Skip to comments.Bush's Ancestors (Not too bad for a 'toon' apologist)
Posted on 10/15/2005 7:20:55 PM PDT by neverdem
Ever since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, the strength of American conservatism has largely confounded historians and intellectuals. Before then, a generation of influential scholars claimed that liberalism was the core of all American political thinking and suggested that it always would be. Well into the 1970's, many observers wondered whether a Republican Party that allied itself with the conservative movement could long survive.
History has, to say the least, disproved these judgments. Yet many prominent liberals continue to see contemporary conservatism as a rhetorical smoke screen intended to deceive the masses - even as conservatives often trace their movement back no farther than William F. Buckley Jr.'s founding of National Review in 1955, fusing religious and pro-business-minded voters. Such thinking, however, slights the coherence and durability of conservative politics in America. The blend of businessmen's aversion to government regulation, down-home cultural populism and Christian moralism that sustains today's Republican Party is a venerable if loosely knit philosophy of government dating back to long before the right-wing upsurge that prepared the way for Reagan's presidency. A few pundits and political insiders have likened the current Republicans to the formidable, corporate-financed political machine behind President William McKinley at the end of the 19th century. The admiration Karl Rove has expressed for the machine strengthens the historical connection. Yet neither conservatives nor liberals have fully recognized that the Bush administration's political and ideological recipe was invented decades before McKinley by a nearly forgotten American institution: the Whig Party of the 1830's and 40's.
The Whigs arose in 1834 to oppose Andrew Jackson's anti-elitist Democratic Party. Furious at Jackson's destruction of the privately controlled, all-powerful Second Bank of the United States and his forceful claims for presidential authority, the Whigs built a national following dedicated to protecting business and reducing federal economic regulation.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
"The Juggler in Trouble" (1848), from the John-Donkey/Picture History
Zachary Taylor, Whig Party candidate for president, portrayed as a Chinese juggler.
Why revise history, when you came make it out of whole cloth.
Represents the complete failure of the Liberal pseudo Intelligence to look beyond their own ideological blinders to deal with the fundamental reality of WHO the Conservatives really are. Funny how the Dems consistently refuse to deal with reality and cling instead to their bigoted vision of who Conservatives are. You would figure after being slapped repeatedly by the Voters, the Dems would finally wake up to the fact that it's their rabidly anti-American, Neo-Socialist "you are all too stupid to live your lives without we enlighten ones to manage everything, but your sex life, for you" vision that most Americans, especially Conservatives, object too. Most of us are "Conservatives" because we are part of the "leave us the hell alone" coalition who nether want, not desire, the Political Left's "help" in living our lives.
The: 'governs least, governs best' viewpoint of Jefferson has always been my conservative rallying point.
"Wherever you find a bitter, blasphemous Atheist and an enemy of Marriage, Morality, and Social Order," The New-York Daily Tribune under Greeley charged, "there you may be certain of one vote for [the Jacksonians]."
For Jacksonians, read Democrats, and realize that some things never change!
Great post, neverdem. Very interesting little history on the ill-fated Whigs.
Bad luck aside, sectional tensions between Northern anti-slavery Whigs and Southern Whig slaveholders finally proved the party's undoing. And even at their high tide, the Whigs had to paper over conflicts between the party's hard-drinking populists and its teetotaling moralists, its moss-backed bluenoses and its more flexible officeholders and party managers. Thurlow Weed's closest political friend, the New York Whig (and later Republican) William Henry Seward, despaired in the early 1840's that "my principles are too liberal, too philanthropic, if it not be vain to say so, for my party."
The Whigs died because they were "pro-choice" on the subject of slavery. The Republicans were born out of a church-based movement to end slavery, which against all odds happened only a decade after they were born as a party.
The Whig alliance with southern Whig slaveholders which the writer mentions, had nothing to do with Republicans, since Republicans were the anti-slavery party from day one. Democrats were the slavery party until after the Civil War, and they were the Jim Crow and Ku Klux Klan party after that for a century.
Seward's remark that he was "too liberal" for the Whigs was just that, a reference to the Whigs. Not the Republicans. A lot of people left the Whigs behind, obviously, since it evaporated with the birth of the Republicans.
You have to be careful with the word "liberal" in discussing the 19th century, though, when liberal still meant liberal and did not yet mean socialist. The writer may not know that, few modern "liberals" have any idea what a liberal is.
The writers references to the "religious right" as being a burden for the Republicans ignores a historical fact. The Whigs disappeared when religious Americans could no longer abide it. When religious Americans abandon the Republican Party it will go the way of the Whigs.
The reference to "states rights" also misses the point. Republicans believe in the Constitution, and that includes the sadly atrophied 9th and 10th ammendments. The writer sees "states rights" as a racial thing, because the Democrats made it so. You can't use "states rights" as a justification to enslave people and rob them of their civil rights, as Democrats did right up until recently.
Having been denied the use of "state's rights" as a tool for beating black people, the Democrats abandoned those principles and no longer believe in them.
Republicans understand "state's rights" the way they understand the concept of co-equal branches of government, as a barrier to repression. If one branch of government oppresses you, you can appeal to another. If one level of government oppresses you, again, you can appeal to another. That is very different to the Democrat understanding of states rights, as a cover for the most awful repression this country ever saw.
"You have to be careful with the word "liberal" in discussing the 19th century, though, when liberal still meant liberal and did not yet mean socialist. The writer may not know that, few modern "liberals" have any idea what a liberal is."
I am continually annoyed that the left has hijacked the term....and yet they're too ignorant to embrace its meaning. I have never like the term "Conservative", because it is used worldwide to describe the reactionary parties, like the communists in the former Soviet republics. The Republican party is anything but reactionary, we are indeed the progressive party, questioning the status quo of govt dependance, protecting individual freedom etc.
Against that I would say two things:
Criminal Number 18F
You and me both.
Republicans are really not "conservatives" in the traditionalist sense. We are "conservative" only in the sense of adhering to the constitution, which is classic liberalism on parchment. We are God's troublemakers, we upset applecarts, overturn orthodoxies, regimes and dynasties, whole economic systems, just by breathing. Just by going about our daily affairs.
It astonishes me, but it is true, that while there are "conservative" parties in the world, there is no equivalent anywhere to the Republican Party, which is the blend of classic liberalism with moral principle. Most political parties outside the US, from right to left, would fit within our Democratic Party.
Rousseau won the argument in most of the world. Locke won his case only in America, and there only just barely. There aren't many of us, but there weren't many in Gideon's band either.
Actually, I do too. And I try to avoid calling our friends on the other side "liberals". I suppose its a pet peeve, but I hate the way the word has been mis-used. Depending on the person and the context, I prefer Democrat, or Left, or often as not "populist". Populist, I think, is often very accurate, it doesn't sound like a pejorative (although to me it is).
Populism is the default political persuasion of most people who just go about their daily affairs and don't give a lot of thought to politics. Populism finds political expression in occasionally left-leaning socialist policies, occasionally right-leaning socialist policies, but almost always "socialist" or state-centered solutions. Populists always want to know what government is going to do for me, and when something offends their sensibilities, why isn't there a law.
These are the great mass of old-line Democrats, the ones in your or my families, for example. We manage to make common cause with them occasionally, where we seldom are able to make common cause with the Insane Left.
Bill O'Reilly comes to my mind. His stance on the "assault weapons" ban was what first caught my attention. After his populism was confirmed by his stance on other issues, I lost interest. If you look at domestic politics from my individual point of view, how someone views the Second Amendment is the single issue that best predicts their political stance on other issues. I'd say it works about 90 percent of the time, IMHO.
I prefer to call them leftists, or democrats depending on which end of the extreme they lie. I actually like the term populist...but am wary because it has been hijacked throughout history by fringe neo-nazi and neo-communist type parties...time to clean up the political language.
Time for us to stop allowing the left to define the meaning of our politics and our language.
Most people on Freepers are Liberals in the traditional sense of the term. However, as political terms shift, the meaning of Liberal today is nearly a 180 from Liberal in the nineteenth century. I am a Classical Liberal.