As Trumpist Republicans pump up their chests after giving the boot to Kevin McCarthy, they are once again pretending to represent conservatism even though they clearly don’t know what it means to be a conservative.
The root word of conservative is conserve.
Conservatives are people who work to conserve our Constitutionally protected God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And since these rights come from God and not the government, conservatives bear the added responsibility of working to conserve morality, for as John Adams once said:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Unfortunately, Trumpist Republicans and other faux conservatives within the Republican Party are ignorant about the meaning of the word conservative. This has led to a version of conservatism where conservative principles have been abandoned in exchange for the mushy middle of the “moderate.”
Christian conservative. Social conservative. Fiscal conservative. Libertarian conservative. These are just a few examples of the labels used by the moderate to disguise the belief that it’s possible to conserve some things that are good for people while avoiding the bad.
Quite honestly, these modified labels are nothing more than lipstick on a pig — a cosmetic change to disguise the true nature of the fake conservative. For example, let’s look at abortion.
A fiscal conservative might claim to favor an end of government funding of Planned Parenthood while allowing the states to decide if they want to give them any money. The problem with this line of thinking is that our out-of-control judiciary has no problem taking that power away from the states.
A Christian conservative might actually fight to “defund” Planned Parenthood’s abortion services while approving the use of taxpayer money to pay for non-abortive services. Of course, as we witnessed repeatedly during the Trump years, this approach allowed Planned Parenthood to reach record levels of income, thus freeing them up to do a record number of abortions “without” using taxpayer money.
A libertarian conservative might take the position that the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade and let the states decide if they want to make abortion available. While that sounds like a good Tenth Amendment argument, this approach fails to protect the right to life endowed to every person by our Creator as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.
Faux conservatives will often go so far as to argue that abortion should be “safe, legal, but rare” while still demanding unlimited access in the name of “women’s health.” The hypocrisy of this lukewarm approach to conservatism is evident for all to see. If abortion is a constitutionally protected right, why does it need to be rare? And even if they agree with the suggestion of returning the matter to the states, they are still exposing their doublemindedness because if abortion is murder at the federal level, wouldn’t it still be murder at the state level?
During the 2016 primaries, Trump’s damage to conservatism was a topic of discussion when Kayleigh McEnany — her sellout to Trump later earned her a gig as the White House press secretary — appeared on CNN with Ben Howe and Matt Lewis, two people who were opposed to Trump.
At one point in the show, Howe called Trump a “sociopathic madman” and Lewis made the point that neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton could destroy the conservative brand like Trump could by pretending to be a conservative. But according to McEnany, “You [cannot be] a conservative if you don’t support Donald Trump.” She also accused Trump’s detractors of “using conservatism as a shield.”
During the 2018 midterms, the line between conservatism and Trumpism was made a bit blurrier as Trump and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel worked on rebranding conservatism by spreading the lie that he is a conservative and, using binary logic, accused those who opposed him of being a liberal — an accusation embraced by “conservative” media outlet TheFederalist.com at the time:
“Trump may be an unattractive and deeply flawed messenger for contemporary conservatism. But loathe though they might be to admit it, what’s left of the Never-Trump movement needs to come to grips with the fact that the only words that currently describe them are liberals and Democrats.” (emphasis mine)
Throughout the Trump presidency, there were others who joined him to redefine conservatism, such as the Fellowship of the Pharisees and their army of cheap grace evangelical followers, along with “conservative” media outlets like the pro-Trump echo chamber at BlazeTV.
In the aftermath of his humiliating but expected defeat in 2020, Trump and his army of sycophantic followers adopted the “RINO” moniker (Republican In Name Only), not to identify people who fail to uphold conservative values, but to call out Republicans who are insufficiently loyal to Dear Leader.
To be fair, Trump was only the culmination of the war against conservatives because it began with Mitch McConnell in the 2014 midterms when he pledged to “crush them” until there wasn’t “a single nominee anywhere in the country.” However, Trump willingly became Mickey’s ally, and he worked with him to get the job done.
Every day conservatives invest their energy in the Republican Party is a wasted day.
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) June 29, 2020
Conservatism is neither a cause nor a measurable standard; it’s a way of life. It is a set of morally, fiscally, socially, politically sound values that form our deeply held convictions. It’s an unshakable commitment to the principles handed down to us in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution by the Founding Fathers — principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth for over 246 years.
Over the past many years, the definition of the conservative has been changed by Trumpist Republicans and Nationalism, giving us a mixed bag of socialism-friendly policies diametrically opposed to our values. And while there are those who claim that the day of the conservative has come and gone, the simple truth is that genuine conservatism is the only hope America has left if she is to survive.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.
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