Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remember When Conservatives Were...Conservative?

I know that it really irks some people that I would call myself a "conservative." This is because we have very different ideas of what "political conservatism" really is. Certainly, there are many that are old enough to remember the conservatism of the 60's and 70's, but many of today's conservatives are too young to know what real conservatism is. Today's conservative is more defined around a political party and is absolutely intolerant of other ideas. There is no middle ground for today's political conservative. Political parties have taken on a battle stance with a winner-take-all mentality and it has caused great swings in the make up and control of the ruling bodies in our country.

I remember when a "conservative" wasn't defined by party; when there were conservative Democrats (there still are) and conservative Republicans(?). Conservatives were for fiscal accountability, moral sensibility and social responsibility. Unfortunately, today neither party has representatives nor platforms that reflect this type of conservatism. Everything has moved to the extremes--radical right and liberal left. The extremes are so far apart that one blogger refers to the middle as a vast wasteland. A conservative Democrat is seen so far right of the far left that he is abandoned by his own party. A conservative (by the standards of the '70's) Republican is seen too far to the left of the radical right and they are also abandoned by the party. Yesterday's conservative has become today's moderate and is (for all practical purposes) an independent in a two party system.

I believe that the vast majority of Americans find themselves somewhere in the middle without a voice in Congress.

The book The Death of Conservatism is now on my list of books to read. I don't know much about the author, Sam Tanenhaus, but sense that he is farther to left than I am and perhaps gives a much more liberal slant to this topic than I have. However the topic (as well as this interview) intrigue me. I believe that the conservatives of the '60's and '70's no longer exist as conservatives. The values of those conservatives have been hijacked and morphed into unrecognizable ideologies of a radical movement. When you have 30 minutes, visit the link and watch the interview (thanks, Mike).

My other title for this post was Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle With You.

John <><

5 comments:

Mike said...

When I first started watching the interview on TV I had a hard time figuring out which side he was on.

Bilbo said...

"Yesterday's conservative has become today's moderate and is (for all practical purposes) an independent in a two party system...I believe that the vast majority of Americans find themselves somewhere in the middle without a voice in Congress."

John, you da MAN!! You have captured my predicament better than I could have myself. Someday, we're going to have to have a drink (or a Ted Drewes) together and solve all these problems. We can even invite Mike.

Sicilian said...

Great points. I deal with the label liberal all the time since I seem to be the loan Democrat. I really am not liberal, but compared to the ultra right. . . . . well I am liberal.
Ciao

Gooseberried said...

Good point. There are kids my age who tell me they're conservative and I'm thinking, "How can you possibly be conservative?" Doesn't lifestyle count as well?

Claudia said...

To even begin to explain this subject, the author has taken on a huge challenge. Good for him, because it's good for all of us, if the book helps the country understand its diversity better. I hope it helps people stop and think before they embarrass themselves by assigning labels to one another. Giving yourself a "badge" was what authority figures said back in the day when someone did something radical with their hair (like grow it long), for example. For a short course on "back in the day" watch "Easy Rider" again.