Skip to comments.The Relationships Between Republicans And Conservatives (Cathryn Crawford)
Posted on 10/31/2003 8:00:17 AM PST by Scenic Sounds
Does a Republican equal a conservative? There is an entire spectrum of beliefs embodied within those elected officials that have an (R) after their name, and most of us assume that if someone is a Republican, they are conservative. However, political parties die when they are stagnant, and so there is constant change.
To answer the conservativism question, first we have to know what the basic beliefs of conservatives really are.
Historically, their most common belief the one issue that typically unites them is a belief in a limited federal government. Conservatives in American tend to believe that power is best left to state and local governments the governments that are closest to the people. They believe that these smaller governments know better what their own communities need than the more distant federal government.
Conservatives also believe that the government should have a limited fiscal policy, and that the economy runs better with as little government interference as possible. We believe that most government regulations on economic issues serve to stunt growth, and that the capitalist system works best when it is allowed to work as freely as is possible.
Conservatives believe in the rights of the individuals over the rights of the government. They also deeply believe in the idea of personal responsibility. They believe that with individual rights comes individual responsibility. With a limited government comes a limited amount of assistance for its citizens, and conservatives embrace this, because it encourages individuality and freedom from dependence.
Conservatives believe in a strong national defense, and they tend to believe that our borders should be tightly controlled. They support the military and tend to believe that our military is not well served when it is spread all over the world on peacekeeping missions.
These make up the core of conservative values. While there is room for argument within any of these, they are the foundational tenets.
Now, lets get back to our original question. Does a Republican equal a conservative? There isnt a simple answer, but the most obvious one is no. There is no Republican that can say that he has held to these values without fail. The problem occurs when the leaders within the Party stop making conservative values their goal.
When the foundation of a belief system is taken away, the entire system wobbles. When one tenet is taken away, the rest threaten to crumble. If Republicans cease to believe in the idea of a limited central government, it becomes easier to justify more regulation and restriction on our market system. When our troops become less of a defense force and more of a peacekeeping force, it becomes easier to justify spreading them out from country to country, which tires and stresses our military. When personal responsibility stops anything can happen. If no one is to blame, then no one must fear consequences of what they do.
Perhaps the question really is Should a Republican equal a conservative? For those of us that believe in the GOP, that answer is a resounding yes but this question will be answered by the people, over a period of decades, who will give their money and their votes to the Republican Party. As the GOP moves closer to the center, there will be a day when conservatives must decide whether the Republican Party is still the party that represents them best; and if they conclude that it is not, they will have to find an alternative.
Cathryn Crawford is a student at the University of Texas.
...for my latest. If you want on or off this list, let me know.
Now get ready to run.
There is hope for t.u. yet. :~) Good article. I hope our spineless 'pubbie State legislators will read it and take it to heart.
And for the Youth of America. We need to clone more Cathryn Crawfords...hehe
Many "social conservatives" adopt the "societal rights over individual rights" philosiphy that Cathryn discusses. This is not limited to the social conservatives though. The so-called "neo-cons" are another example of this.
I think if you want to join the Conservative Party, you'll have to move to England.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.