Sunday, May 27, 2007

The misidentification of the conservative movement

Some time ago, being a conservative meant you favored less taxes and government spending, a smaller government, and a free market. Sometime later, being a conservative came to mean something entirely different. Suddenly being conservative means you place an American flag next to your Bible, hate homosexuals (and most non-Americans), and don't believe in global warming or evolution.

Sorry, but what does that even have to do with fiscal responsibility?

Conservatives are raising the national debt to unheard-of levels, expanding the federal government to its biggest size in history, promoting policies that are placing the economy in the hands of a few multinational corporations (and then complaining when the corporations screw it up), and passing executive orders that violate not only the spirit, but the actual letter of the Constitution (habeas corpus, anyone?). Since when is that conservatism?

Many conservative presidents in the past have favored a foreign policy that favors noninvolvement to the point of isolationism. And yet today's conservatives feel the need to police the world, intervening when there's even the slightest chance we have an interest in the situation, and when there isn't, we make one up. Since when is that conservatism?

For the life of me, I can't understand why our nation's political system has stopped addressing things that actually matter, like tax reform, health care and social security, and started focusing on social and personal issues which, in the past, the government has not addressed. At all. And even when conservatives do address the issues which once defined them, their stances are often the exact opposite of what they once held.

Does that sound like a group that favors tradition over change?