Saturday, January 3, 2009

Conservative Society for Action

Conservatives Uphold the Constitution

No Better Than Liberals

I just joined--with a donation--a new organization called the Conservative Society for Action. There is only one reason I did this. The site's sidebar contains quotes from none other than, and no one but, Senator Barry Goldwater.

The conservative lineage CSA claims to follow--as demonstrated by the pictures at the top of the page--are Thomas Paine; Thomas Jefferson; Robert Taft, "the first to fight 'New Deal' Socialism"; Goldwater; and Ronald Reagan, the friend and so-called heir of Goldwater's modern ideology of conservativism.

As the CSA's website makes clear, Goldwater was out to protect the Constitition, quoting him with statements such as:
"I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible"; and:
"It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden."

This is clearly not the conservatism of Washington in the Twenty-First Century. In fact, in was only by the barest standards that Reagan, the "hero" of modern conservativism, can be said to have furthered Goldwater's Originalist politics. He was the best President of the Twentieth Century, but Goldwater had the potential to be a game changer, taking the Constitution back to its originalist roots.

Stephen Flanagan of the National Defense University, founder of the CSA, has it right when he states, "Obama's win means nothing! Capital Hill is the enemy! [ ] As I said before the election, Obama won't really come through on his campaign promises because that would end up hurting HIM. [ ] But here's the REAL danger... The Liberals in this country now control 4 out of the 5 centers of political power. [ ] There's one more item on their checklist and that is the Supreme Court. By the time Obama's presidency is over, they likely will have that too. Five out of Five for the first time in American history."

But as modern conservativism goes, Nixon, not Goldwater, was the next Republican President. Leaving all Nixon's scandals aside, his disastrous (and traitorous) act of taking America off the gold standard eliminates him from rationally conservative status. He unilaterally cancelled the Breton Woods Agreements signed by 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations, which adopted the gold standard as the only objective measurement of a nation's wealth. A nation's wealth is now tied only to its "good name," its economic strength, in world market comparisons.

Gerald Ford was a popular centrist in the House of Representatives, but after becoming President when Nixon resigned, he showed none of the strength of that Goldwater lineage. Had he shown any such strengths, he probably still would have lost to Jimmy Carter. Goldwater's radical defense of liberty frightened many Americans who saw him as a hawk who would take us to war against the Communist enemy.

More than likely Goldwater's international policies of strength, and his domestic policies making each American more economically wealthy and thus independent of government charity, thereby enriching the Treasury, would have broken the economic back of the Soviets two decades before Reagan was able to accomplish the same thing when he challenged the Soviets to keep up with our military spending.

Goldwater had objective standards. Reagan had objective goals, but his policies were strictly pragmatic, lowering taxes for the purpose of reaping higher levels of revenue from smaller percentages; America grows wealthy and even lower taxes will have the effect of providing a larger budget. But Reagan also blew the budget, and he left America deeply in debt. Pragmatism is not conservatism, but when used for the purposes of strengthening both our economy and our national defenses, pragmatic Presidents become heroic.

What Ayn Rand wrote about Barry Goldwater could have been written about Reagan, (although she was angered by Reagan's religious conservatism, especially his opposition to abortion based on the idea that the separation of church and state did not apply when in reference to a fertilized egg, a zygote, or a fetus undeveloped enough to live on its own.) She wrote:

"Barry Goldwater is singularly devoid of power lust. Even his antagonists admit it with grudging respect. He is seeking, not to rule, but to liberate a country."

The CSA says its first priorities are these:
to Repeal the Community Reinvestment Act!
ACT to Impeach Barney Frank!
ACT to Defeat Card Check Legislation
ACT to Stop the Flow of U.S. Oil Dollars Going to Hostile Countries
ACT to Stop Congressional Censorship of the Broadcast Media.

To read the reasons behind each of the ACT links is to understand something of the nature of Goldwater's goals. Unfortunately I see no overall philosophical basis for each ACTion that CSA seeks to perform. They are worthy actions, necessary actions, and yes, conservative actions.

But the problem with conservativism is that it does not lay out a black-and-white philosophical strategy, as Goldwater did. Goldwater frightened many Americans because unlike any other candidate since Abraham Lincoln he had an unwavering plan.

The conservatives cannot allow themselves to appear to have the luxury of a black-and-white, unwavering plan. That it is not a luxury but absolutely necessary to break the back of the growing menace of the overpowering, power-hungry federal machine and its leaders is a fact.

"If a [politician] evades, equivocates and hides his stand under a junk-heap of random concretes, we must add up those concretes and judge him accordingly," Rand wrote. "If his stand is mixed, we must evaluate it by asking: Will he protect freedom or destroy the last of it? Will he accelerate, delay or stop the march toward statism?"

Whether or not Flanagan and his staff and the general membership of CSA can ACT with Goldwater-like reserve, and with Jefferson and Paine's committment to individual sovereignty, remains to be seen. Flanagan has the background. Now let's see if he has the vision and the rationality to take on Capital Hill with the balls that are necessary to make him an enemy of the state.

"I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom," Flanagan quotes Goldwater. But Goldwater also said, "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." Extremism of any sort is frowned upon now, because the Religious Right is extreme but so are the Islamicists. Goldwater's extremism was his downfall even in 1964.

Flanagan has the credentials to be an extremist. Let's see if he has the credentials to sell the extreme position that the Constitution must be adhered to, and sees to it, with membership help, to destroy Goldwater's idea of "necessary but un-Constitutional" legislation.

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