America Needs a Traditional Conservative

Obama is clearly not a conservative. As a campaigner Romney is primarily an economic conservative. Yet in his heart he is probably a traditional conservative, and this is what America needs for the next four years. The hallmark of a traditional conservative is "stability through equilibrium" which is the foundation of the writings of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk.

Economic conservatives focus on how governments constrain the economic freedom of commerce. They support capitalism, free markets, and risk-takers. They favor small government and low taxes. Social conservatives want people to live orderly lives based on customs and traditions that encourage individual responsibility, hard work, and morality. Neither economic conservatives nor social conservatives are traditional conservatives because each has a specific agenda they want government to enforce.

Traditional conservatives want to preserve a society in which different layers of individuals, families, groups, companies, religions, local governments, and the central government function in harmony. Traditional conservatives seek a climate of order and satisfaction with the decentralization of power; they support a melting pot of individuals, not a salad bowl of factions. Traditional conservatives rely on the inner compass of individuals to guide behavior, not the rules and laws of government.

However, the true meaning of  "stability through equilibrium" is often not understood. It is the checks and balances which our Founders wanted to establish for this country--but which over the years has been lost. It does not mean that conservatives should settle for either the status quo or through compromise some weak, unprincipled middle position. It requires conservatives to fight as hard and skillfully as they can for what they think is good, right and virtuous, but realize that others, who do not agree with them, will fight for what they desire. Traditional conservatives accept diversity and seek the decentralization of decision-making to the lowest possible level--ideally to the individual. They seek order and satisfaction through equilibrium among all competing views and factions.

On the other hand, the progressives (liberals, socialists, postmodernists) who support Obama have a witch's brew of ideas. In common, progressives demand agreement and expect rules and laws to force everyone to accept that agreement.  The outcome is the centralization of authority and continual conflict among factions; each faction is fighting to gain acceptance, and enforcement by government, of their specific views. This is the adversarial system, i.e. a thesis is established and it is challenged by an opposing, and equally ascertainable and mutually contradictory, proposition  (antithesis) which must be reconciled on a higher level by a third proposition (a synthesis, which becomes the new thesis). Then government requires (through the rule of law) everyone to accept this new thesis. Those who control the government, and their supporters, are rewarded--at the expense of others. Therefore, progressives promise a utopia and seek the centralization of power.

Today most of those in the Republican Party rarely speak of the bedrock of traditional conservatism, i.e. national identity. Patriotism, nationalism, and belief are all fundamentals of traditional conservatism--yet they no longer have the emotional strength they had before the 1960s. Knowing this many Republicans have turned, at America's peril, to economic conservatism. Traditional conservatism is best summed up as: One nation under God, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all citizens. This is the only road to a better future.