Though there may be many disagreements about what qualifies someone to be an American conservative, there can be no disagreement on what would disqualify someone as a conservative. The events in Charlottesville have made it ever clearer that the Republican Party and the rise of Nationalism have blurred the ideological lines that were once so clear. It’s past time to separate the conservative wheat from the putrid chaff of Nationalism.
So how does one fail to be conservative?
1] Support any form of government interference in the market.
Whether that be direct subsidization, tax rebates, arbitrary regulation, or contract constraints. The use of capital and resources should be left to the private decisions of owners and consumers, not to the government bureaucrats or elected politicians, no matter how well meaning, yes, even social programs designed to feed the hungry, cover the medical costs of the elderly, or subsidize the mortgages of the poor.
Support of government interference in the market disqualifies someone as being conservative, because government control or ownership of market enterprise that entails “taking from some based on ability and giving to others based on their need” (Karl Marx) has a name: Socialism. Socialism isn’t Conservatism.
2] Support any form of government interference in foreign nations.
Whether it be a military intervention, a coalition police action, or even just foreign subsidies, without a demonstrable and imminent national security interest that can only be achieved through a committed alliance with another nation, the expense of the blood and treasure of the people of the United States of America is nothing short of murder and theft. Nation states must stand on their own, and, short of impending future threat to the sovereignty of the United States, there is no justification for possibly “entangling alliances” (George Washington).
Support of government interference in foreign nations disqualifies someone as being conservative because aggressive government interference in foreign powers has a name: Imperialism. Imperialism isn’t Conservatism.
3] Support any form of government discrimination for or against any individuals.
Whether it be affirmative action quotas or open discrimination based on sex or race, a just government should treat all individuals according to a single standard applied equally to all, with no differences in criminal codes among any group, be it race, sex, creed, or any other consideration. Our society should be based on “Liberty and Justice for all” (Francis Bellamy), and “all” in this case is literally everyone within the territorial bounds of our nation and, where applicable, for anyone beyond as well.
Support of government discrimination against any individuals disqualifies someone as being conservative because discrimination for or against any individuals has many names: Sexism, Racism, Nativism, etc. None of them are Conservatism.
“If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this government have been adjusted.”
Let’s make this so clear that even Trump supporters might be able to understand. The “Carrier deal”, any kind of “repatriation tax”, or any tariff on foreign goods represent government interference in the market. Any military intervention in Syria, Venezuela, or any other country that doesn’t pose an imminent threat to American lives would represent interference in foreign nations. Any policy designed to advantage citizens over non-citizens, bans individuals based on religious belief, or support hate groups actively inciting violence against their countrymen would qualify as discrimination for or against individuals.
In every possible way, Trumpism is entirely inconsistent with the necessary and proper purpose of government to secure the Lives, Liberties, and Properties of all people living honestly within the boundaries of the United States. The core precepts of the MAGA movement in no way resembles Conservatism as espoused by Reagan, Buckley, or the Founding Fathers. To support Trumpism is to betray conservatism in every way.
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