In a few days we will have the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. There’s no doubt the election of Mr. Trump enabled a philosophical stay of execution for America. In these past eight years, we’ve been heading down the failed road of progressive socialism — which the political, media, academic, and entertainment elites all favor — to the demise of the greater nation. Hence, we’ve seen such an apoplectic response emanating from circles failing to comprehend how the “forgotten men and women” of America rejected and repudiated that which they embrace in their posh cocktail parties and liberal socialist enclaves.
Last November’s election was a victory, but it is not the end, because, as anyone that has served in the military knows, after a successful attack there is a counter-attack forthcoming. The key to a restoration of this Constitutional Republic is to remain on the offense — proactive, not reactive — and draw the comparative analysis between the two competing philosophies of governance in America: progressive socialism and constitutional conservatism.
Last week I had the distinct pleasure and honor to sit with the incoming Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee (RSC), the caucus of conservatives, and largest caucus on Capitol Hill, Representative Mark Walker (R-NC). The amazing thing about Rep. Walker is he’s in his second term in the US House of Representatives. The other great thing about Rep. Walker is that he possesses a vision for conservatism in America. Just last week he penned an OpEd that appeared at FoxNews.com where he coined his vision as “Effective Conservatism.” I believe his objectives will produce better results than a previous mantra of “compassionate conservatism,” which became a code word for greater government spending –- something used against the administration that introduced the term.
In his piece, Rep. Walker alluded to a trifecta that will enable his vision of “effective conservatism:” the right policy, the right approach, and the right voice. I fully concur with Rep. Walker’s postulate and want to elaborate upon his assertions.
First, we must not just talk about the five fundamentals of constitutional conservatism –- limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual sovereignty, free market/enterprise economy, and strong national security. We must draw that comparison to what today’s “liberalism,” — truly, progressive socialism — represents: wealth redistribution, nationalizing of production, expansion of the welfare nanny-state, social egalitarianism, and secular humanism. From a philosophy of governance perspective, this analysis is vital to establish, but singularly does not make conservatism effective.
Second, conservatism must move away from words such as “outreach,” and embrace the idea of “policy inclusiveness.” This is not the oft overused “big tent.” This is how we evidence that conservatism, from a practical aspect is relevant to everyone in America, and not just its philosophy. We must break down the left’s “safe space” of identity politics. Conservatism for America means policies that promote and advance economic empowerment, not economic enslavement and servitude. The reason being conservatism elevates the individual, while progressive socialism organizes the collective. Conservatism believes in a safety net, while progressive socialism loves a hammock. It means carefully articulating the policy failures of progressive socialism over the past 50+ years from Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” to Barack Obama’s “fundamental transformation.”Constitutional conservatives like Rep. Walker, and others, must carry the message of how economic growth reaches every corner of America, and mainly our urban centers. How do we bring to fruition the Reagan, Kemp, and Laffer concept of “Urban Economic Empowerment Zones” to get capital reinvestment for small business entrepreneurship into the communities most deserving? What type of policies will strengthen the traditional two parent home, especially in the black community where it has fallen from almost 77%, prior to Johnson’s policies, to now 24%? What policies will give parents better educational opportunities and choices for their children — not simply relegating them to failing government schools? Interestingly, Barack Obama canceled the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, yet dispatched his kids to the prestigious Sidwell Friends School. For progressive socialism, it’s do as we say, not as we do.
What policies will create a safe environment for all Americans, and re-establishing the rule of law and order in our communities? The travesty that is Chicago must end, and sadly, it’s a cancer that’s metastasized all over our nation.Conservatism is the answer whereby progressive socialism — totally emotionally based — has only served to exacerbate these issues, and make them worse. And, in response to the failures, it becomes a game of seeking blame, not one of self-reflection. You know: it is the fault of Fox News and the Russians.
Lastly, constitutional conservatism must be presented, personally, based upon principles and how they will relate to the individual. Every person in America wants to be successful, and that should be determined by them, not by some far-away group and their vision of mass participation trophies only serving to make them feel good about giving something. This is done to the detriment of individual will and determination that ends up being the real loser.
I was born and raised in the historic inner-city Atlanta neighborhood called the Old Fourth Ward. It was there my parents, Herman Sr. and Elizabeth Thomas West — famously known as “Buck and Snooks” — were registered Democrats. They inculcated in me these foundational conservative values: faith, family, individual responsibility, advancement through education, and service to the nation. As well, my folks believed in their personal right to own firearms to protect their freedom and loved ones. Dad had a single barrel pump action shotgun, and Mom had her .38 special revolver.
Effective conservatism means engaging all America with a relevant principled message, not rooted in politics, but the policies for personal, individual growth, opportunity, and promise. It’s a message established in the values leading to each of us having the God-endowed right to pursue our happiness, and not have a group of elitists try to manipulate and promise our happiness.
Effective constitutional conservatism makes victors, regardless of where you come from. Progressive socialism makes victims based upon identity politics…That is the message to solidify the future of Conservatism in America.
[This article first appeared at Townhall.com]