I received a nice e-mail from Michael Deaver the other day.
You remember Deaver? He was one of President Reagan’s key advisers.
He said he is writing a book called, “Why I Am a Conservative,” and was inviting me and others to contribute their own words explaining why they, too, are conservatives.
There’s just one problem.
I am not a conservative.
I don’t know how many times I have to say it before people will believe me. But I guess it’s time to remind everyone.
We have come to view politics in America in this paradigm of right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal, Republican vs. Democrat – as if that’s all there is or ever was. It’s not true.
If that’s all there was, that would represent no choice at all.
I don’t like the label “conservative.” I reject the label. With all due respect to my “conservative” friends, I find the description detestable, extremely unflattering, simplistic and an insult.
Let me tell you why.
Conservatives, by definition, seek to conserve something from the past – institutions, cultural mores, values, political beliefs, traditions.
What happens when a society moves so far from righteous values and freedom principles that there is little left to conserve?
That is where I believe America finds itself in the early part of the 21st century. Let me give you some examples of why:
- the breakdown of the institutions of marriage and family;
- the inability of many to distinguish between right and wrong;
- the consolidation of power in Washington and in the executive branch;
- the breakdown in the rule of law;
- the usurpation of power by unaccountable supra-national agencies;
- infringements on personal freedoms;
- increasing vulnerability to weapons of mass destruction and government’s unwillingness or inability to address such a basic concept of defense.
What do these and other problems our nation is facing have in common?
Today, we have a federal government that acts without regard for the Constitution. What’s the conservative prescription for that? Has “compassionate conservative” George W. Bush reversed unconstitutional government or continued it? Can you defeat unconstitutional government by putting your finger in the dike to prevent more?
No, it takes a radical agenda to defeat a radical agenda. Conservatives have no stomach for fighting – the kind of fighting it takes to restore real freedom to America.
It’s not a time for timidity or compromise. It’s not a time for defensiveness and conciliation. It’s time to take the offensive in this struggle.
I’m not a “conservative” because I see precious little left in this world worth conserving. Conservatives, from my experience, do not make good freedom fighters. They seem to think a victory is holding back attacks on liberty or minimizing them. They are forever on the defensive – trying to conserve or preserve an apple that is rotten to the core.
What is the rotten apple? You can see it in the government schools that dumb down American kids. You can see it in the universities that pervert the concepts of knowledge and wisdom. You can see it in the federalization and militarization of law enforcement. You can see it in the proliferation of non-constitutional government. You can see it in the real “trickle-down economics” of confiscatory taxes. You can see it in the unaccountable authorities which give us global treaties. You can see it in the relentless attacks on marriage and the family. You can see it in euthanasia, population control and the phony “right” to abortion on demand. You can see it in the surrender of our national security.
It’s all got to go. But how? Politics as usual will never get us there.
Conservatives, it seems to me, only forestall the inevitable slide into tyranny. I don’t want to forestall it. I want to prevent it. I want to reverse that slide. I want to restore the dream that was America.
Was George Washington a conservative? No. He was a revolutionary. He is known throughout the world – or was when people appreciated such concepts – as the “father of freedom.” Was Thomas Jefferson a conservative? No, he was a radical, a visionary. He wasn’t interested in preserving the status quo. Like his contemporaries, he risked everything to expand freedom, not just to preserve the limited freedoms that existed in his time.
Today, those who stand for freedom, justice, the rule of law, self-government and the moral principles of the Bible are not part of “the establishment.” We’re the rebels. By the world’s standards, we’re the renegades.
It takes courage to stand in the gap, to man the barricades, to say “enough is enough” – and mean it. It takes more than a “conservative” vision to lead the way back to freedom.
And that’s why I’m not a conservative.