Friday, November 09, 2007

Compassionate versus Real? Gimme real any day!

It's a bit unfortunate but, there are many times that I find myself wondering where "real" Conservatism has gone. I think of real Conservatism as that ideology well-defined by Barry Goldwater in the 1960s. Read Goldwater's book The Conscience of a Conservative to better understand what I mean by "real" Conservatism.

The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liber-
als of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man's nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an eco-nomic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man's nature, and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man's spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand,--in the name of a concern for "human beings"--regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mis-sion of society. They are, moreover, in a hurry. So that their characteristic approach is to harness the society's political and economic forces into a collective effort to compel "progress." In this approach, I believe they fight against Nature.

Barry Goldwater would probably spin in his grave if he knew what has become of Conservatism in this country. It was Goldwater's Conservatism that won this country over in 1994 thanks to Newt and company's "Contract with America." Goldwater was a genius; unfortunately, it seems that the only Republicans who understand Goldwater's ideas and know how to implement them are Ronald Reagan (God rest his soul) and Newt Gingrich. (Boy do I ever wish Newt would run in 2008!)

It's my opinion that George W. Bush's introduction of "compassionate Conservatism" was the beginning of the end of Goldwater's real Conservatism. I heard things said in the run up to the 2000 presidential election that I never thought I'd hear from a real Conservative. At that time and at present, Republicans and Libertarians are as close as you can get to Conservatism so Bush was the obvious choice for us. But even now, those of us who miss Goldwater perservere and hope for a return to the bedrock tenets of Conservatism that we saw in the Reagan years.

And so after much meandering, I come to this announcement that crossed the ConservaChick radar today. Given my feelings on the topic, this looks to be a very interesting program set to be broadcast on CSPAN-2 this weekend. Here's the scoop directly from Richard Viguerie:

"Compassionate Conservatism" vs. Real Conservatism
on CSPAN-2 This Weekend

This weekend on After Words, a TV program on CSPAN-2, I [Richard Viguerie] interview former Bush speechwriter and senior policy advisor Michael Gerson about his new book, "Heroic Conservatism."

The program will be telecast at:

9 PM Eastern on Saturday, November 10
6 PM Eastern on Sunday, November 11
9 PM Eastern on Sunday, November 11

In his book, Mr. Gerson argues for "compassionate conservatism," which he promoted while on the inside of the Bush Administration.

In the telecast, I ask Mr. Gerson some hard questions about the Bush Administration's efforts to re-brand the Republican Party and re-define conservatism to embrace a massive expansion of the federal government. I think you will find the program to be very topical, as the battle for the heart and soul of the GOP move into high gear.

More information is available on the C-SPAN website.

Mr. Gerson and I also discuss his belief that, for Republicans to be successful in the future, conservatives need to abandon the governing philosophy held by Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, and millions of grassroots
activists, donors, writers, candidates, and public officials that led to 25 years of election victories and instead adopt the big government, big spending policies of President Bush and his administration.

You can also learn more about his important distinction between "compassionate conservatism" and real conservatism in my [Richard Viguerie's] book, Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.

1 comment:

Kadnine said...

I'm with you, Dawn. This ought to be interesting TV. The limits of what can plausibly called "conservatism" have definitely been stretched lately. I'm disappointed that we even need modifiers like

neo-, social- paleo-, fiscal-, Goldwater-, strong government-, libertarian leaning-, compassionate-, and now... heroic-conservatism!

And for the record, I dislike "real" as a modifier as well. I prefer just plain ol' "Conservatism" or, if one needs something more concrete "Modern American Conservatism."

Goldberg and Beinart debated this point last week on their video podcast, "What's Your Problem." I found it interesting. I'll be sure to catch the CSPAN interview and write something up about it. Thanks for sending this across my radar!