Anyone who has read even one of my articles knows that I tend to use lots of quotes. I do this to show that the point I am trying to get across is not my own personal opinion, but it was the opinion of them men who established our system of government.
To truly understand how our system of government was supposed to function one cannot simply take our current elected representatives at their word that what they are doing is justified and legal, one MUST go to the source of all the power they hold over us and then, and only then, can we know whether what they are doing is legally justified.
I hear people blather on, [to talk in an unintelligent or inane manner], about our democracy, conservatives and liberals, when the truth is that most of them don’t have the faintest idea what they are talking about. These people don’t understand the varying forms a system of government may assume, and they damned sure don’t know what it means to be conservative.
Let’s begin by discussing for a moment the various forms government may take. At one end of the spectrum you begin with a lack of any form of government. Under such conditions you would most likely have anarchy and chaos as the people would tend to do whatever they want without regards to the rights and welfare of others. In short it would be a society of survival of the fittest.
At the other end of the spectrum you would find a totalitarian system of government. Totalitarianism is defined as: the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority. And this is where many people get things wrong. They consider something like communism to be a system of government. It isn’t, not really. It is a totalitarian system, with the concepts proposed by Karl Marx as the philosophy that the government supposedly based itself upon.
But totalitarian governments come in all shapes and sizes. A dictatorship is a totalitarian form of government, as is a Monarchy where the King rules, as is a Theocracy where the government is bound by doctrine dictated by the countries religious beliefs, such as one based upon Sharia Law.
In between these two ends of the spectrum you have various systems that may exists, such as a democracy, where 50% of the people is all it takes to enact law, or a republic, such as we have, where we may elect our representatives through a democratic process, but they are bound by our will which is the supreme law of the land, i.e. the Constitution.
For the longest time it was held that rulers ruled by divine right, that is their power was granted them directly from God. The old monarchs of Britain, France and Spain ruled by divine right and the people had no recourse but to follow the laws imposed upon them, or face whatever punishment the monarch dished out.
During the early years of our nations existence we lived as colonies of the British Empire and the King of England believed that as his subjects he could impose his will upon us and we were obliged to obey. But something had happened, a new way of thinking had arisen and it was called the Age of Enlightenment. During this time men like Sir Francis Bacon, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, and John Locke began expounding ideas that contradicted traditional thought.
The men who we now call our Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by the writings of these men, particularly the writings of one John Locke, whose Second Treatise on Civil Government is the basis from which they established our system of government. The principles of individual liberty, the belief in government by the consent of the people, and the right to private property were all concepts written about by Locke, and our Founders drew heavily from it when establishing our system of government.
Yet the average person today knows nothing of Locke, or his writings. For the longest time I’ve been searching bookstores for a copy of Locke’s Second Treatise, and this weekend I finally found a copy. It is a fascinating read for me, as it is the root of our system, and people SHOULD be familiar with what he says. Even Barnes and Noble, which printed out this copy, considers it to be among their library of ESSENTIAL reading. Yet I bet I couldn’t get more than a handful of people I know to read it…even if I were to purchase a copy for them.
Yet the principles Locke writes about are the seed from which our system of government sprouts. It was Locke’s belief in individual liberty which fueled the fire for independence from a monarchy. It was Locke’s writings on government by consent of the people which gave rise to the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
How does all this tie in to the title of this article? Well today we see two political parties battling for control of this system of government; the Republicans and the Democrats. Are you even aware that the Constitution makes no mention of political parties? Well, it doesn’t, take my word for it. In fact our first three presidents absolutely hated the idea of political parties.
George Washington said, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
John Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
And Thomas Jefferson said, “I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
These are the first three men our nation selected to be its presidents, and they are closest to, and most familiar with, the construction of our system of government. The very first political parties were the Federalist Party, and the Democratic-Republican Party, also known as the anti-Federalists. The Federalist Party believed in a strong central government, and tended to take a liberal view of the powers granted government by the Constitution. While, on the other hand, the Democratic-Republican Party believed in a stricter interpretation of the Constitution, with little to no room open for interpretation.
I could go through a complete history of the evolution of the political parties in America, but that would only bore you. Just let it be known that the first two parties were organized by people who held one belief or another; the belief in a strong central government and a loose interpretation of the powers granted it by the Constitution, and the other in a strict adherence to the powers granted government by the Constitution.
Bet you didn’t know that George Washington was the only president that was not elected by an overwhelming support of a political party. Well he was, and it was he who said, “The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing…”
Again, how does this tie in to the title of this article? To answer, one must first understand the definition of the word conservative. According to the dictionary, conservative is defined as: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.
Therefore when it comes to political parties a conservative would be one who is disposed to existing views or institutions, one who adhered to the principles which established our system of government, AND the limits imposed upon it.
Now if you take a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a strict adherence to the Constitution, and 10 being a very liberal interpretation of it, then the Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson’s time would be a 1 with the Federalist Party being closer to a 6 or 7.
Now fast forward two centuries to the existing Republican and Democrats. If you were to apply that same 1 to 10 scale on them then the Republicans would most likely be 6’s or 7’s, while the Democrats would be 9’s or 10’s.
The Republicans, or the Conservative Party, may be MORE conservative in their beliefs than their counterparts, but they are nowhere near the party which strictly adheres to the principles outlined in our Founding Documents.
That is basically because all political parties are simply groupings of people who organize together with common beliefs to select and support candidates who share the same belief system. This is true of both parties in this country.
Look at Ron Paul. He was a Republican, and probably more of a conservative than anyone else in the GOP who ran for president, yet he did not share the same beliefs as to the purpose and scope of powers of government as did the leadership in the GOP. Therefore they denounced him and would not stand behind his bid for presidency.
All I’m trying to say is that you may call yourself a conservative, but what are you really? Are you simply claiming the title of conservative simply because that is the title utilized by the political party you belong to, or are you a true conservative who believes in a government which strictly abides by what the Constitution says? But if you simply vote according to party lines, without any regard as to whether the candidate you are voting for has any intention of limiting the size of government, and its powers over the people and their rights, then you are NOT a true conservative.
You would do well to find a copy of Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government and see what principles guided our Founders in establishing our system of government. You could also find a copy of The Law by Frederic Bastiat, which written two centuries after Locke’s Treatise, espouse very similar ideas.
If you did, you would find that the party you belong to, the Republican Party, is far from being conservative in any way, shape, or fashion. It is simply the lesser of two evils, and I am sick and damned tired of evil in any form in our government!