Sunday, January 10, 2010

Conflating Party With Ideology

In politics, especially within the anonymous ether of the internet where namecalling and hyperbole can be bandied about without consquence, the tendency is always there to demonize the opposition and beatify the likeminded. Conservatism is evil, we are assured, because Bush ran up deficits, never met a spending bill he didn't like, and supported the Patriot Act. Conservatism is a bankrupt ideology because Congress, for much of the Bush Administration, wrote those spending bills, ignored the Constitution in the Terry Schiavo situation (for one example) and expanded the role of government at every opportunity.

Real conservatives argued that Bush and the runaway Congress were Republicans but not conservatives. Entitlement spending, ignorance of the rule of law, trading liberty for security, and expanding federal power at every turn were not conservative ideals. We said no one who did these things could honestly call themselves a conservative.

I think liberals are starting to see what we meant. Pushing through legislation without due deliberation and out of the public eye, corruption, callous disregard for our allies, meddling in as many private industries as possible, maintaining the very limits on freedom decried when enacted under a Republican administration -- I'm willing to bet no liberal would claim these things as principles of their ideology.

Just as it was wrong to conflate the Bush administration with conservatism, we shouldn't make the mistake of conflating the Obama administration with what liberalism stands for.

Expansion of government and the entitlement state, well, they have to take ownership of those.

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