The idea of conservatism being in trouble might sound crazy when you consider the fact that Republicans now control both houses of Congress and the Presidency. This should be the time where conservatism is on the rise, where conservatism is shining bright! Don’t be fooled. Conservatism is in trouble, and there are many factors that explain why this is the case.
President Trump’s address to Congress
Trump gave the speech of his life to a joint session of Congress and said many things that conservatives can get excited about. He talked about being proud of the flag, supporting our veterans, supporting law enforcement, strong border security, and the President actually putting the interest of America before the interests of the rest of the world. These are all good things and things that conservatives really missed when Obama was in office, but I see no evidence that he believes in these things based on a belief in limited government, individual liberty, or the Constitution. This becomes evident when he starts to talk about things like major infrastructure projects, tariffs, and using the power of the Presidency to get businesses to keep jobs in the U.S. He also doesn’t want to touch entitlements and never talks about the role of government. He is a nationalist and he believes that big government can be a good tool to accomplish his nationalist ideas. He’s also starting to cave a little on Obamacare.
When Obama was in office the Republican controlled Congress tried to show off their conservative credentials by voting to repeal Obamacare some 62 times. Now that they control both houses of Congress and the Presidency they are stalling. Many of the Republicans are now even admitting that Obamacare has changed things forever and many of the healthcare reforms are here to stay. Rand Paul put out a new healthcare plan that is obviously conservative and based on real free market principles, but it seems to be going nowhere. The Republicans seem to now believe it is the government’s role to be heavily involved in healthcare and that it just needs to be “tweaked” or “repaired”. The more entrenched government becomes in our healthcare system the harder it will be to cut the size of government in the future. Unfortunately promoting limited Constitutional government doesn’t seem to be the main priority of too many conservatives in the media.
Fighting Fire with Fire
The more I listen to many big time conservative pundits the more I realize that promoting the Constitution and limited government is not the priority right now. The priority is attacking and defeating the other side at all costs. Trump proved that fighting fire with fire can be effective and the rest of the conservative media commentators are following his lead. Just listen to Milo Yiannopoulos and Tomi Lahren and you’ll see that the approach is attack attack attack! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for criticizing the other side when they deserve it, but we cannot forget WHY we criticize them. We point out their flaws because we believe their ideology is dangerous for the future of the country. We have to remember to promote our superior ideology in our attempts to criticize. Most of the criticisms now though are focused against the Media.
The Right vs the “Media”
There is no doubt that for a long period of time in this country the vast majority of the media was biased towards big government liberalism. This was possible especially in TV because the number of outlets was limited. Then Rush Limbaugh came along and made a career out of pointing out their biases. I’m all for criticizing certain media outlets, but I believe focusing all out attention against the media will be misguided in the future. Why? Because those liberal media outlets no longer have a monopoly. My generation (millennials) get their news and information from so many different sources that just blaming “the media” will not resonate with them. They will just ask “Which media?” There are now popular alternatives for ever liberal outlet. Instead of MSNBC you can watch Fox News, instead of the New York Times there’s the New York Post, and instead of the Washington post there is the Washington Times. If you don’t like the Daily Beast you can read the Daily Wire. Don’t like listening to NPR? Then of course you can listen to conservative talk radio. This list could go on and on. Once again, I’m all for criticizing liberal media outlets, but we’ve become so obsessed with it that we’ve become hypocritical in many instances and care more about being on the right “side” rather than having the right ideas.
The National Debt
If you want evidence that the government is too big and expanded way beyond its Constitutional limits all you have to do is look at the National Debt. It is now approaching $20 trillion, something you cannot accomplish without a giant government. Believe it or not though balancing the budget is a lot easier than you might think. All you have to do is cut the automatic increases in spending every year, and it will balance in about five years. You think this could be something that conservatives in Congress could get behind. We’re not even talking about cutting anything, just not increasing it. But every time this is proposed it is seen as too radical, not just by Democrats, but REPUBLICANS as well. Instead there is talk about getting rid of the sequester, the one thing that actually worked in cutting the deficit. If conservatism was really on the rise, this would be tackled immediately, but the President and congress don’t want to touch it.
The 2016 Presidential Race
At first I was extremely hopeful in the 2016 Presidential Race for the Republican nominee. We had the most talented and real conservative list of candidates in my lifetime. We had great and proven limited government conservatives like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson. Then along came Mr. Trump. Although he does bring a lot to the table, he did not win based on Conservative principles of free markets, limited government, individual liberty, and the restoration of the Constitution. He won because he was a fighter and a proud nationalist. We have not had a real conservative President in my lifetime since Reagan, and it’s not looking good that we will in the future.
We Must Not Forget The WHY
When the Tea Party began its rise in 2009 and 2010 I really thought that conservatism was making a strong comeback. I really thought that we might see a real conservative government in my lifetime that would bring our government back to its true role. The Constitution was hip for a while, but not so much now. America is a great country and in many ways it is the brightest beacon of hope and freedom for the world, but we cannot forget what makes America great in the first place. It’s not the land or big government projects that make this country exceptional. This country became great because it was founded on the ideas of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, freedom of religion, and a free people able to make their communities better without government interference. These ideas are no longer the priority and that is proof that conservatism is in real trouble.