Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Conservative ???

Does anybody remember what conservative used to mean? I never was one, but I have some foggy remembrances. Political conservatives were all about budgeting and less government interference, that's what I remember.

Debt was a bad thing, deficits were the work of the weak of will. The idea seemed to be that spending money you don't have will come back to haunt you one day. The cost of government would become unmanageable as interest on the debt mounted and the economy overheated due to "printing money" which would lose its value by having nothing to back it.

Then there was government interference, the idea was that regulations and messing about with the Bill of Rights was a slippery slope into dictatorship. Federal regulations were seen as usurpation of the State's role or of a citizen's ability (or company) to control his destiny. Intertwined with regulatory abuse was the idea that the Bill of Rights would take hits. Any large program would encourage the government to snoop into your affairs and push you around. Churches that engaged in advocacy endangered their tax exempt status for backing Civil Rights, feminism, pacifism, etc. Government was seen as encouraging and subsidizing dissent. The Federal Education Dept was seen as usurping the role of local school boards and State standards, as well as a waste of tax dollars. The largest issue in the size of Federal programs seemed to be the increased influence in and power over ordinary citizens' lives. Big Brother was the bugaboo.

Something seems to have slipped, the entire Federal government is now in the hands of "conservatives" and the things they were railing about are now issues of national security. Big Brother now seems to be our pal and Uncle Fed definitely knows best. Listening to the Right today it appears that the Left is the weak sister defender of the old conservative values. Odd...