In its strictest sense, the word, “conservative” means “reluctant to change” or “resistant to change”. If it is, or ever was, the intent of the Republican Party in Minnesota or the United States to “preserve” our government as limited in scope and held within the bounds established by our federal and state constitutions, then we – and those who have gone before us – have failed at that aim in untold ways. Today we live in a post-conservative nation. The question can no longer be, “How can we preserve our nation as the Founding Fathers entrusted it to us?”
The question has necessarily become, “Have we any hope of turning back the ravages of our failure and restoring our nation to something akin to its original greatness? Have we hope of once again setting a bulwark against a federal government that has far, far transgressed its intended Constitutional limits?”
TURNING FISH SOUP INTO AN AQUARIUM
While the analogy is not original with me, it is all too fitting here: Republicans, having been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in historic numbers and having been elected as governors and sent to state legislators all across America in the recent election, have before them the nearly overwhelming task of “turning fish soup back into an aquarium.” Over the last century, the politicians from both major parties have expanded and strengthened federal control over the states until the republic we once had is barely recognizable. They have turned our republic (the aquarium) into “fish soup” incrementally while we, the citizens, busied ourselves with personal goals and desires and severely neglected our duty to vigilance toward government.
It is too late for “conservatism.” The Republicans elected must not now waiver in their duty to the citizens who have situated them in government. They must not fear to take the bold actions necessary to restore a smaller and more limited government; to restore principles of personal liberty and responsibility; to recover principles of a free market; and to require our nation to return to a sound monetary policy and stop the erosion of the dollar.
WHAT IS NEEDED?
What will be required to achieve these ends? What will it take to build the political pluralism necessary to make these difficult actions politically possible?
- The men and women leading in the political sphere must have a sound mind and be utterly filled with integrity, boldness and courage.
- To be successful, these leaders must formulate and “sell” to the citizens of our nation a positive vision of the future based on limited government, sound monetary policy, free markets and personal responsibility.
- Today’s leaders and the emerging leaders must recognize, in advance, the hazards—social, economic and political—of undertaking such a systemic transformation. They must be prepared to face the challenges head-on.
It will be essential for this new era of leadership recognize that all politics is economics, and all economics is, in the end, political. They must recognize, for example, as they revamp our governments that doing so will create entirely new groups of gainers and losers. They must be prepared to make short-term accommodations in these situations in order to gain the political pluralities necessary to make these changes viable.
For example: Suppose that these new Republican leaders see the wisdom of eliminating the U.S. Department of Education and returning education to state and local control. Further, let us suppose that doing so will result in the dis-employment of an estimated 75,000 persons in the U.S. One short-term accommodation may be a plan whereby, by seniority, those who are dis-employed from the federal government will be given a certain number of months wages (paid monthly) to allow them time to find a new job or even create a new career. Say, providing one month of continuing wages for each year of government service up to 24 months. This would still dramatically reduce the cost of government immediately while providing for those who would be seen as “losers” as a result of this action to reduce size of government.
The bottom line is: this new breed of revolutionary leadership must be able to foresee the fallout from the disruption of the political, social and economic equilibrium as they move the nation back against the tide of federalism that has overtaken it. The must be able to empathize with the common man and the effects on his or her day-to-day life.
A CLEAR CONTROLLING VISION
The thing that launched this great nation was a clear controlling vision. The United States of America was brought to birth out of a world dominated by kings and princes on the one hand, or by serfs and peasants on the other. What sustained the people through the travail of our war for independence with all its great suffering, and what caused our Founding Fathers to willingly pledge “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to the cause was a group of men who came together as one. These men established an articulated for the general citizenry a clear vision of a bright future of liberty for all and opportunity for prosperity.
Yes, it is true: we are not flawless now, and they were not flawless then. The warts of hypocrisy were present amongst those who signed the Declaration of Independence and our timeless Constitution. But, despite their personal shortcoming, the men stood together as one and—to a greater or lesser degree—succeeded in articulating a vision of the future that was positive, uplifting and inspiring to the hearts of the men and women who heard.
So today, if the Unites States is ever to make its way back from a rapidly advancing national socialism and increasingly Marxist policies to the ground of free market and limited government, it will take men and women to rise up who have such a vision and who are able to articulate it as the hope for the future of every voter in the land.
This vision must be straightforward—not fuzzy—and it must speak to the hearts of men and women in a profound way. Formulating the vision is not hard, but it will take leaders who are willing to understand and act upon proven and time-honored principles to advance it.
This new revolution in leadership will require some shock therapy to enable the nation to recover from the damage inflicted by the present administration as well as other presidents and Congresses that have held sway over the last century. Attempts at “small reforms” will inevitably lead to a vicious cycle of small, partial and overcautious actions with almost certainly more negative impact than positive results. If this is the path that is taken, then whatever political capital may have been garnered in this last election will surely be frittered away and evaporate entirely in a cesspool of economic, political and social disintegration.
This new revolutionary leadership must:
- Keep moving forward—do not stop!
- Do not set improper expectations—do not minimize, cover up or lie about the pain
- Obtain visible results from strong actions—not risking failure through half-measures, hesitation or lack of courage
During the surely trying times to come as a result of these bold actions, it will be important for the revolutionary leadership to keep in mind that human society is not, by nature, filled with class-based antagonisms—especially not antagonisms that burst forth into outright hatred. The leftists, on the other hand, thrive on class envy and class hatred. Pick any place on the spectrum of leftist ideologies—from radical communism to bleeding-heart liberalism—and one will find those who espouse, support, indulge and even make effort to stir up envy and hatred between races, genders, religions and social classes. Then, having engendered the hatred, they next leverage the class warfare for their own gain—or the gain of their ideologies.
DEALING WITH DEMAGOGUERY
In the midst of the demagoguery of the partisans across the aisle, the new revolutionary leadership must reinvigorate the clear controlling vision of our universal bright new future. The principles of limited government, free markets and sound monetary policies are what will provide the best and surest welfare, largest opportunity and most hope for happiness for all—rich or poor, black or white, of any creed or gender.
As Ronald Reagan reminded us all, “The experts tell us there are no simple answers to our difficulties. They are wrong. There are simple answers, just not easy ones.”