Actually the whole idea that the government should play with FICA withholdings to promote recovery is a highly non-conservative idea. The government should tax in order to support its operations. Using taxes as an economic carrot or stick is anti-conservative. Saying that in general taxes should be cut because people know how to us the money better than the government is conservative.Comment Posted By Igor R. On 16.02.2009 @ 16:52
Ed, as you may suspect I disagree. You say "there is a way to apply conservative principles to government as it is and not as we would wish it to be. That is my major point – conservatives must forge a new understanding of the role of government in society and how it interacts with citizens".
The main point of conservatism as I understand it is that the FEDERAL government and to a lesser degree STATE government should have a small and well-defined role in society. Its role is (a) to protect us from external threats (b) set up internal rules that promote fairness in individual interactions, such as contract laws, laws prohibiting most form of physical violence, disclosure rules, etc (c) enforce these rules. Clearly there could be arguments about the government's role in education and foreign trade. But to accept the government as it's found today and the expectations many voters have for the government simply to placate those voters seems counter-intuitive UNLESS one believes that (a) that's what wins elections for "conservatives" (b) it's worth it for those "conservatives" to win elections. I say let the Democrats argue among themselves whether the deficit should be 1 trillion or 5 trillion or whether the illegals should be legalized immediately or with a one year delay. Conservatives should always argue for limited government. If the liberals succeed with large government, they will win and deserve to win. If they fail, at least there should be a clear alternative.Comment Posted By Igor R. On 16.02.2009 @ 16:20
You don't seem to acknowledge the main arguments against your point of view that have been made countless times.
If you want to be "Democrat-lite" that's a losing proposition: your "customers" will always chose the real thing. They don't need an artificial substitute.
Having principles is not negotiable, otherwise they would not be called principles. If you believe in something, there is not point in saying the opposite just to win elections, unless your very interest is raw power. And why do you want to support people whose main interest is raw power without principles?
Conservative principles attract people when liberal action fails. If "conservatives" like George Bush fail by spending money like liberals, there is no way to make an argument that "conservatism will save the country from financial ruin" because the liberal will always point to "you guys" not protesting against the drunken sailor-type spending last time "you" were in power.
You are confusing "ideology" with "principles." You are correct. There is no negotiating principles. You are also correct that there is a danger that any accommodation with modernity will doom the GOP to being seen as "liberal lites."
But there is a way to apply conservative principles to government as it is and not as we would wish it to be. That is my major point - conservatives must forge a new understanding of the role of government in society and how it interacts with citizens. I believe it can be done by applying first principles.
Comment Posted By Igor R. On 16.02.2009 @ 15:49
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