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On Conservatism pt. 1

November 21, 2017

So sometimes I think about what in my opinion are logical or moral inconsistencies within US Conservatism's principles and practices. But most of my friends are liberal and don’t know much about the other side of the spectrum and this is a cry for some answers so I can put my questions to rest. My understanding of the core aspects of the ideology are as follows; individual liberty, limited government or states’ rights, a balanced budget to include open markets and lower taxes, traditional (Judeo-Christian?) family values, personal accountability, and a strong national defense.

 

Looking at that list none of that sounds particularly difficult to get behind but I really think it’s the family values thing that’s the source of my confusion. Hear me out and you’ll see how this first one unfolds into all my other questions. How is the promotion of traditional family values and other positions derived from largely Judeo-Christian morality (ie same sex marriage, anti abortion stances, etc etc) reconciled with promotion of limited government? As a followup, how is promotion of individual liberty reconciled with opposing, restricting, or banning lifestyle choices outside of the confines of said morality?

 

How does the creation of more freedoms in the spirit of equity negatively impact the freedoms of others? And, in a legislative context, if justification for opposing those freedoms stems from a religious place, is that not inconsistent with the religious freedoms solidified in the Constitution, to include separation of church and state? Does the Constitution not protect the freedom to live a life free of religion and, by extension, ensure a life without adherence to laws clearly implemented and enforced in religious roots? Are such laws not inherently in conflict with the founding principles of this country? And if not, why is it that laws with religious roots only seem to restrict things rather than promote the general well being of society? You know how the quote goes, does it make sense “to ensure a child born, but not a child educated or a child fed”?

 

And you might think you’re for those things but stats show that that’s categorically false from a legislative perspective. Also what’s up with y’all not checking the stats anyway? From climate change to abstinence education all of the numbers point in the opposite direction of your legislative initiatives. Like why do Red states spend less on education when they have some of the worst performing schools in the country? Why do Red states restrict or limit access to education about contraception when they have the highest teen pregnancy rates? Is a poor education combined with the higher probability of entering and having to complete a pregnancy not a recipe for limiting one’s ability to move up the ranks in society?

 

And on the move up the ranks note, how is pulling yourself up by your bootstraps a sound governing philosophy if all people do not start with the same resources? Success is a two way street no? The individual working hard to achieve the dreams and someone else recognizing the hard work, granting opportunities to continue along the path to success. People can and do choose to make a path more difficult for reasons out of the individual’s control, that’s just a fact. Maybe it's intentional, maybe it’s an unconscious bias, but either way these obstacles exist.

 

Then what about wealth and power? The great wealth that anyone can earn with enough hard work in an open market, highly competitive economic environment is a cornerstone of Conservative fiscal policy. Does the access that money grants the wealthy, not just for themselves but family and friends, not conflict with the concept of a meritocracy? Doesn’t access gained from wealth one has only inherited, not earned, totally walk all over the “anyone can do it” argument? I’m not saying wealthy people shouldn’t be able to take care of their families and friends, sure they’ve earned it, but to act as if that does not interfere with other people’s opportunity on occasion is disingenuous. I’m not even saying that’s inherently a bad thing, but y’all just act like the conflict doesn’t even exist sometimes.

 

And even further, logistically speaking aren’t there only so many positions at the top in any category? Only so many admissions spots, so many six figure jobs, so many ideas for businesses, and so on and so forth. Even if everyone had comparable levels of experience and accomplishments, having worked comparably as hard, someone has to get the short end of the stick, no? The things that can and often do make success difficult to achieve or impossible are admittedly at times the result of our own shortcomings, but in just as many if not more they are due to circumstances out of our control.

 

This is where the government steps in to provide support, like through social programs. But Conservatives HATE social programs, and that’s not to say there’s not some abuse or that reform isn’t necessary in some areas, but to be at odds at these programs in principle is bogus. They aim to support those who end up with the short end of the stick - which is a direct and inevitable consequence of our economic system. Capitalism isn’t perfect yknow? Some people get left behind for reasons completely out of their hands; can't reach their potential without anything short of a miracle due to any combination of defunct school systems, denial of opportunity based on race or gender, corporate profit maximization (determines location, workforce size), globalization, and advances in technology, etc. etc.

 

But then like at the same time, Red states maintain the highest numbers of food stamp recipients and Red states are on average more dependent on the federal government’s aid, I DON’T KNOW MAN, I JUST DON’T GET IT. There are so many other points I’m sure I’ll write about at some point but ultimately I really feel like the only thing holding you guys and your base together is literally God and guns. Your social grip on your base is so tight that your policies don’t even have to make sense; numbers and outcomes don’t matter, just ideals. But maybe I’m wrong, Perhaps my lens is too narrow and I’m just not seeing the bigger picture or there are figures I’m missing, facts I’m not considering. Just help me.

 

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