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Conservatism for Dummies (in the Left-Wing Media) --- 2006 Edition

As we enter the final sprint for Election 2006, I thought I'd provide a public service by providing the Left-Wing Media (LWM) with handy little factoids which will help them keep from looking like the complete airheads we've come to expect the Aqua Net Martyr's Brigade to be.

Unlike the teleprompter, it is in no particular order.

1. Hypocrisy, which typically involves saying the right thing but doing the wrong thing, is not as great a sin as doing the wrong thing and saying it is the right thing.

2. Acts are more significant than intentions, so when a Republican congressman expresses a desire to have sex with pages, but does not actually do so, it should be considered less significant than when a Democrat congressman actually did have sex with pages.

3. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction is less significant than congressman Patrick Kennedy's drug addiction as Limbaugh does not hold a federal office under the public trust.

4. Valid opinion polling requires representative samples of the voting population. If you want to predict how America will vote on Election Day, it might be a good idea to poll people in suburbs and rural areas too.

5. It is generally a good idea to ask pollsters what the non-response rate was. The higher the nonresponse rate, the more likely the sample which was achieved consisted of shut-ins eager to talk to somebody. Unless you're interested in the busybody vote, this probably means the poll results are trash.

6. If a poll result is considered to be "within the margin of error", that means that no one is leading or trailing insofar as the poll results are concerned. Showing graphics with one candidate leading in a large font and the margin-of-error in a tiny font is misleading.

7. The only issue Christians fully agree on is that Jesus Christ was the son of God, died for our sins, and was resurrected to sit at the right hand of the Father. This says next to nothing about the War in Iraq, so presuming all Christians should be pro- or anti- on that or any other political issue is very dangerous.

8. There are many, many different Christian denominations. It would be worth your time learning the major theological distinctions between them before attempting to intuit their stand on political issues of the day. Fortunately, you can walk into any church and find someone to help you sort this out, perhaps even someone willing to be quoted. You can find churches in the phone book.

9. Not surprisingly, the same holds true for Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

10. The major difference between the religious and the secular is not intellect. It is spiritual devotion. Pope Benedict XVI is quite likely more intelligent than Michael Moore, if the two men's writings and speeches are any indication.

11. The "wall of separation" between church and state does not exist in the Constitution nor in the Declaration of Independence. This may surprise you, but the phrase actually appeared in a letter Jefferson wrote. That letter is not usually considered to have legal authority over Americans, any more than my letter urging a "wall of separation" between myself and Barbra Streisand resulted in the brick entombment of the latter.

12. The Republican Party does not hate black people. You might be surprised to learn that the party was actually founded on the principle of freeing black people enslaved by Democrats. We even fought a war over the matter, so deeply held were Republican and Democrat feelings.

13. Conservatives believe in limited government. This is not synonymous with anarchy.

14. Conservatives do not hate the poor. We believe in charitable giving. We simply believe that said charity should come from one's own pocket, not one's neighbors.

15. Conservatives believe in lower taxes because it simply makes no sense to forcibly remove a man's wages from him in order to give it to some other man who hasn't earned it, especially when doing so requires an elaborate and expensive bureaucracy. This may admittedly stem from the Republican Party's aversion to slavery.

16. Conservatives believe in a strong national defense, also due to our aversion to slavery.

17. Conservatives and Republicans are treated as synonymous above simply because there is no longer any such creature as a conservative Democrat.

18. There are in fact a number of liberal Republicans. Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Lincoln Chafee are great examples. You can tell a liberal Republican just by looking at them. If a Republican in Congress is a guest on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, or PBS, they are a liberal Republican.

19. Conservative Republicans tend to have telephones and e-mail addresses. They are typically even easier to find in Congress than liberal Republicans, and they usually have plenty of time for media appearances, given the LWM isn't usually beating down their doors. Why not contact some?

20. Conservatives don't hate Mexicans. Conservative opposition to illegal immigration stems largely from conservative opposition to "illegal" anything. We tend to believe laws should be enforced, especially laws dealing with national security such as border enforcement.

21. Conservatives don't hate homosexuals. Conservatives believe marriage is reserved for a man and woman as the chief purpose of marriage is to produce offspring. This stems in part from religious but also from biological and cultural concerns. It is quite possible to be a gay or lesbian Republican, a gay or lesbian conservative, or both. There are in fact significant numbers of each, which is why Democrats keep threatening to "out" them. You may want to ask Democrats why the right to privacy they claim to be found in the Constitution does not apply to gay Republicans. You may also wonder why this loathsome Democrat tactic never works. Then reread the first sentence of this paragraph.

22. Conservatives are not isolationists. In fact, if you compare the foreign policies of Republican administrations versus Democrat ones, you'll discover that, if anything, Republicans have been more active abroad, at least since World War II. Eisenhower intervened in Korea. Nixon waged the Vietnam War at least as aggressively as LBJ (I'd argue more aggressively), Reagan intervened in Grenada, Lebanon, and Libya (not to mention winning the Cold War outright), George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War, and George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. These are not isolationist acts.

23. Conservatives believe in free markets. Unfettered markets are the hallmark of freedom. Tariffs, regulations, and taxes erode the market's ability to set price, which is the absolute key to successful market outcomes, as anyone who has used eBay will tell you. Government intervention in markets always results in worse consequences than letting free markets reign. This is because individual government bureaucrats are much stupider and slower than hordes of buyers and sellers collectively are. If you believe this is not the case, go down to your local DMV and hang around awhile. Count how many people walk out with a license or registration in an hour. Then go to your supermarket and do the same. I wonder why so many people emerge so quickly from the supermarket with goods gathered together from all over the world while so few emerge from the former with a lousy piece of paper in their hand? Free markets work; government markets do not.

24. Conservatives do not want to preserve the status quo. This seems like a hard one for Columbia Journalism School graduates to understand, as they seem to be indoctrinated with a formula that goes something like this: progressives (liberals) want to move forward, while conservatives want to go backward. This was a very Marxist view of history in the last century; now it's simply odd. Conservatives have proposed many novel new ideas over the past couple of decades of their ascendancy---the flat tax, school choice, supply side economics, missile defense, term limits, etc. What conservatives want to preserve are the core principles of America's founding fathers---limited government, free markets, strong national defense. That's what we're conserving.

25. Conservatives are not the political fringe in America. Americans routinely self-identify as conservatives more than they do as liberals or progressives. Republican presidential candidates openly run as conservatives, even when they're not.

26. "Neo-conservatives" are specifically Reagan Democrats who joined the Republican Party in 1980. They were in large measure Jewish, but the term is not synonymous with "Jewish Republican". Their interests largely lay in foreign policy---they were staunch anti-Communists. George W. Bush is not a neo-con by any measure; he is a center-right Republican, slightly more conservative than his father, less conservative than Ronald Reagan.

27. Karl Rove is a political advisor to George W. Bush. He does not "run" the Republican Party nor the conservative movement in any form or fashion. There is no conservative Pope.

28. Ditto Rush Limbaugh.

29. Pat Buchanan, Michael Savage, Alan Keyes, Pat Robertson, and a host of others holding down the regular LWM rotation whenever you need a "conservative" to smear conservatives are on the fringe of the conservative movement. They do not speak for American conservatives nor should they claim to do so. There is little evidence they retain widespread support among movement or party.

30. The Republican Party does not pass out talking points which conservative talk show hosts and bloggers faithfully regurgitate. The GOP leadership is not smart enough to do so, and conservatives wouldn't listen to them if they did in any case. Conservatives dislike collectives and their "smelly little orthodoxies", to quote Orwell, who knew something about such things.

31. Conservatives believe the world changed on September 11, 2001.

32. And thanks to the United States armed forces and our allies, the world has changed for the better since that date.

33. Which brings us to the biggest difference between conservatives and liberals: conservatives believe that America is a force of unalloyed good in a darkening world. Far better for the world to become more like America than for America to become more like the rest of the world. Conservatives don't cringe at such sentiments.


Blogger Cullen said...


7:42 PM  
Anonymous Kory said...

You make it seem almost like conservatives are cool or something.

The only thing I'm not sure about agreeing with you completely on is whether the world has improved significantly since 9/11.

We portray that it has, but as for the reality -- I don't know. Some of the specific people responsible for the attacks are in a lot worse shape, but the fact of us opposing them (which of course we must do) has granted them a certain legitimacy that's made their causes more popular, not less.

We're still in a similar stage of fighting these mujahideen as America was in fighting the commies back in... I dunno, 1953 or so. And similar to the cold war, our fight against the new bad guys won't be marked by constant upward progress... we're making and will continue to make mistakes.

6:07 AM  

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