The Challenge for Conservatives

2010-10-17

Apologies for the rare political post, but this essay by Jennifer Rubin set me off. First she praises several Tea Party candidates for being "strict constitutionalists" who "fervently believe in individual freedom and economic conservatism" and who "believe the federal government has grown far beyond its intended boundaries". In the next breath she goes on to show her limited understanding of the principles upon which America was founded:

A small diversion: the challenge for conservatives who believe in a robust foreign policy and the projection of American powers and values is great. Some of those entering the Senate and Congress may be indifferent or actively hostile to the war in Afghanistan, military action against Iran (when it is acknowledged sanctions have failed), and ample spending on national security. Just as Ronald Reagan made the case for free markets at home and a forward-leaning foreign policy, conservative hawks will have their work cut out for them, facing neo-isolationists on the right and the left.

I've written numerous times about "isolationism", which is a smear word for the only foreign policy becoming of a free people: "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none" (Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801). It saddens me that so many Americans have failed to learn that the welfare state and the warfare state are joined at the hip. The liberals think you can have a welfare state without the warfare part and the conservatives think you can have a warfare state without the welfare part, but the reality is that big government at home encourages big government abroad and that foreign interventionism encourages domestic interventionism. The real challenge for folks in the Tea Party is to stand firmly for small government and strict constitutionalism in every aspect of public affairs, not just a select few.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal