Funny You Ask THAT Question!
Gerald Plessner, a conservative Republican who publishes in several local LA apers - Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and Whittier Daily News - and whose website I peek in on now and then, is asking the Big Question:
American political debate needs a new word to describe right-wing political thought. "Conservative" no longer accurately describes the philosophy and objectives of the American political right.
And - wrong-wingers take note - I agree with this man, whose credentials as a True Conservative are above reproach. This liberal respects his opinions.
Our Constitution defines the separation of church and state as the cardinal principle of our Bill of Rights. The diversion of public funds to support religious programs under the rubric of "Faith Based Initiative" is not an American conservative value.
It is a politically radical idea. People who support such initiatives are not conservative.
When president Bush says he supports a constitutional amendment limiting a particular minority's rights to enjoy the benefits of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", the president cannot be called a conservative.
People who want to tilt our selection process for Federal judges, who argue that judges should be told by the legislative branch rather than their own intellect how they can interpret the Constitution, are not conservative.
They are constitutional revisionists.
Those who propose such changes, who would roll back the enlightenment that has become our greatest legacy, who would upset the balance between our branches of government, are not conservative at all.
It is time to refer to them and their ideas with a new word that better describes their nature. But what are they? And what should we call them?
I believe the right word is orthodox(not capitalized).
Right on, Mr. Plesner! I've been waiting for a True Conservative to call it as it is!
Since modern Republicanism has almost nothing in common with the original Republican party of Abraham Lincoln --- which was the liberal party of its time --- it is just inaccurate to continue calling a Republican either a conservative or an orthodox Republican.
OK - so what DO we (in civil and respectful terminology) call them? Libertarian Republicans?
We face the same problem with the influence of Libertarianism in the Republican party.
When Libertarians realized that they would never recruit an important portion of the American electorate, they became active in Republican politics, taking over its economic philosophies.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was an acolyte of Ayn Rand, founder of the Libertarian movement and almost all economically orthodox Republicans are advocates of Libertarian principles.
They see government as the enemy of the people, rather than as a force for good, one that can achieve certain objectives that cannot be properly served by private interests.
Remember - this is a True Conservative Republican talking here!
Libertarians want to give America's assets to private interests which, presumably would use them to create profit that would benefit society.
Our Founders saw an important role for government in the country they created. They saw a nation that preserved its patrimony for the benefit of all its citizens.
They did not see a Darwinian world like the one Libertarianism promotes.
Libertarians have the most radical ideas about how our society should be organized and they should not be confused with conservatives.
Those in the Republican party should be identified as orthodox Libertarians.
It is time for America to restructure its linguistic approach to politics and politicians. A new use for the word orthodox will get us started.
Works for me - what say you?
Copyrighted source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.
FAIR USE NOTICE
This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.