Conservatism is widely regarded to embody traditional values as the basis for wise government, forming the belief that looking backward is the roadmap to moving forward. Conservatives find validation in the history of ideas fostering the American Revolution, and pursue refuge in religious morality, legal precedent and above all, the Constitution. While Conservatives exist in all political parties today, most identify as Republicans. So what does it mean, in its purest form, to be a Republican?
In the United States Republicanism was established as a representative form of government whereby citizens elect leaders from among themselves for a predefined term. Unlike European models of aristocracy with a permanent ruling class, a Republican form of government is a structure that ensures and protects the principles of democracy by creatinga constitution that guarantees basic civil rights that cannot be overridden by majority rule.
Chief among these principles are the concepts that natural law defines the inalienable rights of all human beings; the consent of the governed is required in all matters of self-determination; individualism is the foundation of freedom but the family is the foundation of society; and a benevolent government exists to provide for its citizens protections that cannot be provided individually .
At this point, there is little, if any, philosophical difference between conservative and liberal values as a foundation for government. The core political differences are practical not theoretical. Like a troubled marriage, it’s always about finances–who’s spending whose money.
Contemporary Conservatives line up behind corporations as the root of national economic strength, and embrace policies that fortify their income by the creation of a favored status and through favorable taxation policy and corporate welfare in the belief that it benefits corporate investors while trickling down to working-class wage-earners as salaries that translate to consumer spending and greater GDP. It’s their idea of an economic perpetual motion machine, but really it’s a financial boomerang. Policies that support this approach to governance are myopic and the policy makers are self-aggrandizing, by favoring the very corporations they profit from, and who in turn finance their campaigns. That’s the perpetual motion machine, the one that concentrates economic and political power in the hands of corporations.
When corporate profits soar while wages are stagnant, the dollar buys less and less. It’s a simple formula for inflation. In this election year, conservative media sources have labeled it “Joe Biden’s inflation.” In the U.S. the inflation rate is currently 8%, so why is it 10% in the U.K. and throughout most of Europe and 7% in Canada? Clearly inflation is a global problem affecting all countries and every form of government equally. This is not Joe Biden’s doing.
While Biden has taken measures to combat inflation, Republicans sit on the sidelines waiting for their turn to rule pending the predicted outcome of the 2022 midterms. They have yet to propose a solution but have stated their intent is to create legislation that diminishes social security, Medicare and Medicaid programs, cutting benefits, thus guilt tripping retired seniors while diverting blame from themselves. Where’s the trickle-down in that?