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To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require, that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others for essential, particularly for military, supplies.

ideas > Conservatism is dead... courtesy of the Congressman from Ohio

Conservatism is dead... courtesy of the Congressman from Ohio
While listening to the 6/13/2007 House proceedings of Congress, I was shocked as Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio made the following statements and I quote.

"I want to end with one point. Conservatism is dead. I want to be completely clear about this. This isn't a George Bush, Madam Speaker, has screwed things up so bad we can fix it if we are just more conservative. Republican House, Republican Senate, Republican President, implemented the neoconservative foreign policy and implemented the conservative agenda without any inhibitions, without any barriers. It was all implemented.
Their tax policy, their spending policy, their foreign policy, their domestic policy, all passed the Congress and was implemented, and we have the largest gap between the wealthy and the poor since 1929. We have a foreign policy disaster that doesn't even need an explanation it is so atrocious. From the Middle East and all over the world, we are less safe today than we were just a few years ago because of this philosophy on government.
They have run down government for a decade and a half to two decades now, and when you turnaround and you need health care or you need FEMA to be able to react to a natural disaster, it doesn't work because you ran it into the ground. The philosophy doesn't work. It is not enlightened. It is not flexible. It is eight key words, and if you can't fit the whole problem of society and the complexity of society into those eight key words, then it doesn't work. And that is what we have seen happen.
We need a government that can change, that is responsive, and that adapts to the needs of our society. And our conservative friends have wrecked it. Now we have the keys to the car, and we are trying to do some things that are constructive. And we understand that they were incapable, Madam Speaker, of governing, but it doesn't mean that they should then impede us from doing it. That is what we want to do here.
Port security, border security, fire grants, police, first responders, all of these things are in this bill that our friends filibustered, and you will see our agenda implemented. You have already seen it in the increase in the minimum wage. You will see it with more community health clinics. You will see it with funding of Head Start.
You will see it with Early Start and after-school programs, safer food.
You will see it with transportation investments. You will see it from the Democratic Congress.
Their agenda has been implemented over the last 6 years without anybody to stop them, and it doesn't work, period-dot. The field mouse is fast, but the owl sees at night."

First, what exactly is conservatism and why was Rep Ryan wrong with his statements. Here's a good basic definition from Wikipedia- Conservatism is a relativistic term used to describe political philosophies that favor traditional values, where "tradition" refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. So according to Rep Ryan, having traditional values is a hopeless cause, in fact it is more than hopeless, and it is dead on arrival.

Second, Rep Ryan makes the mistake of lumping Conservatives and Republicans in the same mix. These terms are not the same, as many conservatives would attest. We tend to vote Republican, but we aren't Republican. See the death of the immigration bill due to the hard work of Conservatives and Liberals alike.

Third, if Conservatism is dead, as Rep Ryan suggests, then why would a conservative ever vote for the Democratic party again? I don't know. In fact, why would a conservative vote for a Republican again. They seem to only pay lip service to Conservatives when they want our votes.

These are just a few thoughts I had when I sat stunned listening to Rep Ryan say that one of my major moral compasses in my life was dead and that it would never rise again. Lest, Rep Ryan forget, the Democratic Party has been in control of Congress and the Presidency for a longer period of US history than any other party. It has been the party of excess as it has created the Social Security and Welfare programs under President Roosevelt and a Democratic Congress, Medicare and Medicaid under Lyndon Johnson (a Democrat) and a Democratic Congress. Currently these programs and others like it account for over half of the federal government spending and is America better off for having these programs? Do these programs encourage personal responsibility and accountability? Do they encourage people to make something out their lives? Oh, I'm sorry, these are conservative principles and they are dead? Why am I even having this conversation?

Finally, before Rep Ryan starts casting stones in the opposite direction and making claims that history, nor facts, can readily attest too, he should just be a little quieter with his rhetoric, because a Conservative with a cause (proving that conservatism isn't dead) that will vote against him (see George Bush I loss to Bill Clinton in 1992...ergo Conservatives were fed up with Republicans), and will tell his neighbors that the one of the representatives from the Democratic party seems to think that a major philosophy that this country was built on seems to be dead to him. I would think that many Americans whether they are Republican or Democrat can unite to vote against this craziness.
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