary concern. Nor is the constitutional conservative’s foremost consideration the economic outcome but rather the question of morality.

The late Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) was one of the pioneers of constitutional conservative thought. In his landmark book The Conscience of a Conservative (1960), he noted, “I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.” If his constituency demanded action that he felt unconstitutional, he was prepared to deny it, no matter how urgent. To him, nothing justified the violation of human rights. Anticipating blowback for this position, he continued, “If I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

Defending rights will not always correlate with increased efficiency. Slavery would likely yield a thriving economy, considering low production costs, thus greater profits and reduced customer price. But I think we can all agree that efficiency is irrelevant in the name of a morally gross institution such as slavery.

Sadly, amid the infighting of the Republican Party, there exists further division among the already precious few conservatives — between the practical sort and those who seek to uphold the Constitution. We see this most recently in considerations for the Graham/Cassidy healthcare bill, a slight reduction on Obamacare which takes some positive steps but doesn’t adequately reduce spending, remove stifling provisions, or preserve states’ rights.

In deciding how to vote on this legislation, conservatives will be left to consider not only whether the bill will be a positive move for the economy and the image of the Republican Party, but whether it sufficiently advances the cause of individual rights.

The difference between constitutional conservatism and practical conservatism is the basis for the quandary of what could be done vs. what should be done. I, for one, believe that there is no greater virtue in politics than the conservation of natural rights — regardless of what will work best, I try to side with what will be best.

Practical conservatism is subject to change with the ebb and flow of efficiency. There is little reverence for any guiding philosophy apart from success.

For this reason, I see practical conservatism as just a shadow of true conservatism. It retains the same outline, but at its core it is empty, lacking in definition, and an incomplete representation of the structure it reflects.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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Media

Liz Wheeler on the most disgusting part of the Jussie Smollett scandal

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Liz Wheeler on the most disgusting part of the Jussie Smollett scandal

There are plenty of things about the Jussie Smollett scandal that should disgust us. The instant reaction by celebrities, politicians, and the media is right there at the top, especially when we consider how many are now saying, “let’s wait for the facts.” The notion that a successful gay black man thought it appropriate to make himself seem like a victim is also up there.

As One America News Network’s Liz Wheeler points out, we should also be disgusted that Smollett chose this victim status over being a strong leader and role model for less privileged black and gay people who could have looked up to him for his strength instead of now being scornful of his weakness.

What does that say about America when the left tries so hard to build the narrative that everything is wrong, they’re unwilling to recognize the real problems that are plaguing America. Why? Because they’re the biggest part of the problem.

 


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Democrats

Leftist media pushes back on Green New Deal criticism

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Leftist media pushes back on Green New Deal criticism

It’s been an up-and-down couple of weeks for proponents of the Green New Deal. Before details were released, it was already being heralded as the greatest thing since President Obama’s election. Then, the details came out and even many on the left were taken aback by the ambitious and incoherent provisions of the deal as detailed in a FAQ section on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s government web page.

But that was just a draft. They took it down. At least that was the story.

Unfortunately for proponents, they were caught a little flat-footed as questions started pouring in about, well, all of it. Even if we dismiss the less-draconian concepts such as eliminating air travel or the less-sane ideas like taking care of those who are unwilling to work, the left is still stuck with a proposal that the most frugal estimates put at costing around $7 trillion while other’s consider the decade-long cost to be in the HUNDREDS of trillions of dollars.

This is, of course, ludicrous. There’s not enough money in the entire world to pay for the proposal if its cost is somewhere between the lowest and highest estimates, but that hasn’t stopped leftist media from regrouping. Now that the dust has settled a little bit, they’re doing everything they can to recommit to this concept. It’s not that they suddenly believe in this fairy tale. It’s that they don’t want this to be the issue Republicans attack in the 2020 elections.

One article in particular that I read from CNN (yes, sometimes I need to see what the other side is thinking) really struck me for its honesty about the situation. Though I stopped reading it in paragraph two when it referred to “non-partisan” PolitiFact, I went back to it just now to digest the awfulness fully (see the sacrifices I make for our readers!).

To be clear, much of what this article says is correct. It asserts the GOP will take the tenets of the Green New Deal and use it to scare voters into thinking it’s even worse than Obamacare. From 2010 through 2016, Republicans attacked Obamacare incessantly and it worked, giving them the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016. Unfortunately, they stopped there and didn’t actually go after Obamacare with the same fervor they held in their campaign rhetoric and now the Democrats have turned the issue on its head.

But here’s the thing. Obamacare may have been bad, but the Green New Deal truly is worse. It’s not even close. Even if we take at face value the notion that the Green New Deal is simply an ambitious framework around which real legislation can be forged, we have to look at the core issues entailed in order to see the true damage it can do. This is a socialist document. It’s a call for the same levels of insanity that drive the Medicare-for-All movement. Within its frivolous attempts to change perceptions of air travel, cows, and job creation is a deep-rooted desire to convert Americans to needing more government.

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The Green New Deal represents the far-left’s desire to make more American dependent on government. At the same time, it aims to increase the levels of dependency for those who are already in need of assistance. It wants Democrats to latch their wagons on the notion that if we become a militantly environmentalist nation, that will serve the dual purpose of giving us fulfillment while saving the planet.

I believe most leftist journalists understand this, but they see in the ridiculous framework a path through which Republicans can be defeated wholesale in 2020 as long as the left can control the narrative surrounding the Green New Deal. They fear another Obamacare counterinsurgency that would wipe out the anti-Trump gains they made in 2018, so they’ve adopted a stance that the Green New Deal isn’t as bad as Fox News says it is. Meanwhile, they’re doing everything they can to say, “look over here and not at the Green New Deal.”

The politics behind what the Green New Deal represents is more in play than the tenets of the proposal itself, at least in the eyes of leftist media. It’s not that they want to promote the concept. They simply don’t want the concept to derail their party in the next election.

 


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Culture and Religion

Louis Farrakhan refers to Ilhan Omar as ‘sweetheart,’ prompting zero outrage

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Louis Farrakhan refers to Ilhan Omar as sweetheart prompting zero outrage

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan referred to Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as “Sweetheart” as he addressed her during a speaking engagement on Sunday. He apparently caught his faux pas and immediately justified the remark, but at that point the moniker which many consider to be sexist or misogynistic had already been noted.

Nevertheless, it didn’t cause the stir one might expect. As a far-left progressive, Omar is known for being a feminist icon on Capitol Hill even though she hasn’t been in office for a full two months yet. As our EIC noted, the lack of a rebuke was because of the source, not because she now feels it’s okay to refer to her as “sweetheart.”

The statement came as Farrakhan was telling Omar she shouldn’t be sorry for the statements she made last week about Israel, AIPAC, and Jewish influence in Washington DC, particularly over Republicans.

In a world where consistency was still considered a virtue, followers of Omar would be wondering why she’s not expressing outrage over the belittling reference from a powerful man. But the world isn’t consistent and Farrakhan always gets a pass.

 


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