We need to reclaim the word conservatism.

As Rand Paul contemplates his candidacy he must contend with the growing conviction among Republican party primary voters that we must make war – with everyone. Rand is a libertarian/isolationist who has voted at times against expanding the defenses budget. To run he must pivot, Romney style, and pretend to be someone or something he is not.

Conservative is a buzzword that has been successfully taken over by Republican entertainers and primary voters. Every time I hear the word it occurs to me that many people would see me as conservative. I dress conservatively. I have a successful monogamous marriage. I don’t swear (much) or drink. I appear to be so classically  Republican that I am approached to join racially pure golf clubs and to hear racially tinged jokes. My conservative-ness means restrained or conformist. It correctly implies that I don’t react to taunts. I don’t show my hand and I have no desire to engage in bar room brawls.

Here’s the definition from Dictionary.com:

adjective
1.

disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restoretraditional ones, and to limit change.
2.

cautiously moderate or purposefully low:

a conservative estimate.
3.

traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness:

conservative suit.
4.

(often initial capital letter) of or relating to the Conservative party.
5.

(initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of ConservativeJews or Conservative Judaism.
6.

having the power or tendency to conserve or preserve.
7.

Mathematics. (of a vector or vector function) having curl equal to zero; irrotational; lamellar.

In the Republican party the word means two things:

  1. A Christian
  2. Scared or angry war lovers

I am neither.

Recent polls show a rise in the desire of Republicans to invade Iraq (again), Syria (to get ISIS) and Iran (because they might have “the bomb”). They look at Obama’s recent deal to eliminate Iran’s bomb building program as utterly bizarre since they were studying war plans. To not be OK with re-invading the Middle East is to be liberal (?). They support freedom of religion laws and ten commandment carvings outside of every state courthouse.

We characterize ISIS as radical Islamists because they want war and are dying to revive their civilization back to its peak of a thousand years ago. They can never be too pious. Our war mongering radicals want to resurrect America back to its pinnacle of 60 years ago but they are not called radicals – they’re called conservatives. The word’s true meaning gives them and their ideas a respectable feel as though all the ideas were well thought out by cautious, judicious intellectuals who normally never advocate foreign invasions. They learn through prayer that Jesus supports their positions. Anyone, including Rand Paul, who doesn’t want to grow and deploy our army – everywhere, must not be a patriot – and he sure can’t be a true conservative.

I end up rooting for the libertarian, anti-government nut-bar who wants to prevent the government from testing my water, food and air. After I die from food poisoning the company that made the beef will get what it deserves – bankruptcy. I shall cheer from my grave. Unfortunately I have to look to this wing of the Republican party for thoughtful restraint with regard to foreign policy and defense spending. Rand needs the cover of the word so badly that he is already abandoning many of his beliefs. He was an atheist who mocked religion and he is an isolationist but the primaries make candidates conform to the tea party definition.

Perhaps Mr Paul can hand out dictionaries during his campaign tours.

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