[Note: This entry is the second of several planned for this week from liberal, progressive, Democratic, etc. members of the Wizbang comment community and readership in response to a call for entries last week. The reasoning behind the experiment is explained in the call for entries posts. Posts titles will be proceeded with the text, “Wizbang Blue:” to highlight that they are not posts from current Wizbang authors.
By: Black Cat
Once upon a time, not really that long ago, the conservatism was linked with the principle smaller, less intrusive government. Conservatism trusted people to make their own choices. This was the conservatism of Barry Goldwater. But then something went badly wrong. Certain partisans found out that some religious groups were lusting after political power, and that lust led to the illegitimate offspring which still bears the name of conservatism but follows few of its original ideals.
What would conservatives think of the idea that Washington should be able to decide which unions churches should be allowed to consecrate? But the religious right believes that government is better equipped to endorse some marriages and forbid others than either the church or the individuals involved. Would conservatives approve of the idea that government must be consulted in matters which should be strictly the business of doctors and their patients. The allegedly-conservative senate majority leader “diagnosed” a comatose woman based on little more than a few videotapes and decided that nothing short of the Hammer of Congress would suffice to impose their choice of treatment for this woman despite the pleas of the persons who were actually involved with the case. And what would conservatives say when millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to regulate the sex lives of American citizens up to the age of 29 – the ones who are supposed to be “consenting adults?”
And then there are other “conservatives” who believe that speech should only be free so far as it doesn’t offend their sensibilities or their personal beliefs. They want to amend the constitution to prohibit the desecration of the flag, but only the American flag – people burning other flags such as that of the United Nations or some country they don’t like are just fine. Or maybe a politician is elected by the citizens, but he’s the wrong religion and wishes to hold the wrong holy book in his left hand while he raises his right to take the oath of office. It doesn’t matter to these people that the constitution is quite clear that no religious test to hold office shall exist, this person doesn’t deserve to share a room with the upstanding citizens who believe that everyone should think and believe exactly as they do.
And so conservatism has moved from being the ideal of those who prize liberty above political dogma to those who would use the power of the federal government to make all of us think and act alike. And sadly for the memory of the man who believe that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” it’s left to those who now call themselves liberals to carry on his cause.