Sunday, May 07, 2006

Liberal Idea, Conservative Foundation

When does a liberal idea become the foundation of conservatism? Conservatives love to bash liberals. It's their favorite form of amusement and tactical political maneuver. Pointing a finger at liberals for all that's perceived as wrong with America was one smart strategy for conservatives.

And it is working. Optimizing on the rank and file wage earner's feeling of alienation from its historical political base in the Democratic Party, the strategy of blame the liberals has worked well for conservatives and the Republican Party. Many wage earners feels the Democratic Party which had fought for union recognition, decent wages, and working conditions has abandoned them to fight for gays, non-whites, welfare, environment, gun-control, and abortion.

They left the party because they feel the party had left them, and the conservative pundits have convinced them the egg-heads and bleeding heart liberals are to blame for not only ruining a party for the common man but ruining the country also. What the working classes don't realize is that they are in a position to pass judgment on the liberals because the liberals were so successful in the first half of the previous century: Democrats, Mission Accomplish: You Lose.

What the conservatives don't tell the rank and file and what they may not even realize themselves is that much of the foundation that is the bedrock of conservatism was once a liberal cause. Here's a short list:

1. "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;" The concept that individuals, all men, have rights was a radically liberal idea in its time. At the time of the American Revolution, the ruling class had rights, but not commoners.

2. The break from England, the American Revolution, was a liberal idea. So, next time you hear someone demeaning liberal, remember, they are talking about our founding fathers and the patriots who won our freedom and independence. Conservatives at the time of the American Revolution were loyalist, supported the right of the king, and wanted to remain with England; it's those stinking liberals that wanted to separate from England and form what became the United States.

3. The Bill of Rights. Most if not all the rights listed in the Bill of Rights are liberal ideas. The right of a person to own and keep a gun and is protected in doing so by the law is a liberal idea. One of the fundamentals of the conservative political platform was once a liberal idea.

The rights of the every single individual regarding religion, expression, and property are all liberal ideas that had been knocking around for some time but became the law with the formation of this country. That we would become a nation of laws and not one of kings and a royalty is a liberal idea.

And these rights cannot be removed without due process – another liberal idea. Prior to enactment of these liberal ideas, any member of the royalty or ruling classes could come into your house and take anything they wanted, and there was nothing you could do about it. Liberals changed that, and now, conservatives have taken this cause as their own.

But back to my original question as to what liberal idea will become a bedrock foundation in conservatism. I'm no political soothsayer as to what liberal idea will become a cause of conservatism that cannot be separated from them except to pry it from their cold dead hands, but here's my guess.

Decent wages and decent working conditions. What wage earners don't realize is that this is still a liberal idea that conservative business owners don't necessarily believe as a fundamental right for all people. What many conservative business owners don't realize is that many of them would have no business to own if the working class was not making more than just the subsistence wages that were the norm at the turn of the previous century. Had it not been for the successful liberal movement to recognize the right of workers to a decent wage that offered a little extra spending money, Disney World would be a playground for the rich only, much as Monte Carlo was for hundreds of years. Worker pay above a subsistence level is good economic policy. It is the economy.

Health care from all Americans. The debate is on how it should be provided not whether it should. Whether private, semi-private single payer, or government run like Medicare, everybody should have access to basic health care.

Conservatives want to maintain the status quo or return to some perceived better time, while liberals want change which they think is for the better of all. Once a liberal idea is enacted and proves itself, conservatives will seize it as their own.

Yesterday’s liberalism is today’s conservatism.
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Blogger Danno420 said...

I have just finished reading your blog, and must agree with most of what you are saying. In my opinion, many people feel their vote will not do that much to change the way our government is run. I believe this is because, they believe The Government only listens to those who have the money to become their constituants,and line their pockets with more money. More people of the low to middle class should start voting. And vote for who they agree with not who mom and dad agree with. when I asked my friends who they voted for Many of them said "I voted Republican because mom and dad are republicans." The next thing I hear a few months down the line is "I wish I could change my vote." My reply, Vote the way YOU want to the next time and maybe things will be different.

5/07/2006 10:24 PM  

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