I’m not real sure the exact date of the change, but one thing is very different about me today as compared to five years ago; I’m not the same conservative I was back then. Five years ago I supported acts, agencies, military endeavors, and spending I felt strengthened America’s standing in the world and promoted our form of representative style of government. I didn’t care what method was used or how the task was complete. I was a staunch supporter of the actions of the Bush administration no matter what liberties were sacrificed to ensure the continued advancement of the American model and our way of life. These are the ideals I believed were representative of the conservative view point or at least my understanding conservatism and I willingly fell in line behind them. It wasn’t that I was a mindless tool; I just didn’t have the necessary tools to understand the difference between a form of conservatism that supported the above ideas and the one I embrace today. It wasn’t until towards the end of the Bush administration when I started to question my own position on the issues.
It was the out of control spending of the Bush administration that really started me down the path towards reviewing my positions on a number of conservative issues; however it was his comments in Dec 2008 that really opened my eyes as to what I had supported for the previous 8 years. It was then when an outgoing President Bush stated in an interview with CNN the following, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” He further went on to say, that the reason he abandoned free-market principles was to make sure the economy didn’t collapse. This in my mind was like saying that 1+1= 3, it just wasn’t adding up. So I decided to take off my so-called conservative goggles and examine the acts of his administration over the past eight years with a critical eye. The list of his big government solutions is extensive. The No Child Left Behind act, The Patriot Act, TARP, the Medicare Prescription Drug Act, and The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 which allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder,”; all big government programs that infringe on the liberties of Americans. These are the programs I and many other so call conservatives backed with little or no complaint. I began to question what the modern day version of conservatism really stood for and if I was subscribing to some bastardized version of it. I needed to know what conservatism was about and I felt the best source could be found in our own history.
I spent a great deal of money buying all kinds of books that pertained to the founders and their debates, conservatism, and the constitution. Books written by leading conservative intellectuals and various other historians; however the two books that really moved me were Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny and the 5,000 Year Leap. Both books were very easy to read and opened my eyes to just how far we had steered off course as a people and republic. We were embracing the failed political and economic systems Europe and moving away from what made America great; individual liberty and our free-market system. Instead we were moving closer and closer to a system of government and economic activity that relied on central planning and governmental controls. This is not what made our nation great and President Bush with an “R” in front of his name had gently steered us down this path for 8 years. Five years ago I would have blindly supported a Mitt Romney as my candidate for President, not because he was the most conservative, but because he would have the chance to beat the Democrat holding office. Not so much anymore. I believe the solutions to our problems can be found in the past and that past encompasses principles that promote individual liberties which lead to unfettered free-markets. Five years ago Ron Paul’s foreign policy position would have been viewed by me as irresponsible and naïve. I would have rejected him as a viable candidate in a second and moved on to the next big government, establishment type Republican. Today I am much different. I cannot simply reject his position anymore because he is promoting the one thing that can save us…liberty. I now believe I have a better grasp on what true conservatism is about. It’s about limited government, liberty, the constitution, and preserving the institutions that promote these ideals. It’s not about a prescription drug plan or an act that provides us a bit more security while at the same time sacrificing our liberties. It’s not about repealing ObamaCare and replacing with another big government program. It’s about liberty. Without liberty we are nothing. We are slaves to a system that will manage every aspect of our lives. Without liberty we are no longer will be master of our own destiny. Without liberty we lose the things that made America great. Without liberty we are nothing. This is something we conservatives need to always keep in the forefront when choosing who we believe will best advance the above ideals no matter who you support in the Republican primaries. Saving America will require us to get back what we have lost…liberty.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!