Saturday, December 5, 2009

Conservative litmus test

There's been a lot of undeserved attention to a list of supposedly conservative principles grandiosely named the "Resolution on Reagan’s Unity Principle for Support of Candidates." A "true conservative" is supposed to support at least eight list of the ten positions.

Naturally, I expected a bunch of TheoCon blathering about Bibles, taxes and abortion; a dead-serious parody of Glenn Beck's nine principles and 12 values, with the name of The Gipper plastered onto the title for undeserved credibility.

I was hoping to fail out miserably, just to confirm my belief that the Republican party members who speak up are the no-nothing yokels. So how did I do?

Sadly, inconclusive. Two of the issues I honestly couldn't answer with a simple yes or no, and two I disagree with. The list reads:

(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill
(2) Market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check
(5) Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat
(8) Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership
Questions 1 and 2 were basic libertarian fiscal positions, although they really had no cause to mention Obama in the wordings. Free market economics are an eternal concept, Obama is just modern representative of the opposition. Perhaps the authors simply found it politically convenient to paint the alternate view in terms of Obamitude.

The third question doesn't have an easy answer. Can't I support market-based energy solutions without taking a stand on cap and trade? I've studied the issue extensively and it's got a lot of advantages over past legislation. The most obvious being that is solely measures the output of pollution - instead of forcing a specific measure of reducing emissions. Basically, it is a market-based solution, although in a government-regulated arena. I'm not sure where I stand on the issue so I can't say I support that principal.

Questions 4, 5 and 6 are fine, although I don't try to gussy up my opposition to amnesty by saying I'm motivated by protecting legal immigration.

What worse than that is the cowardly working in question 7. In specific that phrase "
particularly effective action" in place of what I can presume means going to war. I'm reminded of my favorite line from George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" just after the sample paragraph of an English professor defending murderous Russian totalitarianism with cloudy wording. Orwell wrote:
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”
I believe in keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of the Iranian government, which operates under the belief that Allah has given them the right to kill infidels. I believe in going to war for that, if we must. What I don't believe in, however, is lending my name to a principle written like what a human resources manager would say to a crying orphan.

Question 8 I just flat-out disagree with, and as I've said before, is inconsistent with conservative principles. Opposition to gay marriage is about limiting what social contracts adults can make, passing an official interpretation of the Bible and all under a big federal law signed by Bill Clinton (and sadly sponsored by Libertarian Bob Barr)

Question 9 takes something I agree with, keeping payments for abortions private, and grafts it with something unrelated that I don't; opposing rationing. Other possible phrases for rationing: Medical triage, cost-benefit analysis and not putting an infinite value of human life.

Question 10 is an easy one - keeping guns in private hands. It's too bad, because this far in this frustrating list I was really hoping for a third item I could conclusively disagree with.

1 comment:

  1. Well, it's good to know you were at least hoping to disagree with the majority of these litmus questions for being a “true” conservative. Maybe there’s hope for you yet… ;) Just kidding, I know you’re a dyed-in-the-wool , true to the bone (although somewhat liberal—whoops, I meant libertarian) conservative, and (probably) always will be.