Salus populi suprema lex esto

How, as conservatives, ought we to interpret and to implement this, “Let the good of the people be the supreme law”? to wit, what is the good of the people, particularly in a pluralistic society? — some-thing shared in common? — something not always recognized or appreciated by the masses, left to the natural aristocracy, would they happen to exist, to discern? Thoughts?


Rush Limbaugh, pain-fully succinctly, on conservatism

Ross links to a transcript from Rush with Ross, Mickey Edwards, and Bill Moyers. This line is a doozy:

RUSH: We’re talking the difference here between Republicans and conservative. You know, “conservative” doesn’t have any modifiers. Conservative has a singular foundation: individual liberty.

Not community, nor culture, nor tradition? Mis-understand me not: I believe that individual liberty is fundamental, but, I aver, it is, decidedly, not the “singular foundation” of conservatism. Of classical liberalism, perhaps; but not of conservatism. Maybe, Rush has shown his true colors, then.

On Helms, briefly

James summarizes things nicely, and the Schwenk follows suit. I shall leave the task of offering appropriate comments on Helms and his passing to these wiser gentlemen. Here, quickly, I just want to note that this line from today’s Washington Post troubles me, primarily because it’s true. It’s why I avoid the main-stream.

What his critics could not appreciate is that, by the time he left office, Jesse Helms had become a mainstream conservative. And it was not because Helms had moved toward the mainstream — it was because the mainstream moved toward him.

Coming soon

I swear that, despite repeated failures to live up to hitherto-made promises, I shall offer some-thing here, soon, on matters regarding my present field, urban planning, probably bittersweet in nature, expressing very mixed, confounded opinions on the field, academically and professional.

Also, I intend to dedicate a post to the Bob Barr-versus-Chuck Baldwin question, trying to frame it, as well as I can, from both the traditional conservative, Constitutionalist, and libertarian-ish and Catholic perspectives. I continue to struggle with this one (although the Constitution Party’s not being on the ballot in Indiana tilts me slightly toward Barr), and I’ve encountered persuasive arguments favoring both.

Remember when “conservatives” believed in small government?

Yahoo! News reports “Obama courts conservatives with new program”:

Taking a page from President Bush, Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he wants to expand White House efforts to steer social service dollars to religious groups, risking protests in his own party with his latest aggressive reach for voters who usually vote Republican.

I recall coming across a speech by Scalia (incredibly erudite, doubtless; troublesome, nonetheless) in which the justice exhorted conservatives to embrace a Hamiltonian big-government conservatism; for every point about which I agree with the esteemed magistrate, a matter arises regarding which he and I (granted, far less intelligent than he) find ourselves holding differing opinions. (I seem to conceive of civil liberties more broadly than he.) Our perspectives on conservatism, it seems, mark one place of such disagreement.

Now, no thorough, quotable scholar, wish as I may, of the Fathers, I, nevertheless, recognize that the Federalists played an influential role in developing what eventually would emerge as American conservatism; so, too, however, did the Anti-Federalists and Jeffersonians. In fact, assertions of a “Jeffersonians became libertarians, and Federalists, conservatives” nature and Jefferson’s own profoundly radical liberalism (classical) notwithstanding, I believe that the Anti-Federalists and Democratic-Republicans, with their distrust of centralization, espousal of a small-is-beautiful philosophy, and opposition to “entangling alliances” (with concomitant opposition to a standing military actually provide a much more appropriate, legitimate inspiration for conservatism (libertarianism, too, save for the willingness of libertarians, all too often, to embrace a big-is-beautiful perspective, so long as government intervention, as it frequently does, hasn’t aided corporations in their gaining increased power and control) than does Hamiltonian Federalism, so much so that, I believe, Scalia was in the wrong even to suggest that Hamilton offers a model for conservatism, rather than some sort of right-wing statism (which, I’ve come to believe, is the political ideology that Scalia embraces).

If Scalia is wrong, then, George W. Bush, too, surely is wrong — dead wrong — with his “compassionate conservatism”. Time was, conservatives sought to protect our rights, our liberties, and our beliefs from government, to work toward improving our society, toward aiding those in need, through voluntary and non-coercive means, rather than through the Leviathan, the same monster whose policies, as I note about, include, say, subsidizing, often astronomically, national chains who alter permanently our communities, hardly a conservative ideal.

Now, if Dubya is wrong on this one, then, as he so often is, Senator Obama is. Granted, he’s no conservative, not by any stretch. (He’s a poorly educated Wilsonian on foreign policy who offers no change, choruses notwithstanding, with respect to how we shall present ourselves on the world front. Just ask AIPAC or the Pakistanis. On domestic policy, he’s, quite ostensibly, far to the left socially, not very good on civil liberties, and not interested in undoing the damages of NAFTA and similar abominations. Yikes.) He is, however, quite undeniably, political savvy, cognizant of the great duping Bush & co. played on so many Americans, convincing them that trusting the Federal government with more power and more money could possibly be a good idea — and something behind which conservatives can stand, and using this as a means by which to attempt to lure the many of use wholly dissatisfied with the GOP’s nominee. I hope that, after the USA PATRIOT Act, endless war, and a wretchedly bloated budget, American conservatives will realize that their leaders have led them astray and that Obama seeks to do little more than to continue these policies. Furthermore, I hope that American progressives recognize that the Cult of Obama will, eventually, ask them to drink the Kool-Aid of continued involvement abroad and persistent violation of our sacred liberties at home. I remain pessimistic on both counts.

Heller and conservatism

Over at The American Scene, Jim Manzi has posted a piece on the Supreme Court, a conservative attitude toward the judiciary, and how legitimately wide-spread “legislating from the bench” probably is.

In the comment box, JA offers a superb bit of candor with respect to Heller up to which I wish I could own.

You’re more right than wrong, Jim. A principled conservative position in Heller would have been to admit the murkiness of the 2nd Amendment’s wording and purpose, then abstain from any sweeping decisions until a correctio amendment was passed by Congress and ratified. [My emphasis – NPO.]