Being Conservative

The last several years there has been an increasingly identifying label among the youth and the new politically aware.  Not exclusively to America’s youth but primarily so, I think.  They have chosen to rally around slogans like End the Fed or bellicose chants about liberty or the constitution.  They tend to label themselves as libertarians and followers of their cult-like figure, Congressman Ron Paul, MD.  Dr. Paul, in the majority of his ardent followers, considers him akin to our founding fathers, especially, Thomas Jefferson.  I contest both as Dr. Paul’s economic and foreign policy are simply inappropriate for such a diverse nation and in how a nation such as America needs to interact with foreign powers.

 

The essay is not intended to be an analysis of Dr. Paul but of what is libertarian and what is conservative.  Of course, the founder of the modern conservative movement is none other than William F. Buckley, Jr. and his economist friend that helped to propel economic policy along more conservative lines, Milton Friedman.  Supporters of Dr. Paul always retort with the line that Buckley and MF were self-described libertarians.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

There is a blurring or sharing of conservative values/issues amongst the libertarian crowd.  If you were to create a Venn diagram there would be a mutually inclusive set of values; however, there would be a much larger exclusive set.

 

Inclusive values such as the belief in the foundations of our great Republic: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  They also included love of country, family, fiscal restraint and individualism.  Where they dramatically depart is in methods of restoring fiscal conservatism and more pointedly, foreign policy both military and economic.

 

Libertarians have a decidedly isolationist overtone to their outlook on our dealings with foreign nations.  They simply want a mass retreat both fiscally and economically. They seek to end, overnight, all foreign aid.  They seek an immediate cessation of all conflicts in which the American military is engaged, no matter the costs, both politically and militarily.  They simply want to retreat from the modern world.

 

Our great ocean barriers were defeated with the advent of ICBM’s and silent running SSN’s[1]. Plus, the onslaught of international terrorism that knows no borders and has no respect for anyone whom is not a complete clone of themselves.  Here is a marked difference in what is libertarian and what being conservative means.  WFB hammered into his students/followers that, knowing full well that conservative tenets positively correlate with our founding fathers intent and our federal constitution, that it should not encourage us to become dictators to those who are less enlightened than ourselves or did not have direct or indirect access to the great conservative writers/philosophers.[2]

 

Being conservative does not mean that we dictate our policies and beliefs to the less knowing masses.  It means just that that we align ourselves with our foundations as a sovereign nation knowing full well that as our nation grew we naturally had to yield more and more pure individual liberty.  Example:  A family living in western Ohio Valley circa 1750 had absolute and unlimited liberty.  They could go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober with no regard of their neighbors, for they had few if any. They could literally walk out their front door and shoot their rifle to the horizon not knowing or caring if they were to hit a much distant neighbor.  They could raise a drunk and run naked without embarrassing themselves.

 

As our sparse countryside grew into hamlets, then villages, and cities we tended to restrain our absolute liberties.  We did not shoot into the air nor run wild down main street buck naked.  Those liberties were necessarily limited out of simple necessity.

 

Post revolutionary war and the formation of the original United States from 13 colonies and the drawing and ratifying of our constitution, we granted our states and central government certain powers over our daily lives.  Powers and functions most efficaciously implemented by a central authority.  These were further limitations upon our individual liberties that we were born with or sought to obtain by moving to America.

 

America is comprised of nearly 3.8 million square miles [3]and over 312 million fellow citizens.  A nation of that size and in many areas, highly dense populations, individual liberty is seconded to the majorities needs/wants.  There are few gun ranges in downtown Manhattan.  Does that compromise violate the original intent of the 2nd Amendment?  I think not.  It is a practical limitation of one’s unrestricted liberty that we believe we were born into or at least deserving as a gift from God.  That is where libertarians are excessively non-pragmatic or practical.  Being conservative recognizes the need to be practical in our application and exercise of our constitutional rights and liberties.  We do not advocate the massive reductions in state or federal government.  We fully acknowledge that the pendulum has swung dramatically towards a massive loss of state’s rights and individual liberty.

 

I detest socialism/liberalism as it absolutely denies the individual in favor of the collective.  That is as close to evil as I can ponder.  We are sovereign individuals, after all; however, we must acknowledge that a complex and diverse society that exists here in America necessarily dictates the loss of certain liberties.

 

Foreign Aid

Ending of Foreign Aid is now another rant or slogan of the neo-conservatives and libertarians or at least of the ‘newly awakened’ citizenry[4].  With the outbreak of the Arab Spring throughout Africa many are now calling for the immediate end of all foreign aid.  Especially in light of the brutal assault on our embassies in Libya and Egypt and the tragic loss of life of our Ambassador and three professional warriors, including a former US Navy SEAL.

 

The neo-isolationist now assert that those Muslims are not worthy of our support for they have bitten that hand the helped to liberate them and essentially feed them.  “They owe us!”  Or, the Middle East has been at war for millennia and that they detest our Western ways and will never become westernized.  Whether or not they start wearing blue jeans, hold iPads/pods, cell phones and listen to Jay-Z is not the relevant point.

 

Absent a massive new energy plan established in friendly regions such as North and South America (Venezuela is no lover of Americans) that will deliver 18 million barrels per day[5] we must have a secure source of our energy supplies and they largely lie in that region.

 

Egypt and the entire East Coast of Africa and the entirety of the Arab peninsula is of highly strategic value, namely their oil supply and their shipping lanes and especially the Suez Canal[6], originally built by the British began construction of the Suez with the ardent support of Egypt and the Sudan in 1854 with a 99 year operational lease.  The lease ended and the British turned over to local control in 1956 post WWII.

 

These ‘international experts’ (NACs) advocate the LOSS of the use of the Suez as it is NOT that important. The distance from Mumbai, India to London England going around the Cape Town Africa is in excess of 12,000 nautical miles and takes over 24 days for the average cargo vessel.  Going through the Suez takes only 14 days and 6,400 nautical miles.  The cost savings in time, fuel, and manpower, not to mention the extra costs of maintenance and wear and tear on the ships, is gargantuan.  To discount the vital importance of the Suez is stunningly naive and dangerously so! More than 10% of the total world trade passes through the Suez with ease as there are no locks to navigate.  The world’s largest ships can transit including America’s Super Carriers at about 8 knots speed.   Should the US Navy find it necessary to move ships East from the Atlantic CAN we afford to wait and extra 10 days by being DENIED the use of the Suez?  I think not.

 

Imagine the Chinese or the Russians controlling such a vital port/asset?  Think the costs would rise a bit?  Just look back to 1967 through 1975 during the Blockade.  Shipping costs soared as well as the price of oil and manufactured goods the world over.

 

Extra notation: President Putin is a very intelligent and dangerous, tending towards maniacal, man and strongly desires to have the Soviet Empire re-emerge from the ashes of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the USSR.  Since Russia’s adoption of the FLAT TAX (not the INSANE Fair Tax) their debt to GDP is LESS than 10% and their economy has been exploding forward since then.  They have a lot of money to invest in a rapidly expanding military.  Putin led Russia is NO friend of America or freedom.  Chinese?  Worse scenario.  China has invested more than $100 BILLION (USD) in past 10 years in Southern Africa alone in rail and much needed infrastructure like roads, highways, and schools.  They have vast mining of oil, coal, and mineral operations and are stock piling these resources at home.  China is NO friend of America under ANY leadership scenario.

 

 

[1] Nuclear powered and armed Submarines. One could assert that Sputnik began the end of isolationism.

 

[2] WFB, Jr., Milton Friedman, William Rusher, Clifton White, etc.

 

[3] That equates to over 2.45 BILLION acres.

 

[4] NAC

 

[5] Current consumption estimates of USA.

 

[6] The Highway to India

 

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