On The Movement

Rick Moran has some useful thoughts on the conservative movement, many of which have played out in the Second Amendment community for quite some time:

What we should take away from that extraordinary exchange of ideas between two brilliant men is that it was done amicably, with great respect for each other, and the debate was carried out with the recognition that both were working toward a common goal.

I don’t see that being possible today. With the absolute refusal of the ideologues to abandon their purge of who they consider less than ideologically pure conservatives, and with the pragmatists fighting what amounts to a rear guard action to marginalize the crazies who are, if not embraced then certainly tolerated by the revanchists, there is no “common purpose” that could lead to any amicability or respect.

Indeed, the revanchists look with askance upon most attempts to criticize conservatism at all, believing that “intellectual elites” are simply playing into the hands of the enemy by taking fellow conservatives to task for their idiocy, or paranoia. Relatedly, any criticism of conservatism coming from the left is automatically dismissed – usually without even reading it – because that would be allowing your enemy to define you.

Read the whole thing.  I’m not sure I buy into the whole “Burkean” vs. “revanchist” dichotomy spoken about here.  I probably exist somewhere between the two, in that I favor dismantling a large part of the New Deal, but don’t think such a thing is likely to be achieved in a revolutionary manner, short of a total collapse of the people’s faith government (which is not out of the realm of possibility).   Conservatives can’t just stand for conserving societal structures, and institutions.  But nor can they stand for laying waste to them either, without offering a constructive vision of what they want America to be.  Whether we want like it or not, the New Deal institutions are part of our society, and unlikely to be swept away in one fell swoop.  Some of them we may never get rid of.

Conservatism has to stand for something, not just against the left, if it wants to attract enough adherents to be able to govern for long enough and effectively enough to make a difference.  You see that played out in the Second Amendment debate too, time and time again.  How often does NRA take heat for offering a solution to the anti-gun challenge of “locking up violent criminals who use guns” or “use the laws already on the books to go after criminals.”   That stuff gets pooh poohed, but by offering the public an alternative to more gun control, we’ve managed to stop it long enough to make real advances, and after Heller, we’ve managed to destroy a lot of the most draconian existing laws.

4 thoughts on “On The Movement”

  1. “Whether we want like it or not, the New Deal institutions are part of our society, and unlikely to be swept away in one fell swoop. Some of them we may never get rid of.”

    I heartily agree that we’ll be unable to get rid of them in one fell swoop, but I think that some significant progress is achievable as long as reforms small and focused, with a strong eye on fundamentals. The 2nd Amendment community has achieved it’s success though a combination of unrelenting quality scholarship that stretches back a good 25 years, combined with small achievable progress, primarily through CCW. Many states first fought for CCW, and then only later work on liberalizing CCW to something more palatable. Ohio got permits 6 years ago or so, and then two years ago, adjust some significant oversights in vehicular carry. Or look at Tennessee’s battles on guns in restaurants and closing the public access to lists of CCW holders.

    To me, long term success for conservatives stands on two principles, one is the slow re-taking of the supreme court, which is being built on some pretty solid conservative academic writing.

    So, what are the achievable reforms that can roll back the new deal? On, the topic de-jour, heath care, what I think is quite achievable (although not in the next 2 years) is:

    *Getting rid of the employer provided health insurance tax benefit (or rather, extending it to individuals).

    *Moving Medicare and Medicaid to voucher based systems.

    To pass this we will probably need to throw a few bones to the left such as legalizing drug-reimportation.

    Elsewhere, we are due for another Regan-style tax simplification which was passed by a Democratic Congress.

    I also think that Republicans should be willing to sign on to a revenue-neutral Carbon tax system, provided it is accompanied by a simplification of the energy regulatory schemes, although that is less likely, to me.

    I also think education vouchers are a winning case as well, that might be able to move things back toward a more federal system.

  2. Rick has a very good Blog Talk Radio show that is on an hour before GunNuts.

  3. Am I the only one who still loves the concepts of Federalism and Liberty? These are the alternatives but take a good pitch-man like Reagan to sell.

    Real taditional “liberals” should be on-board with both – the current crop wants the whole country so they aren’t going to play.

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