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How Conservatives Can Defeat Liberalism
Townhall.com ^ | November 16, 2012 | Linda Chavez

Posted on 11/16/2012 7:58:12 AM PST by Kaslin

Two weeks after the election, conservatives are still asking why Mitt Romney lost. That, however, is the wrong first question argues Charles R. Kesler in his new book "I am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism." We cannot fully understand Romney's defeat, implies Kelser, until we first understand why conservatives have lost the majority of policy battles over the past 100 years. Despite having won their share of Presidential elections, conservatives have not slowed the advance of the welfare state.

Political pundits have blamed Romney's defeat on everything from Hurricane Sandy to inept get-out-the vote efforts, but the problem goes deeper. If conservatives are to get back on track, says Kesler, they must look to first principles, to the political philosophy, often invisible, that ultimately drives public policy. Kesler who is the editor of the influential Claremont Review of Books, shows how Woodrow Wilson and the early twentieth century Progressives silently overturned the principles of the American Founding. Kesler then traces out the liberal policies that logically, even inevitably, followed and are a major part of the contemporary liberal agenda.

The Founders believed that man's nature had two parts and that a just government accords with both: that part of man's nature he shares with all men (his natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) and that part that is uniquely and unequally his (talents, brains, motivation and so on). It follows that just government should be limited to preserving a man's natural rights while leaving him alone to do with his unique abilities as he sees fit.

The Progressives, on the other hand, had a very different political philosophy. They thought man, by nature, was an empty vessel and that it was society, not nature, that made the man. Accordingly, society was responsible for providing mans' needs, and if some men were needy it must be because society was not doing its job. In the Progressive view, justice required that everyone had not equal opportunity but equal outcomes.

At root, then, what separates liberals from conservatives is their respective understanding of justice: The battle is between social justice and what might be called American political justice. Liberals defend their policy preferences by asserting their understanding of justice. Conservatives, on the other hand, do not respond with their own understanding of justice, thereby leaving liberals to define what, at the end of the day, is the most important determinant of policy.

Obamacare is a good example of the trap conservatives fall into as a result. According to liberals, justice demands that everyone have the same level of health care. Unfortunately, conservatives have responded not by arguing that Obamacare is unjust but that it is too expensive. But this argument is weak because it implies that if Obamacare cost less then it would be OK. In other words, by not refuting liberals on the grounds of justice, conservatives concede the premise of liberal policies.

It is true that conservatives also argue that Obamacare is unconstitutional. But on this argument conservatives are hung by their own jurisprudence, which denies that the Constitution has anything to do with justice.

Conservatives ought to aim not at costs but at the injustice of Obamacare, focusing attention on the freedoms it threatens: freedom of association, contract, free speech, religious liberties and even life. We don't yet know the full implications of Obamacare, but even before its tyrannical policy implications flower, the threats to freedom are clearly visible.

Focusing on justice, also directs attention where it belongs, to the majority, the 85-90 percent who have excellent healthcare. Then the question becomes, "Is it just to deprive the vast majority of freedom for sake of the minority?"

This need not mean the minority should be ignored. But it does mean that in assisting the disadvantaged, we must distinguish, in the spirit of the Founders, between those who lack health care through no fault of their own and those who make bad choices, a distinction that can only occur at the local level.

Kesler's book shows conservatives that they must meet liberals on the grounds of justice. That means returning to the political philosophy of the Founding. It won't undo the outcome of this election but it might put conservatives on track to win in the future.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012election; conservatives; progressives; socialjustice

1 posted on 11/16/2012 7:58:20 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
How Conservatives Can Defeat Liberalism

STEP ONE: Stop nominating liberals to run for the presidency.

2 posted on 11/16/2012 8:00:38 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle ("If you're not fiscally AND socially conservative, you're not conservative!" - Jim Robinson, 9-1-10)
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To: Kaslin
Two weeks after the election, conservatives are still asking why Mitt Romney lost.

Software.

3 posted on 11/16/2012 8:10:19 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The Slave Party: advancing indenture since 1787.)
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To: KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle

Step 2 cut the supply lines and disable production of new marxists by taking control of the schools. Don’t skip those elected university and state school board elections.

There’s a reason we bombed those German factories in WWII.


4 posted on 11/16/2012 8:10:33 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Kaslin

Liberals win time and time again because they have no sense of propriety or dignity. Those seem to be an attribute found almost exclusively on the conservative side.

This leads to outrages lies and criminal methods coming from the left in attacking the right.

Things I’ve seen in the MSM headlines in the past:

GOP seeks to starve Seniors
GOP war on women
Conservatives have lower IQ
blah blah blah ....


5 posted on 11/16/2012 8:16:24 AM PST by Usagi_yo
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To: Kaslin

Exactly right. However, I despair for the future because these ideas will never be taught in government run schools, and people are too gutless to get their kids out.


6 posted on 11/16/2012 8:17:24 AM PST by ecomcon
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To: ecomcon
people are too gutless to get their kids out.

True but getting the kids out isn't enough, we still have to gain control of the schools to end the production of new marxists.
7 posted on 11/16/2012 8:22:14 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Kaslin

We keep getting wrapped up in these intellectual debates. The majority of Democrat voters are not that sophisticated. They aren’t stupid either. The Democrats have gone to the social sciences to figure out how to win in a democracy. The Republicans keep thinking it’s a political science battle. It’s not. The Republicans need to bring in some social scientists to understand human behavior. And voting is a human behavior.

“Understand yourself and understand your opponents, and in one hundred battles, you will not be defeated.”


8 posted on 11/16/2012 8:29:44 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Kaslin
Its not how can conservatives beat Liberals but more like how can conservatives beat hard core communists with black and Muslim training. That is King Obama and his empire. Add half of our population that are so ignorant they would be luck to find the pot.
9 posted on 11/16/2012 8:32:00 AM PST by Logical me
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To: cripplecreek

Schools? Welfare babies are born at a much faster rate than those born to working class two parent families. These Single Mothers by Their Own Choosing and their offspring as they grow up are the biggest piece of the Dem voting base. The “funny” part is that we taxpaying conservatives are the ones who finance the Welfare crowds shoddy lifestyles for their entire lifetimes...generation after generation after generation just so they can vote Dem election after election. Talk about a terrible return on our money. This situation needs addressing first as it feeds the school problem.


10 posted on 11/16/2012 8:32:26 AM PST by An American In Dairyland
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To: An American In Dairyland

You can’t do both?


11 posted on 11/16/2012 8:35:56 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Kaslin
How Conservatives Can Defeat Liberalism

Re-purchase the education, information, and media channels that they sold for 30 pieces of silver would be a start.

Then wait 30 years for the effect to be felt.

12 posted on 11/16/2012 8:38:52 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Elsie

We also have to admit that while we fight the convenient battles, they’re fighting every battle.


13 posted on 11/16/2012 8:41:27 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: ecomcon

The problem is Conservatism isn’t the rule. It is the exception to the rule.

Look at history. Since the beginning of time, man has sought to dominate others. When other philosophies abut life and liberty came into play, those visionaries were more often then not slaughtered with their followers. Even the Catholic church participated in this with the Inquisition.

Conservatism is its truest form is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which of course doesn’t sit well with statists and ideologues that believe in the government giving man whatever they feel like giving and taking away from him.

We are a barbaric species. Conservatism takes that barbarism and puts a set of rules around it which removes the domination of one man by another. It empowers the individual and not the state.

How do we get back to our principles, values and morals? Simple, we become what we abhor. We fight fire with fire and not with a clogged up garden hose. We out Alinsky Alinsky. We play by Reagan’s rules and not the lefts. When we put up a candidate like Palin, we treat those that would take her out the same way they took out Palin.

We take back what is ours and use any means necessary to do it. Tony Robbins said it best and I am paraphrasing here, “ in order to get bad to the middle, you have to take one extreme and go completely in the other direction.” We have seen it with our political system. The Democrats went full Socialist. And we are putting up Wishy washy liberals posing as Conservatives at best.


14 posted on 11/16/2012 8:43:27 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (George W. Bush is the Emmanuel Goldsten of the modern era.)
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To: ecomcon

The problem is Conservatism isn’t the rule. It is the exception to the rule.

Look at history. Since the beginning of time, man has sought to dominate others. When other philosophies abut life and liberty came into play, those visionaries were more often then not slaughtered with their followers. Even the Catholic church participated in this with the Inquisition.

Conservatism is its truest form is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which of course doesn’t sit well with statists and ideologues that believe in the government giving man whatever they feel like giving and taking away from him.

We are a barbaric species. Conservatism takes that barbarism and puts a set of rules around it which removes the domination of one man by another. It empowers the individual and not the state.

How do we get back to our principles, values and morals? Simple, we become what we abhor. We fight fire with fire and not with a clogged up garden hose. We out Alinsky Alinsky. We play by Reagan’s rules and not the lefts. When we put up a candidate like Palin, we treat those that would take her out the same way they took out Palin.

We take back what is ours and use any means necessary to do it. Tony Robbins said it best and I am paraphrasing here, “ in order to get back to the middle, you have to take one extreme and go completely in the other direction.” We have seen it with our political system. The Democrats went full Socialist. And we are putting up Wishy washy liberals posing as Conservatives at best.


15 posted on 11/16/2012 8:43:51 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (George W. Bush is the Emmanuel Goldsten of the modern era.)
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To: Kaslin
". . .why conservatives have lost the majority of policy battles over the past 100 years.

Because they compromise their principles so the MSM/Democrats won't say bad things about them.

(Hey Pubs--Get a clue--The MSM/DIMS are going to trash you no matter what, so stop pi$$ing off your base.)

16 posted on 11/16/2012 8:50:29 AM PST by Arm_Bears (The MSM lies about liberals, and it lies about conservatives.)
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To: cripplecreek
Step 3) go Galt. Withdraw your valuable production - capital and services - from the inputs that allow the bankrupt statists to continue limping along and pilfering ever growing fruits of your labor that they are unable to produce on their own.

Hostess declared this morning they they must liquidate, eliminating 18,000 jobs, because the Baker's Union, about 5,000 members, went on strike over a court ordered reduction in pay. Even the Teamsters begged them to get back to work.

While painful, both the Teamsters and the Baker's Union will lose valuable $ inputs and clout. Another nail in their coffins, and they did the hammering...

17 posted on 11/16/2012 9:33:39 AM PST by uncommonsense (Conservatives believe what they see; Liberals see what they believe.)
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To: cripplecreek
Two weeks after the election, conservatives are still asking why Mitt Romney lost.

Incorrect. REPUBLICANS are still asking themselves why Mitt Romney lost.

CONSERVATIVES, on the other hand, already know why Mitt Romney lost.

Chavez's demonstrable confusion, on this baseline point, sums up the nature of the problem in perfect miniature.

18 posted on 11/16/2012 1:29:37 PM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle ("If you're not fiscally AND socially conservative, you're not conservative!" - Jim Robinson, 9-1-10)
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To: cripplecreek
We also have to admit that while we fight the convenient battles, they’re fighting every battle.

We also need to realize that we put up well-dressed pretty people couched in multisyllabic words nobody understands who are only qualified to be negotiators and statesmen.

They put up Conan the Barbarian.

You can't negotiate with a barbarian. All you can do is meet them on the field of battle and slug it out.

19 posted on 11/16/2012 1:36:09 PM PST by superloser
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To: Kaslin

*


20 posted on 11/16/2012 1:39:48 PM PST by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
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To: Kaslin

We cannot defeat Santa Clause, the Democrat party of freebies.

This isn’t about ideology. This is about free money.


21 posted on 11/16/2012 1:42:34 PM PST by CodeToad (Padme: "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.")
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To: KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle

Chavez is a fool. She plays identity politics because she’s what? 1/4th “hispanic”?


22 posted on 11/16/2012 1:53:05 PM PST by Fledermaus (The Republic is Dead: Collapse the system. Let the Dems destroy the economy!)
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To: KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
Step Two: Take back the education system, or forget step one.
23 posted on 11/16/2012 5:41:52 PM PST by Baynative
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