What Conservatives Want from Washington
Conservatives have historically been divided into three areas of interest: national security, fiscal soundness, and social morality. Today all stripes of conservatives just want Washington to leave them alone.
National security conservatives, historically anti-communists, support the federal government when it protects them from foreign dangers, defends our nation’s interests against threats, and supports those values that have made nations historic friends of America.
Look at Ukraine today, and the left’s arrogance and incompetence before the world. Look at Iran. Our national government does nothing to prevent this rogue nation, a bitter enemy of Israel, from acquiring nuclear weapons.
National security surely includes defending our borders and protecting our territorial integrity; this is the bare minimum Americans expect from the government. The influx of people across our southern border is compromised by crass politics, much like the transportation of energy across out northern border is nitpicked to death for equally cynical political reasons.
Fiscal conservatism originally meant that the federal government would insure that money was sound and that government debts were paid. One vital reason the Constitution was deemed necessary was because state governments were not paying their debts and because myriad forms of money, subject to wild fluctuation, were creating uncertainty in commerce.
The whole idea of a federal currency, which until FDR was redeemable in gold or silver, was to prevent the shenanigans state government or private bank securities could create and, instead, to create stable money. The federal government long balanced its budget, except in wars, and spent only what was necessary.
Now, of course, Washington has invented a monopoly on money (banknotes issued by private banks and backed by gold have been banned, and states also issue no money any longer), and Washington borrows money with no intention of ever repaying. It is hard to see how Washington’s funny money is better than the bank dollars of a century ago. The decentralization of money at least allowed competition to rectify the real value of different forms of money. Today all money is fiat money, and the money supply, dictated in Washington, is intended to keep power there.
What about the third leg of conservatism, social conservatism? The left loves to pretend that social conservatives want to use government to impose their values on others. It is, of course, precisely the opposite. Social conservatives want nothing more than for government to stop hounding them, to stop driving all human activity into warrens of statism and then demanding that all statist actions conform to the warped and insulated ideas of imperial leftism.
Consider the perfect example of this. Consider that quintessential issue of social conservatism: abortion. Roe v. Wade did not create a right to abortion. Instead, this Supreme Court decision said that the regulation of abortion was no longer a matter for state government, like all other criminal and regulatory laws in this area, but rather a federal issue. Moreover, abortion was not a federal legislative issue, but a federal judicial issue.
Prior to that awful mess of misshapen legal reasoning, social conservatives were perfectly content to let state governments pass laws legalizing abortion. If leftists wished to make abortion very easy in New York or Hawaii, social conservatives did not organize protests to oppose those states’ laws, even less to ask the Supreme Court to strike down state laws making abortion legal on the grounds that it violating the Equal Protection Clause rights of unborn children.
The left, not conservatives, demanded that there must be only one national position on issue which related to social values. Today imperial leftism, operating at the federal level through courts, bureaucracies, and independent regulatory agencies, harries schools who do not accept the nationally prescribed values of the left in education or in media or in law.
Washington has become an exclusive province of leftism, a place in which all variety of conservative positions and values are subverted, corrupted, or compromised. Is there any aspect of established leftism that could survive without the power centers of Washington? No, there is not. In odd bailiwicks like Vermont and San Francisco, social leftism could limp along without the badgering power of Washington, but it is conservatives, not the left, who have never been bothered by diversity.
In national security matters, the left uses power to advance its agenda, not to protect our national interests. In monetary and fiscal matters, the left uses the power of the federal government to cheat by inflation and to beggar our children through unchecked borrowing. Even in the last leg of conservatism, the left is the intolerant bully.
All we really want from Washington is to leave us alone.