Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the failure of conservatism as an ideology for moving America forward with a positive agenda for expanding freedom and reviving morality and restoring justice.
The conservative mantra about the Republican drubbing in the midterm congressional elections is: “Conservatives didn’t lose, Republicans did.”
With all due respect to my conservative friends, this is the kind of thinking that will take them the way of the Whigs.
Don’t get me wrong. I love conservatives. Some of my best friends are conservatives. But being “conservative” is not a bold vision for the future. Being “conservative” will never inspire Americans to reject socialism and immorality. Banking on this word, this wholly inadequate, timid ideology is, instead, a sure-fire recipe for political defeat for the foreseeable future.
Conservatives are both right and wrong in their critique of Republicanism in 2006.
It’s true that Republicans did not distinguish themselves from their Democratic counterparts. It’s true that Republicans did nothing to hold on to their political base. It’s true that Republicans governed just like Democrats.
But, I have to tell you, “conservatism” is not the recipe for taking America back. It won’t work.
There are three fundamental problems with conservatism:
- It is a defensive movement rather than offensive;
- Its exclusive field of battle is electoral politics;
- It lacks the vision of a better future;
America is sliding inevitably toward socialism and immorality. I’m not going to call the direction we’re moving “liberalism,” because that description is simply too kind and understates the seriousness of our crisis and the lateness of the hour.
Forget about who won Congress. Look at the way Americans voted on issues.
While it’s true that marriage amendments passed in all but one state – Arizona – the closeness of all those tallies is what disturbs me. It persuades me that the conservative agenda is an agenda that just keeps losing ground.
You would think that amendments simply declaring marriage to be an institution between one man and one woman would garner at least 90 percent support among Americans.
Yet, even in four states in which the amendment passed, opposition exceeded an astounding 40 percent of the vote.
Conservatives look at those numbers and see victory. I’ve got news for you: So do the same-sex marriage activists. I look at those numbers and see inevitable defeat. It might be in 2008 or 2010 or 2012. But the die is cast. There is no question that the American view of marriage is changing.
The defensive agenda of conservatives is failing – and it will continue to fail. And this is just one example of hundreds in the way it is failing.
It’s time for conservatives to realize the problem is not limited to the Republican Party. There is something inherently inadequate with the conservative vision.
Let me put it to you this way: After Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel and John Conyers have their way with America, will you, as a conservative, be satisfied with preserving or conserving what’s left of America?
I’m not even content with that prospect right now – before they take the country further down their slippery slope of moral relativism and tyranny.
At some point, and I believe we’re long past that point, “conserving” the vestiges of American institutions will no longer be adequate. I think we’ve already lost way too much freedom and morality. We need a counter-revolution to restore them – not an effort to save what’s left.
Let me illustrate what is happening this way: Imagine American politics as a tug of war. One side in the battle is actually playing to win – to pull its opponents into the moat. The other side, though, is simply trying not to get pulled into the moat.
Who is inevitably going to win? Which political ideology do you think is represented by the team whose goal is a standoff?
I know this is hard to understand because no one else – and I mean no one – is saying what I am saying.
Like it or not, the very nature of the word “conservative” defines the ideology. It is not a radical movement to expand freedom and economic opportunity. It is not a radical movement to restore justice and morality. It is not a radical movement to achieve victory over evil.
Instead, it is a “conservative,” defensive movement that is merely content standing still.
Unfortunately, in the history of the world, there is no such thing as a social movement that stands still. You are either moving toward your goal or moving away from it.
What are the conservatives’ goals? Let’s say “preserving marriage” is one of them. The way conservatives fight to achieve their status quo goal is to get marriage amendments on ballots. At first they win one referendum after another. Conservatives see victory at hand – even though, if they are 100 percent successful, all their hard work and sacrifice will have gone to the goal of achieving the status quo.
Meanwhile, the other side doesn’t worry too much about those votes. Instead, they are fighting in a whole different arena – the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people using the cultural institutions of the press, the entertainment industry, the foundations, the corporations, even the churches.
That’s why each successive vote on marriage amendments is a little closer. Their goal is the destruction of the very building block of western civilization – the traditional family.
The American people have been softened up and are starting to believe that marriage between same-sex couples is perfectly normal and acceptable – a notion that would have been anathema to them 20 years ago.
This is an illustration of the inadequacy of the conservative agenda.
It’s hard to accept for conservatives who have placed so much faith in this ideology of defeat.
“Are you saying, Farah, that conservatism can never triumph?” you might ask. “What about Ronald Reagan?”
It’s a good question. Conservatism does have its momentary political triumphs. They can occur when life under socialism and immorality becomes intolerable for people. If conservatism is packaged well and articulated by an articulate and passionate personality, it can win at the polls – no question about it.
Yet the cultural march toward socialism and immorality continues unabated – just as it did during the Reagan years.
TOMORROW: A glimpse of a radical new agenda for the future.