What is a Conservative? Hint, Not Trump!

What is Conservatism? Here an excellent presentation that answers that question.

Freedom Through Empowerment

This is not a hit piece on Donald Trump. Now that his supposed inevitability as the Republican nominee for President has been stymied by a powerful Ted Cruz win in Iowa however, it’s time for some serious talk about conservative philosophy and what we should expect from candidates who call themselves one.

The term conservative can be confusing because it’s meaning changes depending on where you are and in what time period. If you were a European conservative during times of monarchy, aristocracy or feudalism, you were a defender of such power structures and fought against changes to them.

American conservatism is more closely attuned to the classic liberalism principles of civil liberty, political and economic freedom, which our founding doctrines were built around and which conservatives today are struggling to protect.

Ironically though, because our way of government has strayed so far from classic liberalism, today it’s the so…

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68 thoughts on “What is a Conservative? Hint, Not Trump!

  1. The problem with true Conservatism is the confusion caused by Conservatives in Congress that say one thing and vote the other way under the cover of the phrase “general welfare of the nation.”

    Bush ran up the US National Debt by six trillion and Obama by another eight. General welfare in the Constitution was intended to give , not Congress the authority to pay debt not accrue debt.

    Most people confuse general welfare to mean the common good. However common good does not work well in a pluralistic nation which Congress has allowed the US to become even more pluralistic by replacing aborted USA babies with immigrants to grow the economy.

    The big problem in my opinion is who is going to pay down the debt if . Conservatives will not tax the only people left in the USA making livable wages who can afford to pay higher taxes.

    The poor people do not care about the debt because they have no assets to lose, They are going to vote for their own general welfare. Sanders promises to tax up to 90 percent for the rich same as what Truman did after WWII to pay of the War Bonds. He may win because the numbers of poor are rising more than rich in the USA and Clinton is another Obama who promised to renegotiate all trade agreements and instead made more unfair unbalanced trade agreements.

    More middle class are moving to poor because Congress allowed for livable wage jobs to be outsourced to other nations. The only candidate who is promising to return the jobs to the USA is Trump. He may win.because the middle class have lost hope in Congress.who in their eyes see the GOP as being more concerned for the general welfare of the rich than for their poor or middle class.

    Trump may be the only candidate capable of persuading middle class voters to vote for the GOP and win because Conservatism ideals are secondary in their perspective to their livelihood.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A few points:

      The tax bill Truman signed into law was only a minor tweak (3%) on what had been the practice for several years. The top tax rate had been 88.5% under FDR, with various “victory tax” and “surtax” bits included in this number.

      I agree with your comment on “general welfare” (I wrote about this some time back). But low-income voters would not be expected to vote for the “general welfare” but instead for their individual benefits.

      Congress does not “allow” manufacturing jobs to move overseas. Instead, they create tax incentives, such as 90% tax rates, that naturally drive jobs out of the country. They can provide positive incentives, too, but rarely do. They can be encouraged in this — but that is what we need a limited government conservative leader for. Trump is, of course, not that leader. Ted Cruz is.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Kieth,
        The government did allow to US manufacturing jobs to move overseas when they made trade agreements without any agreement to control trade imbalances. American workers can not compete with any foreign worker that is paid $200 a month when an American worker has to pay $800 a month for rent alone.

        Corporations are not dummies about finding ways to avoid taxes, even if the move overseas. Congress lets them do that bcause Congressis exactly as both you and Trump believe to be the same cause in your post referenced above and that is inept politicians and employees doing a job in a building with 27000 people.

        https://rudymartinka.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/king-solomon-is-donald-trump-a-fool/

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

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        1. @Keith
          @scatterwisdom

          To some extent, I think we are getting into an argument over semantics. Congress cannot stop our industries from going overseas. Congress can rightfully provide lower taxes, giving them an incentive to stay here. Obviously, Congress is not doing that.

          I support Cruz over Trump. Why? We need to reduce the size of government. Trump makes lots of the right noises, but I don’t see much evidence of a coherent Conservative philosophy. Trump might stop the influx of illegal aliens, and he might do well in trade negotiations, but he has provided little evidence he would cut Federal spending, and that is killing us.

          Cruz has a Conservative agenda and a history to back it up. Therefore, I would prefer that we nominate him. If Trump gets the nomination, however, I will support him. It is a near certainty the Democrats will not nominate anyone better than Trump.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I both concur and would favor Cruz

          . However, Trump might be a better choice in this election because he seems to m to know better how to return livable wage jobs back to the USA. If he could do that first and Cruz next, I believe it would be a “one two punch” and the nonsense game is over and out in Washington.

          I have not made up my mind yet until Trump does as you say, provide some evidence of his plans.

          As for illegal immigration, if he suceeds in job creation, we will need more immigrants in my opinion to expand our economy.

          But even if he does not obtain the nomination, he is my hero right now for bringing up what I have been saying for the last ten years about trade imbalances ruining our nation because of inept politicians free trade agreements that are unfair to US workers, their families, and our nation..

          Regards and goodwill bloging.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. How high of a wall must Congress build to keep corporations from being “allowed” to move out of the country? And once they’ve commanded companies to stay, how do they keep those companies alive in the face of losses? Bailouts?

          How much extra must poorer people in the US pay as punishment to prop up these companies, once free trade is outlawed at their expense? Why is a wealth transfer scheme from the nation’s poorest to corporations, to prop them up since they aren’t allowed to leave, a good idea?

          And what happens to all of those jobs focused on importing and distributing trade goods if that trade is curtailed by the same protectionist tariff schemes that did so much damage in the Great Depression?

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 3 people

        4. You are right about every thing you said except there is, in my opinion, a simple solution for trade and that is this.

          Trade imbalances agreements must be made by both parties in any free trade agreement. In other words when any country such as the US is now suffering and I do mean suffering, from the effects of huge trade imbalances, both parties agree to accept temporary tariffs as they see fit to control deficit trade imbalances. balances which even the WTA has stated is harmful to a trade partner.
          .
          Another simple method is if for example China bought American goods to balance trade instead of insisting that American companies build plants in China to make American designed products by Chinese workers instead of American workers. Because if the products are not made in China, the companies will not be allowed to sell American products in the Chinese markets.

          Also see my reply to Citizen Tom about what I believe will happen with immigrants if this would happen.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

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        5. How are trade imbalances to be determined? If we sell more natural gas than we import, shall we accept a tariff on natural gas and thus punish those workers in that industry by encouraging international buyers to go elsewhere, and reduce the American workers’ employment and wages?

          If we buy more cellphones than we export, should we happily have our poorer citizens pay extra for the cellphones to support our government and the bureaucrats of international trade?

          The total may balance, or it may not, but there is not one chance in a million that we would have balanced trade in any single product. We can arbitrarily muck with the prices and distort the markets, or we can fairly compete by doing those things we do well and paying people in other places to do what they do well. The result of this has been to offer Americans an astounding array of products from around the world, at low prices, improving the lifestyles of even the poorest of our citizens.

          We have tariffs now on a few products, the result of lobbyists in certain industries. These are invariably harmful to the general welfare, though they certainly benefit a few. There is a natural tendency to impose tariffs to ease “suffering” as you put it. But their history has been one of harm, and often great harm: The Smoot-Hawley tariff imposed by Hoover was one of the triggers of the Great Depression, and it was to do exactly what you describe, relieve suffering.

          Even the US State Department, the government agency whose job they believe is to make the world safe for cocktail parties, describes the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act this way:

          During the 1928 election campaign, Republican presidential candidate Herbert Hoover pledged to help the beleaguered farmer by, among other things, raising tariff levels on agricultural products. But once the tariff schedule revision process got started, it proved impossible to stop. Calls for increased protection flooded in from industrial sector special interest groups, and soon a bill meant to provide relief for farmers became a means to raise tariffs in all sectors of the economy.

          When the dust had settled, Congress had agreed to tariff levels that exceeded the already high rates established by the 1922 Fordney-McCumber Act and represented among the most protectionist tariffs in U.S. history. Smoot-Hawley did nothing to foster trust and cooperation among nations in either the political or economic realm during a perilous era in international relations.

          Worse than “did nothing,” it caused great harm at a crucial point. And it helped spread the Great Depression into a worldwide phenomenon.

          The upshot: A tariff scheme is an attempt to “level the playing field” by dropping obstacles and bombs and cratering the ground on one side or the other of that field. It is a doctrine of “equal difficulty” in the same manner as socialism’s “equal misery.” Tariffs merely damage the play and never produce the desired overall results, except for a connected few — and those few lobby hard for them, as tariffs are potent in stifling competition.

          But competition has been shown to be good for us and for the world. Let’s not try to harm the players and the play on each side. Let us instead focus on using and restoring our great resource of liberty to educate ourselves, and be competitive on the world stage as we have been in the past.

          We will be fine if we do this well. And if we do not — if we fail the next generation by inculcating “safe spaces” and “self esteem” instead of personal initiative and an earned pride through a strong work ethic, then we will fail whether we are subjected to the harm of tariffs or not.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 3 people

        6. I will reply later. All you have stated happened in the past. That does not mean it will happen in the future if trade agreements are made in agreement and beneficiial to both parties to obtain both free and fair, in my opinion.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

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        7. I cannot guarantee that if I hit my thumb with a hammer it will hurt. But personal experience and careful research into the person research of others, backed by a solid hypothesis of the “impact” of such an action, tells me that I should expect pain if I take a swing at it again.

          Progressives march into a ever-new, imagined future of perfection on Earth, unburdened by any notion of history. In so doing, they’ve killed hundreds of millions of their own people. And not all at once! Each successive mass death but the first was done in the awareness that it resulted in horrific death previously. But they blithely did it again and again — because the attempt was worthwhile to them in order to improve mankind. Look at the reasoning of Stalin, of Mao, of the Khmer Rouge as they did away with big percentages of populations. At least the Khmer Rouge killed them outright, as opposed to the more “noble” progressive goal of starving them to death to improve their lot.

          Progressives are ever ready to try it again. “Communism works, it just hasn’t been done right! We elites will get it right this time!”

          Conservatives study history, and learn from it. And use it to guide their actions, knowing that man cannot be “perfected” but can do well in a structure that preserves and protects individual liberty and allows free markets to benefit all.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        8. We all have the notion that we can control things we cannot control.

          The basic reason we have a constitutional republic is that we cannot trust either our leadership or each other. Therefore, as much as possible we refrain from the use of coercion against each other.

          What is the problem with such a philosophy? Our enemies, led by tyrants, see our refusal to enslave the weak among us as a sign of weakness. And we do have a real problem getting everyone to march in lockstep. However, what they see as weakness ends up being a hidden strength.

          How so, you wonder? In societies where people must think for themselves, people do think for themselves. Instead of perpetually waiting for armies of bureaucrats to form committees so they can put off making decisions, individual people make their own decisions. Thus, there is far less waste and far more productivity. Therefore, even though the People may not be marching in lockstep, each individual person is far more likely to be marching the direction he or she needs to go.

          Unfortunately, we have allowed government-run schools and a crony-capitalist dominated news media to teach our children. So now we risk hiding what was once our greatest strength — that self-restraint that required us to respect each others rights — even from ourselves.

          We all need to read 1 Samuel 8. Even a deist like Thomas Paine saw the need to include that chapter verbatim in “Common Sense.” We don’t need a king. We don’t a big government. We do need to take the initiative to be responsible for both ourselves and our less prosperous neighbors.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. “The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”–Russell Kirk.

    The issue I see with modern conservatism is that its first principles are almost indistinguishable from modern liberalism. Free market verse social market, though it seem fundamentally different, stems from the same principle: salvific materialism. Voltaire ironically pointed out that people don’t kill each other over religion or politics in the market place. Whether you support a free market or a social market, it stems from the same first principle i.e. that commerce can raise man to any sort of height besides material.

    The conservative, I think, does not derive his first principles from material concerns such as immigration policy or even capitalism. Both are entirely materially minded. Instead, the conservative seeks the building up of man, collectively, through the free association of civil society.

    Since Trump and Cruz are the only two mentioned here so far, I’ll not depart from those two. Trump, though, is too obvious in his lack of conservatism so I won’t spend much time on him.

    Cruz is not a conservative except in the modern sense. His idea of constitutional government is just constitutional literalism with a Christian bent. I noticed that he made no comments about the Muslim woman who was being forbidden to wear her hijab at work at Hot Topic. Nor has he been vocal in support of the rights of the Little Sisters of the Poor, though he is keen to lampoon Obamacare.

    Based on his actions and the achievements he lays out on his website, Cruz is not for constitutional government but for a Protestant constitutional government. Instead, Cruz supports guns rights and pointless religious displays. What these do to actually help the functions of government, I will never know.

    Where in his speeches does he address the need for an enduring moral order? Apart from biblical references, no where. What customs, conventions, and continuity does he support except gun policy from the 80’s, exclusively Protestant concepts of religious liberty, and an immigration plan that can only be described as, “not as crazy as Trump?” Where does he invoke the principle of prescription or extol the virtue of prudence? This conservative is not convinced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your whole premise is based on false assertions. Cruz, for example, has indeed spoken about the Little Sisters of the Poor case, in numerous speeches as well as having their situation featured on his Facebook page.

      Try Google or Bing.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You mean the one time he mentioned them in an off hand comment in 2014 at the VV Summit? Oops, I used Google.

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        1. Apart from mentioning them in obvious instances to gain support among conservative Catholics, he hasn’t filed any briefs in their case. He did so with Hobby Lobby and numerous small gun rights cases. The fact of the matter is that as a Baptist, he isn’t that strong on the contraception issue. He is strong on guns and he is strong on Obamacare, but he can’t get that excited about religious sisters and birth control since he has no vested interest–beyond a totally self-serving a political one which I don’t blame him for–in the case.

          Also, since I am an “evil socialist” wouldn’t I abhor gambling unless there was a 30% tax on it? Shame, shame, shame.

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        2. Ah, so you’ve moved the goalposts to duck out of your false statements.

          Socialist, yes, I’d agree with that — but I’ve never called you “evil.” Being a socialist would not prevent you from being honest and standing behind your statements — but apparently some other aspect of your character does this.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        3. I didn’t think your responses were serious to be honest. My first reply was ironical and done on a bus so I was strapped for time. My second was less so but I figured that, since your reply was lacking, mine would be too.

          You seem to be an *excellent* judge of character when you want to be.

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        4. I had written:

          Your whole premise is based on false assertions. Cruz, for example, has indeed spoken about the Little Sisters of the Poor case, in numerous speeches as well as having their situation featured on his Facebook page. Try Google or Bing.

          You responded with a completely false statement:

          You mean the one time he mentioned them in an off hand comment in 2014 at the VV Summit? Oops, I used Google.

          So, you can do several things:
          1 — Ignore this, and let your falsehood stand as a blatant lie.
          2 — Admit that you made a mistake and your statement is false.
          3 — Or do your usual, which is to throw a flurry of words like octopus ink in the shape of an argument, suggesting that all the mentions Cruz did make of the Little Sisters of the Poor somehow don’t count. This will effectively look much like option 1 above, but it is what I expect.

          Your move.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        5. I don’t ignore it. I merely ignore political speeches to court 30% or so of the electorate as “support.” I apologize for being so flippant but you must understand that we Catholics have been at the forefront of every battle of every battle you mention for years. So to have Cruz come in with name droppings at political events seems a lot like a soldier turning up late for the fight and then only to urge other people to do the fighting for them. So there, I did as expected. Sure, it is untrue in one sense and I have already admitted that. But don’t come to me complaining of beleaguered causes and propping up your puppets as our advocates.

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    2. @mastersamwise

      Since I enjoy watching the debate, I would prefer to have you and Keith go at it. However, I get the feeling you directed this comment at me, and I suppose you deserve a reply.

      Is Ted Cruz a Conservative? I think so.

      What defines a Conservative in America? Well, the definition of political labels can get rather fuzzy. Therefore, when a label becomes popular, politicians will apply it to themselves when it does not really belong there, but Cruz is not guilty of that. That is because the definition of a Conservative is relatively simple, and he fits the definition. A Conservative is someone who believes we need to defend our constitutional republic, and Cruz is trying to do that.

      Why do we need to defend our constitutional republic? Check out this comment. =>
      https://citizentom.com/2016/02/05/what-is-a-conservative-hint-not-trump/#comment-68489

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      1. I have no doubt that Cruz is a type of conservative. Kirk himself says the term is not dogmatic or ideological. But I believe, along with Kirk and others, that Conservatism consists in things outside the particular political order. It is not a preservation, I think, of our republic or any other republic but the fidelity to the principle that man’s whole life consist in the becoming of more human through the regeneration of soul, ordering it into what is most consistent with his nature. In other words, the conservative, I think, is first and foremost concerned with man. Everything is merely the means to that end: the building up of man into his most man-like-ness. Unfortunately for the secularists, this involves God so we have to stick with the imperfections inherent in merely following the Natural Law. But hey, its a start.

        So if the definition of a modern conservative is something about defending the republic, then I would feel even more jaded.

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        1. Ted Cruz is a conservative, specifically a limited-government conservative as well as a social conservative, as those terms apply to American politics. That he also happens to be devoutly religious and shows a respect for the truth that makes you feel understandably jaded is rather beside the point. You said something amazing here:

          Apart from mentioning them in obvious instances to gain support among conservative Catholics, he hasn’t filed any briefs in their case. He did so with Hobby Lobby and numerous small gun rights cases.

          Briefs in “small gun rights cases”? Do you even know who Ted Cruz is? His brief in Heller, the largest second amendment case of the past century, was quoted at length in the opinion itself.

          Russell Kirk was a brilliant man, but rather an odd duck and somewhat inconstant, a famous conservative who voted for a socialist for president. He was afraid of cars, would (eventually) ride in them only away from major roads, and disdained mechanical devices of most kinds — but still (conveniently for him) found typewriters and telephones useful. His writings are rightly respected, but he cannot be said to have defined conservatism for all time, or even at the moment of his own writing.

          You’ve picked a definition that you seem to like, and that’s fine — but when you attempt to impose it upon others, it just makes you look silly … even if you attempt to adopt the mantle of a famous conservative thinker for cover.

          That definition is not the only one, and this applies to other political definitions as well. In fact, it wasn’t the only definition of conservative even for Kirk; note his six canons that range far from that narrow focus.

          Definitions change, and many often exist at once. Sometimes two co-existing definitions of a word mean complete opposites of each other, such as “cleave.” Your proposal to tell Citizen Tom what conservative really means is too short-sighted and narrow to be of value.

          Similarly, the term “liberal” means something quite different in American politics from its non-political usage, and even its political usage is nearly the opposite of its meaning two centuries ago. “Conservative” has changed less … but even so, the basic principles of conserving individual liberty through the construction of a restricted government allows individuals to develop their souls, or not, as they wish. You can encourage them to do so, and should, but to the extent you have been advocating ending or constraining the free market, your notions are counterproductive and wrong-headed.

          For the free civil association you mentioned is in effect the free market, raising billions out of utter poverty and abject misery. This is far greater than mere “materialism.” Were you still eking out a hardscrabble existence from an unimproved earth in the absence of the tools of invention, you would have had no time — or even language — to ponder the socialist thoughts you’ve been advancing here, or consider the state of anyone’s soul. In a sense, the free market feeds its enemies by the creation of a society that has free time to think about things, and a reduced need to think clearly.

          It is much the same in Saudi Arabia. There, the jihadists are not the poor slaves imported from Africa to do their menial work in utter poverty, but the well-off Saudi youth with time on their hands. Usama bin Ladin was a college kid studying architecture (and not very seriously) when Sayyid Qutb’s brother indoctrinated him into the ways of jihad. Bin Ladin’s ultimate new followers were similar young people with time to waste in such thoughts, all brought about by the free market he was being taught to hate.

          In fact, Usama’s biggest complaint became the fact that the Saudi royal family was doing business with the West, selling oil and making money, and making the nation suddenly wealthy. (Such that they could afford to pay bin Ladin’s family large amounts of money for construction work, the source of his own inherited fortune as Son #17.) He despised this modernization by free trade, and wanted that free market exchange ended.

          It is common for the American press to call jihadists like Usama bin Ladin “conservatives.” But this is not so much a considered use of a multifaceted term in an appropriate way as it is a method of making US conservatives look guilty by association, and taint the very terminology we use for ourselves. The same technique to the same purpose is used to call national socialists “right wing.” If they can make the label odious, they hope the ideas thus labeled will fall out of favor. That didn’t work, so now they just call us racists.

          If it would make you happier, feel free to mentally prepend the adjectives “limited-government” or “small-government” or “Constitutional” to uses of the word “conservative” by conservatives like me or like Citizen Tom and others on this American site, and you won’t go too far wrong.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “Dicit ei Pilatus, “quid est veritas?'” If defending this republic over that republic is really important, I don’t see how Cruz cares for man and the ordering thereof.

          All gun cases are petty to me because the issue is petty. Everyone speaks as if these amendments are some hallowed commandment when in reality they could be repealed at literally any time. When he argues to defend things of more permanence, I might be interested. And please don’t start arguing about citizens and their guns against the government. It is banal at this point and I feel we can drop the needless rhetoric.

          And Kirk would not have wanted to define it in the sense of an ideological dogmatism, but there are principles inherent in the idea of conservatism. Kirk had ten. Cruz demonstrates, if we are generous, about four.

          “You’ve picked a definition that you seem to like, and that’s fine — but when you attempt to impose it upon others, it just makes you look silly … even if you attempt to adopt the mantle of a famous conservative thinker for cover.” To cover what? My secret socialism? I’ve picked a definition based on something more substantial than the ravings of talk radio heads.

          My “proposal” is that conservatism seeks to conserve that which is most important i.e. man and his nature. Everything else is secondary to those ends, even republics. In fact, I would go as far as to say that, provided man is aware of his nature and acts according to it, the specific governmental or even economic scheme is irrelevant. Instead of asking “does a capitalist market–free is a word with metaphysical connotations that I refuse to associate with what you argue i.e. capitalism–make money, the question should be “does capitalistic market serve the end of making man most man-like?” The same could be said of all economic theories, each with their own answer.

          Further, I cannot ascribe to Cruz the mantle of conservative when his principles are classically liberal. I have voiced my objections to such notions as individualism before and I don’t think I need to repeat how dehumanizing I hold them to be. In short, I believe Cruz is a liberal with different methods so long as his first principles are derived from the Enlightenment as they are now. No, I will not be convinced that I am a socialist for thinking so. Nietzsche thought so and he wasn’t a socialist. Either I am right or Nietzsche is; either way, the Enlightenment loses.

          The discussion was about what a conservative was and I voiced my opinion and my opinion is this: Cruz is not a conservative because a conservative is, as Kirk said, “is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded.” Cruz’s classical liberal dogmatism is precisely why I believe him to be just a different ideologue. I don’t blame him for it; you have to believe in something. But until a candidate puts, “reestablish the objective moral order” on their platform, I can’t really say any are conservative. Cruz couldn’t do that because it would conflict with is his individualism.

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        3. If defending this republic over that republic is really important, I don’t see how Cruz cares for man and the ordering thereof.

          One important aspect does not mean others to not apply. And arguably, the formation of a government is indeed an “ordering” of man.

          All gun cases are petty to me because the issue is petty. Everyone speaks as if these amendments are some hallowed commandment when in reality they could be repealed at literally any time. When he argues to defend things of more permanence, I might be interested.

          You clearly do not understand the Constitution. It cannot be “repealed at literally any time” — the process is involved (as detailed in Article V) and your fellow progressives have not thus far been successful in doing so. In fact, you are losing ground with regard to the right to self-defense.

          When you sneer at this right as one from the 80s, you accrete your usual layers of nonsense upon a grain of truth. The protection of that right and others were incorporated into the Constitution in the 1780s, though another year or two was necessary to get the ratification done.

          Moreover, the rights you deride as “petty” are considered to be God-given rights by religious people such as Citizen Tom and natural rights deduced through reason by non-theist conservatives like me. In both cases, these rights are taken as things of permanence. Are reason and religion so foreign to your thinking?

          And every time you refer to the “objective moral order,” you have made it clear that you really mean “collective moral order” — and you contrast it with what you consider odious: individual liberty. You’ve a right to your opinion, but you are far from conservative in any reasonable definition, and you stress how much you dislike Cruz because he champions individual liberty.

          You are quite happily ensconced among the dim lights of socialist “improvers of mankind” trying to illuminate a path forward but leaving your ideology’s atrocious history of crimes against mankind in the dark.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        4. “One important aspect does not mean others to not apply. And arguably, the formation of a government is indeed an “ordering” of man.” But the very act of forming a government would, in fact, limit the individual and therefore be contradictory to the stated purposes.

          Anything that relies on the irrationality of human behavior, which anything in Art. V depends, is always possible to happen at anytime provided the persons necessary have the means, which they do. To test this, place a cookie in front of a child and see how long it takes before he eats it. To make it even more analogous, make vague references about how the cookie is not to be touched and then walk away, never mentioning it again.

          My right to self-defense is mine not because a piece of vellum says so. Evidently, this has been forgotten. I tend to take the Federalist line with regards to the BOR because I think it is idiocy to say “these are your rights.” It creates exactly the mentality you demonstrate i.e. that a piece of vellum and adherence to its words in any way increases or decreases my rights.

          Yes, the right to have weapons is considered God-given by some but it is inadequate for the simple reason it is a lie. The “right” to self-defense is the justification to preserve life. In modern times, it is become the right to cause death. This is inconsistent with the principle that the right to Life is inalienable. If the right to Life is inalienable, then nothing can take that right away. Sometimes it can be justified in instances of great need, but we would be the greatest of hypocrites if we repudiated the notion that all men are endowed with an inalienable right only to say that some people can lose it. It is irrational bordering on the idiotic.

          “And every time you refer to the “objective moral order,” you have made it clear that you really mean “collective moral order” In a certain sense, you are right. The objective moral order is collective in the sense that all men have the natural imperative to abide by it. It is funny that you repudiate it so much and then argue for it when talking about Aristotle. You should probably read the Ethics BEFORE your read the Politics again.

          I consider “individual Liberty” as you and others have defined it odious, yes. I see it as dehumanizing and inconsistent with man’s nature. Kirk thought so too. The “harm principle” that you have espoused is why we have gay marriage for God’s sake.

          Cruz champions the same liberal principles that created the very things he intends to repeal so why call him a conservative? Simply because he fits your doctrinal criteria for one. It is for this same reason why you call me a socialist. I do not fit your dogmatism so I must be the ever changing “enemy.” In reality, my “ideology” is merely the continuation of the same philosophical models that built Western philosophy, but are also the very ones that the forefathers and scions of your particular ideological movement rebelled against.

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        5. But the very act of forming a government would, in fact, limit the individual and therefore be contradictory to the stated purposes.

          No. And this is so basic to the concept of government that I am unsurprised that you have it wrong.

          A well-formed limited government maximizes individual liberty. In a land without the rule of law, you cannot really own property, as it is subject to being taken by anyone who cares to and can muster the force to do so. You cannot pursue a livelihood as you may potentially have no home to return to. You cannot even walk down the path — there would be no “streets” — without fear lest you happen to incur some local warlord’s (or thug’s) envy or irritation. A well-constructed government solves these issues by protecting life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Sooooo, utopianism? Oh my, Keith, you put your foot in it. “So long as the government is such and such, things will be good.” Don’t take my word for it, look at your own words. “A well-constructed government solves these issues by protecting life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.” So if you can just construct it the right way, everything will be fine? Genius Keith, just genius. I wouldn’t have been able to point out your hypocrisy any better than you have yourself.

          “In a land without the rule of law, you cannot really own property…” Tell that to the various tribes that lived in the Arabian peninsula during the dawn of history. They certainly owned property without rule of law. Also, you are essentially saying that private property cannot really exist without government. This is false. People establish governments to collectively protect each other’s property. I contend the right to property, stemming as it does–as do all human rights–from the right to Life, remains whether there is a government to secure it or not. Taking someone’s property is still wrong, even if there is no government, not pieces of vellum written 200 years ago to say it is.

          That is what we conservatives call an enduring moral order. I know the concept may be strange to you social contractors, but I assure you it is far older than your theories.

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        7. The way a government is constructed does indeed make a difference. It does not create a utopia — that term would apply more to the “moral order of society” you are trying to force upon us. But a government that explicitly limits what you and your kind can do to “improve” mankind would definitely make things better than they are now.

          The way in which the US Constitution was designed got fairly close to this ideal. It is not perfect; nothing can be. And it had some ambiguities and loopholes that your progressive predecessors were able to take advantage of, leading to a government that now takes in ten times the proportion of the domestic output that it did, and spends more than half of this in monies given as bribes to individuals to maintain power.

          That is exactly what you extol, the forced giving of what you mistake as “charity” and “virtue,” and it is the part that needs to be eliminated by clarifying the Constitution.

          You think that a desire to improve government is utopianism. That strikes me as odd, and it also seems that you, too, wish to change government in a way you think is an improvement. We shall see whose ideas carry the day, Madison’s or Marx’s.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        8. You listen to Levin too much. Utopia was a fictious place invented by St. Thomas More in order to talk about the ills of English society without being beheaded. Your goal post moving is noted as you try to back peddle.

          Tell me, if a government limits the advancement of a moral order for society, wouldn’t government then be advocating immorality? Seriously, @CitizenTom, do you honestly agree that government should not advance the objective moral order? Keith seems to think that is government’s purpose.

          “The way in which the US Constitution was designed got fairly close to this ideal.” Right, so your own Utopia. You made that clear. Just own it; it is easier that way.

          “And it had some ambiguities and loopholes that your progressive predecessors were able to take advantage of…” My predecessors? You mean Charles Carroll, the Irish Catholics, and Fulton Sheen? Seriously, the mental gymnastics you do in order to fit me in a box I clearly don’t fit in must tire you out. Try the No-Nothing’s argument. Just say Popery is bad for Murica and be done with it.

          “That is exactly what you extol, the forced giving of what you mistake as “charity” and “virtue,” and it is the part that needs to be eliminated by clarifying the Constitution.” Ooook, I recall quite clearly what I actually said i.e. that each person has a moral imperative to help the poor. But sure, lie away.

          “You think that a desire to improve government is utopianism.” When it mirrors exactly what you have accused me of doing i.e. utopianism, then yes, I have to call you out on blatant hypocrisy.

          “That strikes me as odd, and it also seems that you, too, wish to change government in a way you think is an improvement.” Perhaps you should study the idea of Utopia more rather than parroting what some talk radio host with less idea about the humanities than the average Harvard student.

          “We shall see whose ideas carry the day, Madison’s or Marx’s.” I prefer Maximos. “When the demons see us disdaining the things of the world in order through them not to hate men and fall away from love, they then incite slanders against us, hoping that, unable to bear the hurt, we will come to hate those who slander us.”

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        9. “In a land without the rule of law, you cannot really own property…” Tell that to the various tribes that lived in the Arabian peninsula during the dawn of history. They certainly owned property without rule of law.

          Indeed. They took it from each other and as kept it only so long as they could defend it.

          They certainly owned property without rule of law. Also, you are essentially saying that private property cannot really exist without government. This is false. People establish governments to collectively protect each other’s property.

          Why would you say “this is false” and then completely agree with me?

          One caveat: The protection of property, i.e., the rule of law, can be in theory set up and maintained by private organizations. This is one of the tenets of libertarianism. I grant them the premise, while being concerned about how well this will work in practice.

          But I certainly agree that much of what we now think of as needing government to do or manage would indeed be better in private hands, motivated by profit and restricted by the free market. The current scheme of regulating by faceless, unelected bureaucracy produces bad results, as it is motivated by power, ideology, and cashflow while being checked by almost nothing at all.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        10. I don’t agree. You said one does not have the right to property unless their is a government to secure it. I say that the right always exists and the property is privately owned no matter who is in charge. The rule of law in the Soviet Union said that the aristocrats who fled forfeited their property to the state. You would call this stealing and therefore repudiate yourself but try to defend this apparent discrepancy by claiming communism doesn’t count, which is just arbitrary opinion anyway.

          I think the specific body that manages it is irrelevant provided that it is well established that this right comes from man. Why you went off on this tangent is beyond me as it is magnificently irrelevant. You will now seek to find a way to make it relevant just so you can call me a socialist again.

          “The current scheme of regulating by faceless, unelected bureaucracy produces bad results, as it is motivated by power, ideology, and cashflow while being checked by almost nothing at all.” As opposed to being regulated by a faceless, unelected corporate bureaucracy? Oh my, the alternatives you provide look more and more similar.

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        11. In reality, my “ideology” is merely the continuation of the same philosophical models that built Western philosophy, but are also the very ones that the forefathers and scions of your particular ideological movement rebelled against.

          Yes, Karl Marx made the same point: that your notion of society was the inevitable end result of the progression of Western society. He was wrong, too.

          The “forefathers and scions” of my particular ideological movement founded this nation and framed the Constitution that you deride as a “lie.” I am quite content to support them, and our founding principles, and oppose your statist totalitarianism.

          You have the freedom here to espouse your ideas without fear of reprisal; amusingly, were your like-minded collectivists to succeed, you would be among the first to be eliminated as dangerous to the New Ordering of Man.

          But perhaps you would shut right up under the new regime, given how little you care for individual liberty. Especially if such a course of action might save your skin.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        12. “Yes, Karl Marx made the same point: that your notion of society was the inevitable end result of the progression of Western society. He was wrong, too.” How is that even remotely what I said? Now you are just blatantly making things up.

          “I am quite content to support them…” Ok, support those principles. Just don’t call them conservative.

          “…were your like-minded collectivists to succeed, you would be among the first to be eliminated as dangerous to the New Ordering of Man.” Really? Because the people who think like me don’t really go in for mass trials.

          Seriously Keith, do you have any actual responses beyond calling me a tyrannical whatchamacallit and cherry picking words to support your irrationality? It gets old after the humor dies down.

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        13. Yes, the right to have weapons is considered God-given by some but it is inadequate for the simple reason it is a lie.

          You may not like it, sport, but it has been listed in bills of rights for centuries, and is based upon rights recognized for millennia. Get used to it; it’s not a lie.

          The “right” to self-defense is the justification to preserve life. In modern times, it is become the right to cause death.

          Can you really believe that the swords and knives and clubs and arrows and muskets of earlier times were not weapons of deadly force? You’re joking, right?

          And what do you think about those who are assigned to protect the Pope carrying weapons, and sometimes using them? Justified or not?

          I expect that you are familiar with the non-aggression principle, but you have here departed from it both ways. First, you would use naked force to compel people to give to “causes” you dictate, and second, you call even the right of a person to armed self-defense a “lie.”

          This is exactly the position of tyrannical socialist statism.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        14. “and is based upon rights recognized for millennia…” More like decades. We can dispense with the rhetoric. We both know that the Enlightenment project sought to sever ties with old modes of philosophy. If you are going to be deceptive in this way, I am not sure how we can proceed. Unless you actually believe that, in which case you prove less well read than I assumed you were.

          My position is that each person has the right to life and can justifying taking another’s when their’s is in mortal peril. It does not mean each and every person has the right to shoot someone if they feel threatened or maintain weaponry capable of irrational destruction. For if the right to bear arms is to protect your right to life, what need do you have of any sort of weaponry that is not specifically geared to those ends. Personally, I have a tomahawk and a Kabar. I feel I owe it to whoever I engage to be able to fight me man to man. It is sufficient for me and where I live. Now, a rancher who must fight off bears and other predators, will likely need something more. But does he need, say, a rocket propelled grenade or an automatic weapon? Most experienced hunters consider a .30-06 rifle with a 180 grain soft-nosed bullet to be the smallest effective caliber for Kodiak brown bears. The .300 mag, .338 mag., and .375 mag. are popular and well-suited calibers. But are such weapons necessary for a man in the inner city of Chicago? Perhaps not.

          What I call a lie is the notion that the right to open carry or really to have weapons at all is not right stemming from human nature. Rather, it is a positive law provision based on the natural right to self-defense. You don’t need arms for self-defense, but men thought they were useful and added it to the Constitution.

          If you want to twist my words around, at least be honest about it. Also, you can refrain from accusing me of “using naked force” and other such nonsense you attribute to my position. I think if you spent more time actually contemplating my position, you would find it isn’t that far from your own. But then you wouldn’t be able to call me tyrannical and further your own egoism. It’s ok; i don’t judge. I just wish you were more honest.

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        15. You don’t think that mere citizens — probably “subjects” in your mind — should be allowed to have guns. You pretend this is not true by talking about certain people with special needs, but you ignore that women defending themselves against potential rapists is at least as high a cause than a man defending himself against a bear in the woods.

          You fancy yourself good with a knife. But you condemn tens of millions of women, who now own guns as “the great equalizer” for their defense, to learn knife fighting instead. How well do you think that approach would have worked in Hamburg and Cologne recently?

          You sense of time is off. When you wrote:

          “and is based upon rights recognized for millennia…” More like decades.

          you pretended to be unaware that the English Bill of Rights, one of the explicit ancestors of the Second Amendment, was a full century old at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. And it is a third of a millennium old now. Decades? You are prevaricating.

          So you flail, injecting machine guns and rocket propelled grenades into the conversation, which have already been restricted by the National Firearms Act dating back to FDR. No one was talking about that, and that is not what people carry to defend themselves. But perhaps you need something stronger to defend yourself here.

          Do you really think that the Enlightenment, re-establishing the study and understanding of classic Roman and Greek philosophers, was to “sever ties with old modes of philosophy”? Enlightenment writers developed those ideas further, and brought much worthwhile thinking into the world as they wrote exhaustively about the philosophers that preceded them.

          What you describe as “the Enlightenment” is instead the core of progressivism, an abandonment of history in order to justify establishing a new “moral order of mankind.” You like that idea. I don’t; I know its history of death and misery.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        16. “You don’t think that mere citizens — probably “subjects” in your mind — should be allowed to have guns.” Now where did I say that?

          “You fancy yourself good with a knife. But you condemn tens of millions of women, who now own guns as “the great equalizer” for their defense, to learn knife fighting instead.” Again, where did I say that? I said that my weaponry suited me. That is all.

          “you pretended to be unaware that the English Bill of Rights, one of the explicit ancestors of the Second Amendment, was a full century old at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. And it is a third of a millennium old now. Decades?” You mean the Bill of Rights of 1689 that only came about when the Protestant Parliament started a civil war to depose their rightful monarch and put up someone more religiously and ideologically akin to their own? Yeah, I know it. Seeing as the time between that bill of rights and the Declaration was about 80 years and between it and the constitution was 100 years, it was only about a generation or two old by the time America was founded. Benjamin Franklin’s father knew of a time before the English Bill of Rights just to give you some perspective. You also said that they have been recognized for millenia which implies more than one millenium. So please tell me which Pre-Socratic influenced the founding fathers? I am not prevaricating. Just lampooning the obvious hyperbole that borders on lies.

          I have not failed. My point, though hyperbolic and immensely ironical, is that prudence should dictate what firearms are necessary for a given person to defend his life and property from threats that a reasonable person could expect. That is not mass gun confiscation as you will inevitably accuse me of next, but regulating human action according to the rational principles inherent in the objective moral order. You claim to have read Aristotle but have glossed this over entirely.

          “Do you really think that the Enlightenment, re-establishing the study and understanding of classic Roman and Greek philosophers, was to “sever ties with old modes of philosophy”?” Only someone who never studied the Enlightenment would make the case you are making. If what you say is true, why would every single one repudiate deductive reasoning, hold that morals are subjective, and, in the words Kant, free oneself from the “tutelage” of the past? When the most influencial writers–Kant, Rousseau, Locke, Mill, and Descartes–all spend much of their time totally tearing down the “acien regime” of old philosophy, you have no case for you contention that they were developing the ideas further. When you develop something, you don’t throw it into a trash can and make something else.

          Yes, it IS the core of Progressivism. It is Locke, it is Kant, it is Rousseau, it is Descartes, it is Hume, it is Montesquieu, and it is Voltaire. Geez, pick up a book for God’s sake. None of these men wanted continuity with the past. Their own writings condemn them and you. My advice: don’t quit your day job because you are terrible at philosophy. You can’t bend their ideas to suit your own rhetoric.

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        17. “And every time you refer to the “objective moral order,” you have made it clear that you really mean “collective moral order” In a certain sense, you are right.

          Of course. Your statist/socialist/collectivist notions were obvious from the very beginning. You consider yourself one of the elites fit to decide what should be taken from some by force and given to others.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        18. “You consider yourself one of the elites…” And where have I said this?

          ” fit to decide what should be taken from some by force and given to others.” Or this?

          Seriously Keith, can you depart from the Rubio-like talking points?

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        19. If the right to Life is inalienable, then nothing can take that right away. Sometimes it can be justified in instances of great need…

          Make up your mind.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        20. I said that it can be justified; I never said it was just. You are proving my point that the right to self-defense has degraded to the right to kill.

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        21. I consider “individual Liberty” as you and others have defined it odious, yes.

          You make that obvious, and it is no wonder that conservatism — which focuses on preserving and protecting individual liberty — is such a hated thing to you.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        22. “which focuses on preserving and protecting individual liberty ” I disagree. That idea post-dates conservatism as you must admit. Conservatism is, as I have said before, concerned with man and his nature, not invented concepts from men in wigs.

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        23. @mastersamwise

          I think you have gone off down a rabbit hole. You say you are a Catholic. Well, each Christian, including Catholics, exists to serve God. That is, God is our master, not the church or the government. What a constitutional republic does is protect our rights to devote our life to God as we each see fit. Because God is our judge, and we are not fit to judge each other, that is appropriate. Unfortunately, you seem to have a problem with that, and frankly, that is not good.

          As to Ted Cruz. I could spent all my time defending him, but the real issue is whether we have a better choice. Do you have one? Then provide us a name. Which candidate is your true Conservative?

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        24. And I contend that a Christian AND a conservative could live perfectly well under any constitution provided they a) understand man’s nature and b) work to live according to that nature. I believe I mentioned that this ultimately will lead the conservative to God and, by that same token, would lead the Christian to conservatism.

          What I repudiate is the notion that a republic serve man any better than say a monarchy or a polity, provided the foregoing qualifier is present. In other words Kirk and I see the problem not necessarily in the actual policy, but the principles behind it. Further, if the conservative believes that there is an objective moral order by which man becomes the most man-like he can be, then what is life but a series of judgments and what is politics but judging human action? Judgment is not necessarily a bad thing when done with prudence. Unfortunately, along with throwing out the objective moral order, the virtues often associated with it. It is this rejection of the oldest and most enduring beliefs in human history, this rejection that occurred first in Enlightenment liberalism, this rejection that continues today with the scions of liberalism like Cruz that adds to the general degradation of America, not the adherence to arbitrary principles enshrined in political dogmatism.

          I would say that is not the real issue. I would say the real issue, especially for religious folks like ourselves Tom, whether choosing the lesser evil is actually good. If you think about it, it is still evil. So no candidate will be able to be good and the republic will inevitably fail so long as the foregoing qualifier remains absent.

          See, Aristotle wrote the Politics as a sort of series on man’s ability to see. When you study his natural philosophy on birds and plants and physics, you see the order of the natural world. In the collection called the Organon, Aristotle lays out the means by which we see abstract things: Logic. After that, we see human action and determine right action through Logic in the Ethics. Following the Ethics and the seeing of human action, we wonder what it is all for in Metaphysics. Once we know the world and how to see it, ourselves and how to see us, we can begin to study the interrelations of human beings at last in the Politics. Without first understanding the whole order of everything, how can you hope to order anything else? It is this knowledge of the world and of self that the conservative seeks and it is inspired by this knowledge that he seeks to order his life and the life of the polis.

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        25. @mastersamwise

          Since this thread is rather lengthy (albeit quite interesting) and bedtime is near, I have barely have enough time to read it.

          So here are a some scattered thoughts.

          Tribal societies sometimes have very strict laws, and they appoint judges. Consider ancient Israel, for example.

          I considered it ill-advised to use government to establish the moral order of a society. The laws, if they do not reflect what the people believe, must by definition be tyrannical. Consider what is happening in the United States, for example. We have such idiocies as Obamacare and same-sex marriage being forced upon us. And why is this happening? We have given our leaders powers which once given make them difficult to control. Instead of being the servants of the People, our leaders are becoming our masters. As it happens, mastersamwise, those are exactly the sort of powers you seem to think our leaders ought to have.

          During the Age of Enlightenment, they were two enlightenments. In response to the enlightenment, the United Kingdom and the American colonies decided to build upon Christian beliefs and traditions. The European continent, France in particular, decided upon a different course. They threw out Christianity and tradition and tried, disastrously, to build a society entirely based upon reason.

          In the United Kingdom and the American colonies, reform came from a People who accepted the restraints of Christianity and tradition. In France, revolutionaries, unrestrained, assumed tyrannical control. The French started killing innocents wholesale and set the European continent on the path to a bloody series of wars.

          And I contend that a Christian AND a conservative could live perfectly well under any constitution provided they a) understand man’s nature and b) work to live according to that nature. I believe I mentioned that this ultimately will lead the conservative to God and, by that same token, would lead the Christian to conservatism.

          It is true that good men could make any kind of government work. Unfortunately, good men don’t exist. Only God is good.

          Our constitutional republic is based upon an understanding of man’s nature. The American colonists, understanding something about man’s nature did their best to create a limited government designed to preserve the rights of the People. Instead of using government every time they had a problem that needed solving, Americans took it upon themselves to organize private charities, schools, clubs, and whatnot. Unfortunately, as time passed, their descendants went looking for easier solutions. Those easier solutions included educating most children in public schools. So it is that today many of us have never learned the nature of the problems our Constitution was designed to solve.

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        26. “I considered it ill-advised to use government to establish the moral order of a society.” So do I. Which is why I have argued that the moral order is prior to government and informs it. I am certain I have talked about how the Natural Law is supposed to inform the positive law and thereby ensure moral standards in the given society.

          “The laws, if they do not reflect what the people believe, must by definition be tyrannical.” I am sure many pagans living in the Kingdom of Israel thought that the laws banning pagan worship were tyrannical. But that was a different time and different circumstance. Now I would ask you: should a legislator enact a law he knows is objectively right but is unpopular?

          “As it happens, mastersamwise, those are exactly the sort of powers you seem to think our leaders ought to have.” I think the powers are irrelevant. I think the principles are the issue. A prudent man will use what he is given prudently while a rash man will make a fool of himself.

          As for the English Enlightenment, in terms of first principles, they were no different from the French. In terms of temperament, however, they were much more dissimilar.

          “Unfortunately, good men don’t exist.” Not to debate too much theology, but if God created man, and God called man very good, and you say that no man is good, then is it then possible for man to counter an act of God? The Law was written in all of us before our formation in the womb and even before the foundation of the world. It is part of us; it is in our very nature. Human nature is, coming from God, not just good, but very good. True, we are inclined to sin but then we have government of both ourselves and each other. We govern ourselves first and it is in this that the whole problem of government is found. Until we recognize ourselves and understand who we are, how can we know what do or where to go?

          Liked by 1 person

        27. @mastersamwise

          Almost forgot. I asked for your alternative to Ted Cruz. Why? All you have offered are vaguely defined highfalutin theories. We can only guess what you want in practice.

          Note that you have tried to tear down my preferred candidate (and I think Keith’s too), but you have not suggested an alternative. This strikes me as a rather chicken approach to debate.

          What is the problem? The worst that anyone can do to you here is tell you they think you are wrong, and that is already happening. I have yet to notice it much bothers you. So what is the point of beating around the bush?

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        28. To go with my theories, here are some practical steps.

          1. Dissolution of all political parties

          2. Constitutional amendment banning political parties. https://mastersamwise.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/the-disease-of-partisanship-how-party-antagonism-destroys-america/

          3. Repeal direct election of senators.

          4. Organize congressional districts by number of families rather than per capita.

          5. Change the voting age in federal elections to 26.

          6. Constitutional amendment banning abortion and defining Life as the right from which all right come.

          For now I support Rubio I guess. I haven’t given it much thought; I don’t think it really matters anyway. Tolstoy can tell you why. https://mastersamwise.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/the-war-for-peace-part-3/

          Not because he is very politically conservative but because his policies are more in line with Catholic teaching than the others. I have to believe in something and, as Kirk says, conservatism has no doctrine for me to hold on to. So I will hold onto something more sure and trust in that. The Great Fast has begun so perhaps I am less coherent from the lack of food. This may satisfy you though; it was written when I had just eaten. https://mastersamwise.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/lenten-reflections-day-1/

          Liked by 1 person

    3. The conservative, I think, does not derive his first principles from material concerns such as immigration policy or even capitalism. Both are entirely materially minded. Instead, the conservative seeks the building up of man, collectively, through the free association of civil society.

      Immigration policy and capitalism are not the sources of first principles, they are the natural result of them. Since a first principle (for all of America’s conservatives but you) is a Constitutionally limited government, and that government’s limited roles include protecting the nation and its citizens, the control of immigration naturally arises from that.

      Uncontrolled immigration harms those in the US by costing them jobs, it risks attack because we know that a portion of these immigrants seek to destroy the US, and in the current welfare state scheme the influx of immigrants forms an expensive drain on resources. Some immigrants will be producers, of course, but not enough to offset these effects.

      There is another aspect to immigration often overlooked: The purpose of it (to the Constitution and to American conservatives) is to improve and strengthen the United States. This requires that the new arrival pass tests (now ignored) to make certain that he or she will not be a burden upon American society, and that the new US citizen pass tests (now downplayed) to demonstrate assimilation as well as allegiance to and understanding of American principles. You would struggle with this.

      President Obama has downplayed assimilation, and White House-directed policy promotes to various immigrant special interest groups that assimilation is no longer a goal of US immigration policy. Before, you as a new arrival and aspiring citizen would change who you are, in a fundamental way. You can maintain cultural ties and traditions, of course, but where you used to be a Latvian or Nicaraguan or Indonesian, you would fundamentally change who you are to become an American.

      But now Obama says: “It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants.”

      You and Obama both have it very wrong.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

    4. You quoted Kirk only this far:

      “The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”–Russell Kirk.

      Kirk wrote much more than this, of course, and was an early champion of conservative political principles of limited government and free markets. But this was where you chose to stop. More than a little disingenuous, I think, since you are using this stopping point to decide that no one but you is “conservative.”

      The issue I see with modern conservatism is that its first principles are almost indistinguishable from modern liberalism. Free market verse social market, though it seem fundamentally different, stems from the same principle: salvific materialism. Voltaire ironically pointed out that people don’t kill each other over religion or politics in the market place. Whether you support a free market or a social market, it stems from the same first principle i.e. that commerce can raise man to any sort of height besides material.

      Since you don’t really like to be called a socialist, you’ve decorated your acceptance of socialist thinking by pretending that it’s the same as conservatism. So the state ownership of means of production and control of who gets what, and who eats (what you call here the “social market”), is indistinguishable from what conservatives want?

      You have one thing right, though you blow off your quote from Voltaire: A free market conducted internationally — i.e., free trade — does reduce conflicts between nations just as a local free market reduces conflicts between people. And when people aren’t killing each other and can gain from free exchange, they have an opportunity to pursue interests other than basic sustenance. They can pursue the development of virtue, and the improvement of their souls.

      Or, in the world you prefer, they can starve, or stand in lines waiting for government handouts of bread and toilet paper. This is not what you have expressly wanted, but it always results from the policies you promote.

      Conservatives do not think of individual liberty and the free market as “saviors.” But these are lofty goals, and they tend to produce, and have produced for billions around the world, better living conditions and better social conditions for mankind. That is worthwhile, and thus these objects of limited government are highly desirable … to conservatives.

      Your “social market” is exactly the opposite — state controlled in price, selection, and availability, using a cadre of masterminds deciding what should be sold and to whom. It never works, both because governments plan so very badly and because your motivations for deciding what should be sold are based on false premises. You’ve already touted Pope Francis’ proposal to limit markets to avoid what he considers violence to “Mother Earth.” (It is surprising to me that the Catholic leader would so completely buy in to a competing religion, not surprising that you would do so.)

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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      1. It is not disingenuous because Kirk thought the exact same thing.

        Where have I advocated state ownership of anything?

        You don’t seem to get the fact that I repudiate materialism, capitalistic or socialist. I know it puts me at odds with the Marxism you accuse me of and the Malthusianism you espouse, but I a perfectly willing to endure that criticism rather than man, the noblest of all creatures, be reduced to a mere money relation or to human capital.

        If the witness of the martyrs proves anything, it is that virtue and improvement of the soul can be done in any circumstance and most especially in extreme hardship. Man does not need a market to be good; he just needs to know himself.

        “Or, in the world you prefer, they can starve, or stand in lines waiting for government handouts of bread and toilet paper. This is not what you have expressly wanted, but it always results from the policies you promote.” Where have I promoted this?

        “Conservatives do not think of individual liberty and the free market as “saviors.” Yet, when asked, everything in life seems to depend on ownership of the two. Odd that you now say that they will do nothing but then say they do everything. Typically, that is called a contradiction.

        “Your “social market” is exactly the opposite — state controlled in price, selection, and availability, using a cadre of masterminds deciding what should be sold and to whom. It never works, both because governments plan so very badly and because your motivations for deciding what should be sold are based on false premises.” Where have I supported this?

        “You’ve already touted Pope Francis’ proposal to limit markets to avoid what he considers violence to “Mother Earth.” And I will until the earth is made again anew. I do not expect you to understand things such as humility, justice, and Charity. It would be, as I learned from before, useless to explain. Only Faith can show you that and that is a gift I cannot give. If you had Faith, you would have the eyes to see yourself for who you are and realize that all the Pope wants is that man, at every level beginning first with each human person, considers his nature as the guardian of all creation and act according to that nature. But it is written that only those with ears will hear and only those with eyes will see. At the end of the day Keith, I don’t believe my liberation comes from the same place you believe it does. https://mastersamwise.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/the-source-of-our-liberation/

        Liked by 1 person

    5. The issue I see with modern conservatism is that its first principles are almost indistinguishable from modern liberalism. Free market verse social market, though it seem fundamentally different, stems from the same principle: salvific materialism. Voltaire ironically pointed out that people don’t kill each other over religion or politics in the market place. Whether you support a free market or a social market, it stems from the same first principle i.e. that commerce can raise man to any sort of height besides material.

      Since you don’t really like to be called a socialist, you’ve decorated your acceptance of socialist thinking by pretending that it’s the same as conservatism. So the state ownership of means of production and control of who gets what, and who eats (what you call here the “social market”), is indistinguishable from what conservatives want?

      You have one thing right, though you blow off your quote from Voltaire: A free market conducted internationally — i.e., free trade — does reduce conflicts between nations just as a local free market reduces conflicts between people. And when people aren’t killing each other and can gain from free exchange, they have an opportunity to pursue interests other than basic sustenance. They can pursue the development of virtue, and the improvement of their souls.

      Or, in the world you prefer, they can starve, or stand in lines waiting for government handouts of bread and toilet paper. This is not what you have expressly wanted, but it always results from the policies you promote.

      Conservatives do not think of individual liberty and the free market as “saviors.” But these are lofty goals, and they tend to produce, and have produced for billions around the world, better living conditions and better social conditions for mankind. That is worthwhile, and thus these objects of limited government are highly desirable … to conservatives.

      Your “social market” is exactly the opposite — state controlled in price, selection, and availability, using a cadre of masterminds deciding what should be sold and to whom. It never works, both because governments plan so very badly and because your motivations for deciding what should be sold are based on false premises. You’ve already touted Pope Francis’ proposal to limit markets to avoid what he considers violence to “Mother Earth.” (It is surprising to me that the Catholic leader would so completely buy in to a competing religion, not surprising that you would do so.)

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is indistinguishable because both merely desire to lift men from the depths through materialism. Both, through their own methods, seek to raise man up with “stuff.”

        You make my case for me when you say that the marketplace provides peace. Wealth and the accumulation thereof brings about the change you believe is necessary for virtue to take place.

        If human history and indeed the whole study of the humanities are to be trusted, then wealth means nothing to virtue and is actually a hindrance to it. The witness of just the martyrs is that great virtue, sometimes the greatest virtue comes in times of total deprivation.

        It is because of this that government type is arbitrary and economic system is merely a choice of the whim. Whether or not the US Constitution protects my right to free speech or religion is meaningless when faced with reality: the right resides in me, not the ability or desire of the state to protect it. This is, I think, where we differ and where, ironically, you make mankind a slave to government in a general sense and the marketplace in a specific one.

        You say that rights cannot really exist without government because without rule of law, then you are subject to the whims of the strong men around you. I would answer that, even though they deprive you of everything, your rights to your divested property remains until you yourself or some power greater than man relinquishes you of it. This is what it means when I say there is an enduring moral order. There is an order whether people like it or not. We can either conform to this order that preexisted our very existence, or we can not. I prefer to as it has been around since the beginning of everything. If you prefer to trust that tooling around with government will make you that much more free than you already are inherently, then God speed on your fruitless errand.

        You further make man a slave to the market because you imply that it is through the market that man has the peace and leisure to be virtuous. Since it is man’s nature i.e. the culmination of his being, to be virtuous, then you make wealth and the accumulation thereof a prerequisite of his very being.

        I have touted His Holiness’s proposal on self-control, recognition of human dignity, and a repudiation of the failed policies of men with no more care for themselves or the fellows than they do a dog, yes, and will do so until the earth is made new again.

        If that is something that surprises you, then you neither understand socialism or the Catholic Faith. And I would suffer more than your abuse ten times over than apostatize to so banal and boring a religion as your nationalism. https://mastersamwise.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/lenten-reflections-day-4-recognize/

        Like

  3. Kieth,

    After thinking some more about your comments how to control unbalanced trade, I decided sometime in the future to write a series sometime in the future.. However, i do not want to do that now because of other priorities. A post reply comment just won’t be adequate tto answer your questions, you will also need to understand the why reasoning.

    Regards and goodwill blogging..

    Like

    1. That sounds fine. It is important to understand the effect, as no matter how noble the reasoning, the impact may still be deleterious. Milton Friedman wrote much on this topic, and it is a major focus of the Austrian school of economics.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the back and forth here and thanks again Tom for the link up. I feel very humble actually as the three of you have expanded my original post way beyond my talents and I really have nothing to add but my thanks for a very interesting discussion.

    That’s what it’s all about though in a free society eh? Debating ideas with both extreme passion and respect for your opposition. Well done gentlemen.

    Liked by 1 person

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