In the chaotic world of political rhetoric, it is not at all surprising to find that some of our most reliable labels can lose their meaning. The well-known banners that for decades automatically defined two opposing camps, Conservative and Liberal have lost any noteworthy distinction.
Back when Thomas Jefferson was first elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1766, people who opposed British abuses like the Stamp Act, the Townsend Act and the Quartering Act, were considered “liberals.” On the other hand, the “conservatives” of the era were those who supported the supremacy of Parliament and the Crown.
In a 1768 letter Benjamin Franklin described Royal Colonial Secretary Lord Hillsborough as “proud, supercilious, extremely conceited...and inimical to all who dare to tell him disagreeable truths.” Such an assessment could easily be applied to any number of government officials today.
In 1776, the notion that governments’ legitimacy was derived from the sanction of the governed and reverence for individual rights and was extremely liberal. At every other time and in every other place throughout history, government authority issued from the use of force. But a group of liberals in the American colonies saw the world as it could be and asked, "why not?".
Today, the United States government retains the rituals and language of the original American Covenant, but has long abandoned it in practice. The persistant trend of the last century has been a regressive shift away from the individualism of the Constitutional Republic toward the authoritarian Statism of Democratic-Socialism.
This trend has caused exponential expansion of government intervention and costs, diminished individual liberties and the dampening of the once-great American spirit into ambivalent dependency. The Statist political ideology has expanded the role of government well beyond what the founders deemed appropriate. One indicator of this is revealed in an article by Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute. He observes that, “Americans this year will spend more on taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined.” Meanwhile, some estimates state that as much as 40% of the US population is dependent upon some form of government aid or subsidy. These two trends represent a downward economic cycle that cannot help but lead to economic ruin as the dependent class grows larger than the productive class.
In the last few years, Congress has shattered Constitutional limits and dismissed explicit public objections in order to nationalize major swaths of the US economy and pass laws which violate Constitutional safeguards of individual rights. Presidents routinely exceed their constitutional powers; most recently Barack Obama has ignored multiple court rulings forbidding him to shut down the entire offshore oil industry. His actions not only violate his oath of office and the property rights of countless business owners, but push millions of already struggling Americans closer to the brink of economic destruction.
These are but a few examples of current violations we suffer. They are strikingly similar to the abuses which once compelled 56 honest men to sign the Declaration of Independence; dedicating their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the liberal dream of secure individual sovereignty.
Although the dominant oligarchy in Washington is considered “liberal,” they are not. They are all conservatives. In a practical sense, the labels Liberal and Conservative have more to do with entrenched Statist ideologies and their libertarian opposition. Historically, when a particular ideology enjoys a period of predominance, it becomes ingrained in the government apparatus. This process always results in increasing legal and bureaucratic interventions that allow the oligarchy to solidify its hold on power. As the government increases its power, the inverse reduction of individual liberties, self-determination, and economic power occur.
This is the point at which we now find ourselves. The Establishment rules with its predominantly Statist ideology, its bureaucracies and its thinly veiled condescension toward the public. Those who cater to its power, play the roles necessary to maintain the current conditions are Conservatives in every way that matters. They act to conserve the status quo.
In other words, the establishment against which the “liberals” of the 20th century fought is long vanquished – replaced by an establishment firmly rooted in the Statist ideals those one-time liberals supported. The recent appearance of the term RINO (Republican In Name Only), that identifies supposed conservatives voting with supposed liberals, is one sign that the shift has occurred. The New Conservatives do not act according to any pretext except that of retaining power. That is not an ideology. It is a survival impulse.
The New Conservatives are those members of the oligarchy whose power and wealth flow from the Statist policies of the Left. So, be they Republican in name or Democrat; Conservative by label or Liberal; they are all Conservatives. They seek to conserve the status quo.
The Tea Party and Patriot Movements – loose confederations of ordinary people from all walks of life, all socio-economic backgrounds and all races – are the New Liberals. Oddly, in the surreal world of political newspeak, those who stand for the pure founding principles of the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America find themselves in the disorienting position of being the champions of Liberalism - commonly percieved in recent times as the bane of liberty and equal justice.
Generally, they all agree on:
• The sharp reduction of government intervention in the free market and private lives
• The elimination of a wide range of federal government bureaucracies
• The compassionate but sure elimination of government entitlements and subsidies
• The reform of taxation to honor individual property rights (no taxes on property or earnings)
• And a non-interventionist foreign policy.
While this agenda is mostly associated with the rhetoric of the Republican Party, that collective has forfieted its role as champion of liberty. Ironically, by eschewing their “Conservative” ideals for the temporary expediency of “Liberal” practices, they have helped to entrench the “Liberal” Statist agenda which has now become the official establishment. In so doing, Republican turncoats have become conservatives again - but as defectors. Of course the Statists who call themselves “Liberals” having achieved the official status they crave have now been converted to conservatives as well.
So now, having our nation, our principles, our reference labels and our system of government upended, the Tea Party Patriot Movement – those ascribing to the principles recently called conservative but which were originally liberal – are the only significant political opposition to the State. And the Washington oligarchy is now comprised of a disconcerting mix of honest Statists (Democrats) and cheating Libertarians (Republicans).
We have come full circle. The modern patriots of the Tea Party are the true modern-day Liberals defending the ideals of the original Liberals. The established Washington oligarchy, whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats are the current Conservatives defending the status quo which looks unnervingly similar to that of King George.
So, on this day, I declare that the Tea Party, the Patriot Movement and I, are The New Liberals.
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