A few weeks ago, I was tossed a “Follow Friday” on Twitter by Kevin Boyd. Kevin graciously tagged me as “Mr. Conservatarian”, and when I’ve gotten in a rant-ish kind of mood over on Twitter recently, I’ve been shooting out pearls of wisdom with the heading and hashtag “I am a #Conservatarian”.
The whole concept of “Conservatarian” probably could use some explanation, and I’m all too happy to oblige. And yes, I’m rather pretentiously labeling this “Volume I”, as this is a topic area that I can drop dozens of posts into, and hope to do so.
Back about four and a half years ago, right before the 2008 general election, I penned here “Why I am a Conservative,” which looking back on now is quite superficial and naïve in its closing wish for a “pure Conservative” in elections. I’ll readily admit to being completely dissatisfied and disgusted with the nominally “conservative” GOP (I’ve taken also to the term “RIRO”, for “Republican in Registration Only”, as I like being able to vote in primary elections). There’s really no home for me and my beliefs there, as the GOP tends towards corporatism and social-cultural statism. The Libertarian Party is hardly an alternative, as their entire aim seems to be sustaining themselves as a quadrennial joke rather than actually building any kind of political base that leads to electoral victory.
Hence, “Conservatarian” – a melding of “conservative” and “libertarian”. You could reverse it I suppose, although the meld as written isn’t done to indicate priority – it’s just catchier, IMO, than “Liberaservative”.
So, painting with a broad brush, here’s what being a Conservatarian means to me, in what by no means is an exhaustive list. Certainly, any of these is ready fodder for discussion and expansion in posts of their own.
- …accepts that tyranny is the normal state of human affairs. Liberty is precious, shockingly rare, and must be cherished, nurtured, and protected each and every day of our lives.
- …believes in unalienable rights that can not be abridged by anyone or any government.
- …believes the Constitution of the United States, as amended, is inviolate. It’s also meaningless without the Declaration of Independence standing behind it.
- …has a voracious appetite for learning and information, and seeks it out from a variety of sources, including those who challenge our own world views.
- …seeks to know something about as many subject areas as possible for the broadest possible viewpoint, and is just as likely to be able to explain to you the infield fly rule as the import of Wickard v. Filburn, or as the reason a nuclear power plant can’t produce a nuclear explosion.
- …knows that language and the plain meaning of words must be fought for and defended. “Politically correct” words and expressions – and corresponding “off limits” topics – are abhorrent.
- …has no loyalty to one particular political party or their candidates by default.
- …has skepticism and doubt about every political office holder until they prove otherwise, and even then they don’t let down their guard. Shorter version: primary everybody.
- …thinks all taxation is inherently opposed to liberty and private property, but financing limited government within enumerated powers is preferable to anarchy.
- …has no sacred cows when it comes to holding government accountable for its actions or inactions, but…
- …probably can think of at least one thing the government does that it shouldn’t be doing that we nonetheless approve of and wrestle with our own intellectual dishonesty on the subject. (Aside: if you’ve been a regular reader, you can guess what mine is, but I take some solace in that Ayn Rand loved it too. 😉 )
- …believes that governments at any level have no business creating “protected classes” with carve-outs from laws, regulations, or taxes in the interest of “fairness” and/or “equality”.
- …believes that the United States must be judicious in its foreign affairs, but seeks not to leave the leading role we’ve had on the world stage since 1905. (Aside: back to gaining knowledge, can likely articulate the event of 1905 that put the United States on the world stage)
- …believes that military force can be used in defense of the United States, if absolutely necessary also by preemptive action, but that any military action should be prosecuted totally with overwhelming force and violence leaving only two possible outcomes for the enemy: their unconditional surrender or complete, total, and utter annihilation. If there isn’t the political will to satisfy the latter, don’t start shooting.
- …loves voting on principle, but also knows that when faced with an electoral choice between “no-chance fringe candidate”, “potential disaster”, or “assured catastrophe” the only possible voting choice is “potential disaster”, even if the fringe candidate fits best with principle.
- …believes that government, even when it has valid powers to act, must still ask “should we” first.
- …believes that social/cultural statism as every bit as evil as social/economic statism.
- …believes that while we’re hanging on a precipice, it took decades to get here and will likely take decades to get away from the brink – but probably has also considered whether it’s time to hasten the collapse and start over.
- …knows that anything “too big to fail” is also “way too large to succeed or be sustainable.”
- …believes that humans are broken and fallible; engineering solutions to every real or perceived problem in the human condition is neither productive nor possible.
- …believes that human vanity, irrationality, and arrogance can’t be defeated, only mitigated against.
- …believes in pure capitalism and true free and unrestricted trade. When production and exchange is truly free, it necessarily follows that everybody profits because…
- …understands that value must exceed price, and price must exceed cost. If anything breaks the value > price > cost paradigm, it isn’t worth doing or having.
- …believes that compelled charity via government isn’t charitable, it’s enslavement for all around.
- …will never feel guilty about their prosperity, and strives to not envy or bemoan that of others.
- …believes that anything is possible, given the will, ingenuity, and work required to accomplish it is available.
- …can value a convert to the cause of liberty all the same as someone who claims to be “true”, “pure”, or “lifelong” in the fight. Frankly, it’s easier to know and counter the enemy if you’ve sat with them.
- …ultimately will place the individual before local government, local government before state government, state government before federal government, and the United States before the rest of the world.
Well, there’s a broad outline. Like it? Don’t like it? Have a broad point to add? Tweet me or comment! Oh, and please let me know which Conservatarian perspectives you’d like to see me write about. I have a pretty good idea what Volume II will address already though; an aspect of human vanity that clouds how people view economics. How’s that for a tease?