Why I Call Myself Conservative

As an author at Wizbang, I am sure that many of the far left would lump me together with “those conservative bastards” that are the focus of their never ending scorn using no other logic than guilt by association.  Now in truth I do call myself a conservative but I do so despite the fact that I hold many views that would indeed find me the target of those on the right, not the left.  The libertarian streak runs strong in me.

I’m not a religious person.  Some of my favorite RUSH lyrics come from the song Freewill: “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.  If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.  You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill; I will choose a path that’s clear.  I will choose freewill.”  That’s not exactly the expected viewpoint of a so-called conservative.  And actually even that quote doesn’t truly represent my views on religion.  The more honest assessment is that I don’t think about religion much at all and haven’t throughout my life.  Shocking, I am sure, to some readers here.

I could go on to list views on abortion, the war on drugs, same-sex marriage, and a variety of other topics that would clearly mark me as a man in the middle, not right-wing.  Yet if you ask me to self identify, I will readily declare that I am conservative.  Why?  There are several reasons but the one I want to focus on here is simple: rules.  Without rules, we have anarchy.  People came together to form societies based on self-preservation–it’s the basis of the fundamental social contract.  Any good society should have means by which rules can be changed but those means have to be measured.  Recently, I’ve seen way too many examples of people not understanding this basic concept.

Recently, Harry Reid triggered the nuclear option to change the Senate rules and end repeat filibusters.  No one expected him to vary from traditional Senate protocols for such an issue.  As expected, Republicans have vowed retaliation.  The only good thing that can come of this is perhaps some short-term gridlock in the Senate.  The most striking thing is that such a severe tactic was used for such a minor issue.  The precedence it sets is worrisome and reveal Reid’s actions as short-sighted.  Given the numbers advantage in the upcoming election it is very likely for the Senate to fall under Republican control.  If the Republicans use similar tactics as Reid, well, down that path lies chaos.

Also in the news of late is a radical plan by Republicans in Pennsylvania to game the way electoral votes are counted in a way to ensure that Obama cannot win the state in the upcoming election.  Hyper-partisan people tout these plans as ‘genius’ when they are anything but.  Of course this isn’t a new concept.  There’s a long-standing, and equally foolish, movement to base the presidential election on popular vote and recently California joined the insanity.  There are very good reasons the electoral college works the way it does.  While I could even entertain thinking about changes they would have to be well-justified.  Most importantly the reasoning of “because I can guarantee that my team wins” is a piss poor justification.

The examples don’t end there.  In Wisconsin, Democrats have started yet another recall push, this time against Governor Walker.  This recall madness is especially dangerous.  In American transition of power after regularly scheduled elections has happened with consistency and remarkably little violence or disruption.  Discounting elections and pushing for recalls as soon as one side wins an election damages the system.  It is akin to the ridiculous attempts to impeach presidents for minor technicalities or, in some cases, pure fantasy.  It started with Clinton; retaliation led people to suggest it for both Bush and Obama.  Enough.

The common theme here is that the people trying to game the system or change the rules have very little interest in seeing the rules improved.  What they want is an advantage for ‘their side’ without thinking about the consequences.  It is one of the main reasons I hate legislating from the bench.  By very definition lawyers on either side of a suit are trying to win for their side, by any logical argument and in many cases logic is stretched to the point of breaking.  While an effective way to win a case, it isn’t a good basis for determining a fair set of societal rules.

There will always be those that don’t like that there are rules to society, that dream of anarchy.  While you might want to call them crazy for such views don’t fall into the trap of mistaking insanity for stupidity.  Many such people are highly intelligent and motivated.  They see any discord as a possibility.  When unjust war was a big issue (you know, back when the president was a Republican) anarchists saw the opportunity and helped organize ‘peace protests’ nationally.  You can see it again with all these ‘occupy whatever’ protests.  It doesn’t matter what the goals were of the original protestors, if that was even definable.  It’s an opportunity for chaos and for some chaos is the end goal.

To ward off the inevitable comments, I’m not for a police state.  Far from it–I am a strong supporter of personal liberty and personal responsibility.  But all these recent signs I see of people willing to do anything to win one for their team and the consequences be damned is alarming.  And with the election season just heating up, I fear how far it will all go.

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