Terms like conservative have very little meaning in modern parlance. Generally, conservative is taken by people to mean that you support the Republican party’s platform. However, it can also mean you support the Libertarian party’s platform. For me, it means that my ideals align with wanting incremental change, limited centralized power, and a stable society.
It’s interesting to me that the Republican party’s platform currently pushes for radical change, large centralized power, and a society that is unstable in the United States and abroad.
Historically, conservatives have wanted change to be incremental so that society would not be disrupted. The current desire of the Republican party is to have radical change where many things are shifted all at once. Instead of treating society as a grand experiment I believe we should be shifting gradually and waiting to see the impacts of our changes.
Government moving quickly often can go in the wrong direction. You want to model any radical change after other societies that are similar to yours. Interestingly, the Republican rhetoric doesn’t resemble any country in existence to my knowledge. It most closely mirrors what we had at the founding of our country, when the states did not have a shared fiscal destiny and shared responsibility and no services were provided at the federal level.
Changing many things at once in a sweeping way means we can never know worked and what didn’t. If there is a major recession after Republican policies are implemented, is that a repudiation of all the policies? Was that recession going to happen anyways? We can never know as things don’t happen in a bubble.
Large Centralized Power
Laws at the federal level impact the state governments, county governments, and city governments below them. Further, federal policies can pool power into corporations that can asset undue influence on markets and consumers.
Is it okay that the federal government can tell a state what to do with its laws? I would say in most cases it is not.
Is it okay that the state government can tell the cities what to do? I would say, again, in most cases that it is not. It should be for the local community to decide if it makes sense to have a higher minimum wage (currently illegal in North Carolina, where I live) or for residents to pay a higher tax to fund projects.
As for companies, it makes no sense for policies to favor large companies that are already established. Examples of this include the FCC and net neutrality. Without net neutrality, incumbent providers have a large advantage. This comes from being able to treat services they own differently or charge more for other companies to have traffic delivered to the incumbent’s customers. It also comes in with municipal broadband being illegal as it is here in North Carolina. Gigabit Ethernet is the standard that all deployments should be trying to meet. We have that here in Durham where I live. Other places may never get it, and it is illegal for communities to finance providing it themselves due to state law.
It’s important for society to be stable. This applies to local communities and countries abroad. Wars in other countries or fought between other countries have impacts on the world economy that can damage our ability to do business there. Local communities that are non-functional result in fewer people being able to work or make purchases.
It’s amazing to think that stability isn’t a focus of conservatives. How does it benefit me to have riots occurring in the inner city? How does theft help me? Bringing everyone into society to have a reason to be a part of society is essential. That applies to those disenfranchised by Republican policies and those disenfranchised by Democratic policies. It serves no purpose to not encourage society to be as stable as possible.
The thing that is truly amazing to me is that there is no financial cost to a lot of stability initiatives. It involves being a leader, inspiring, and speaking to those who are in a negative situation. Believing things will be okay instead of always getting worse is important. Being given the desire to fix things as a community and help others through being a good example used to be how we made it through everything as a society. I have trouble seeing how that exists any more.
Reports in North Carolina are that there are not enough volunteers to help those hurt by hurricane Matthew and donations don’t make up the difference. Many factors contribute to this (I know from personal experience) but it is definitely something that we should explore as having solutions there would create a more stable society.
Conservative used to mean something that it no longer does. Being a good person, Christian, or neighbor no longer motivates people to treat the commons in society as a thing of value. We want to tear down institutions, trust in central powers to have our best interests, and do nothing to help those who are harmed or unable to take care of themselves.
I want a society that functions in a sustainable and equitable way. I am a conservative based on my reasoning for why that is. Somehow, my conservative ideals will have many label me an extremist liberal. Something is lost along the way when we force labels onto people. Finding out what that is may be the first step to stopping that division from opening up further.