Family Reunion of the Conservative Cousins: The Coalition in Review
“The Family, rather than the individual,
has always been and remains today the basic building block of our society,
though its hold has clearly been weakening—
one of the most unfortunate consequences of the growth of government paternalism.”
Milton Friedman in Free to Choose (1979)
Coalition is defined as: an alliance of persons, parties, or states usually for a specific purpose; a fusion or union.
Ahh yes, there has always been an Original Intent to The Family Union. Thus, it is time, once again, for a review of the Conservative Cousins.
Pretend it is the eve of the Big Family Reunion. Grandma is at your home and the potluck contributions are diced, sliced, seasoned, simmered, rolled, baked, and decorated. The dishes are done, and you’re sitting around the kitchen table trying to get the family tree in your mind.
Grandma feels compelled to paint a vivid picture of everyone; your husband just wants the bottom line “Cliff Notes” version and will charge the camera batteries; your children just want the estimated time of arrival and the anticipated sensory-social environment; and you’re starting to realize that with all the gray hair, wobbly bones, arthritis, and decaying senses –it is clearly your job to take up the baton and carry on The Family History, the family traditions and the family culinary characters to assure the continuation of The Family Identity.
Thank goodness other folks have been documenting the family tree and the Conservative traditions long before our exit from the womb or getting our “educational” stickers. We can thank folks like: Russell Kirk, George Nash, Hillsdale College, Heritage Foundation, Gary Bauer’s American Values, and Family Research Council for their research, documentation, statesmanship, and transmissions of our conservative heritage. Especially, since many of us are products of government run public education/ workforce credentialing and sorely needing a transfusion of foundational political science for Self-Governing People 101.
Historian George Nash provides a thoughtful interpretation of the current conservative cousins in his book entitled: The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. Dr. Nash’s book provides a much acclaimed chronological companion to Russell Kirk’s (1918-1994) monumental work The Conservative Mind, which traces conservative thought from statesmen: Edmund Burke (1729-1797), John Adams, Alexis de Tocqueville, and a host of signature conservative thinkers all the way up to 1953.
Since the Family Reunion is just around the corner, we’ll do the short version following Dr. Nash’s structure. Keep in mind that all families have their skeletons in the closets, their rebels, prodigal sons, divorces, marriages, new births, step children, adoptions, black sheep, white sheep and sheep that act like goats…or donkeys? So with that in mind here’s a brief profile of who might be at
The Conservative Family Reunion:
- Libertarians and Classical Liberals
These cousins strongly resist the threat of ever-expanding collectivism of Big Government. They embrace free-market economics, Capitalism and individual initiative. Heroes and seminal works include: Friedrich Hayek (Road to Serfdom), Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom etc.), Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics) and Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal; The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution; The Age of Envy) whose novels are said to have influenced Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan.
- Conservative Traditionalists
These Traditionalist cousins urged a return to religious and ethical absolutes, limited government, free-market economics, Capitalism, and an adherence to The Founders’ interpretation of The Constitution. These folks reject “the moral relativism, which has corroded Western values thereby creating a vacuum filled by interloping demonic ideologies on the march.”
Traditionalist heroes include and extoll the wisdom of thinkers such as: Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind), Edmund Burke (Reflections and Works etc.), John Adams (Works of John Adams, Selected Writings of John and J. Q. Adams etc.), Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America, The Old Regime, Recollections), and T. S. Elliot (poetry, plays, and non-fiction) etc.
These thinkers called for a revival of religious orthodoxy, classical natural law teaching and mediating institutions (family, church, statesmen, education) between the solitary citizen and the powerful State.
The traditionalist vision is to reclaim and civilize the spiritual wasteland created by secular liberalism and the false gods it has permitted to enter the land; returning the people and the nation to one of health, intellect and virtue.
- Militant Ex-Communists, Ex-Radicals and Exiles from Communist nations
These would be the folks who have lived with the enemy, felt its putrid breath, its damp chambers, and have fled to more sane ground. Notable names include: Whittaker Chambers, Frank Meyer, James Burnham and exiled anti-Communist scholars from Eastern and Central Europe; the former Left and immigrants. They clearly saw/see America and the West as engaged in a Titanic struggle with an implacable enemy, that of Communism.
Marxism, aka Communism, aka Socialism, did not die with the dismantling of The Berlin Wall. It only went underground, further infiltrating public and private Education on all levels unified by the themes of environmentalism, social justice, multi-culturalism, and universal human rights, with “science as god” and credentialed experts as the continuing mediators of the Comintern Commissions.
Since we’re sticking to the basics, we’ll not delve too deeply into some family frictions and lit fuses, but more on the fizzles and the fusions as Freedom married Virtue via Family Fusionism. Dr. Nash summarizes the Fusionism platform:
To Protect and Promote individual Liberty but acknowledge the supreme authority of the individual to pursue a life of Virtue unfettered by and unaided by the State.
To keep a good family name and a family thriving, you need new growth.
(Remember: Grandma’s bones are aching and her knees are callused from hours of prayer). And prayers are answered as blinders are removed; thus enters the Irving Kristols. Irving Kristol is described as “the godfather of neo-conservatism.” Some describe the Neo-Conservatist as a
“Liberal who has been mugged by reality.”
We love these gentlemen. You see, these are credentialed intellectuals, who have realized that good intentions alone do not guarantee good government. These cousins recognize the sources and the actual consequences of social activism, and liberal policies like LB Johnson’s “war on poverty” and its subsequent devastation to families, convulsions on campuses, cultural upheaval and national destruction.
Neo-Conservatists are credentialed intellectuals who have defected from the “enemy” Modern Liberalism camp.
Prior to the entry of the neo-conservatives, the modern Liberals had classified Conservatives as a bunch of uneducated reactionary Bible-belt hillbillies.
These Neo-Conservatives, having defected from the Left, were able to destroy the false perception that only “Liberals/Progressives” were intellectuals.
(In a nation whose administrative bureaucracy and economy (synonyms?) function by putting credentialed stamps and stickers on folks, labeling them as “experts”; a nation whose educational system holds “college” as the goal in life…foolishly and functionally, only the “credentialed experts” are deemed worthy of enlightening the “credentialed” or the masses.)
- Religious Right, The Social Conservatives
These are the late arriving cousins, outside of the DC beltway, that finally surfaced for the Family political Reunion. This was/is the grassroots swell of Protestant, Evangelical, Orthodox Jewry, and Catholic families that climbed out of the burrows to fulfill their political roles as citizens. Social issues such as: abortion, removal of prayer in the public schools, drug peddling, pornography, vulgar media and entertainment, hedonism, and Progressive curriculums in public education etc. catalyzed this trumpet/shofar call to duty.
The Religious Right appear as apparitions of the early Traditionalists brought back to life; and have entered the arena in defense of an absolute moral code, and transmission of normative family values. This awakening has created an entire sector of organizations committed to standing for the traditional values of faith, family and liberty under God. These cousins have inspired an increase in Classical Religious Academies, homeschooling, and created multitudes of conservative outposts and cultivation of conservative intellectuals and statesmen in the nation. (Thank you!)
That should help to place a few branches on the family tree, and perhaps find, which limb you’re on. (Perhaps an orchard is a better analogy.) Regardless, we’ve got a great deal of truth and values translation to transmit.
Young people, the rising generations of students, continue to be controlled by media and education, which is largely controlled by Liberals/ Progressives, and social herding amusements. The vocabularies have shrunk and language has been debased to the extent that many an offspring’s mind has been hijacked to believe they are in the wrong family politically.
Today, public schools provide surveys for students to take on-line as to which political party a student ought to align with as they head to the voter poles this year and subsequent years. (Research shows that if an individual votes twice for a certain party, most will continue that party allegiance for life.)
These “let us help you pick a political party preference” questions are phrased with indoctrinating bias in opposition to conservative values. This is accomplished via the phrasing involving: multi-culturalism, tolerance, “oppressionism”, gun safety, war, conflict and peace, environmental preservation, sexual choices, social justice equality and universal rights issues. The scores are tallied, and overwhelmingly, students are being led to believe they personally align with socialist/Progressive tendencies.
Our “family” task is to clearly articulate the true values of Conservatives…the Common Blood of all Cousins of the Conservative Coalition.
As George Nash points out, we spend far too much time blogging, messaging, and cocooning amongst ourselves!!!
There are some key folks and family members we must make these messages relevant to, in their language, on their turf, face to face.
- First Time Voters
- New Immigrants
- The Verbalizers, the leaders, media messengers of this generation
What do Conservatives want?
- Limited Government
- Individual Liberty
- Low Taxes
- Strict application of The Constitution
- Family Responsibility
- Traditional Values
- Respect for Human Life
- Educate their own Children
Our mission, as Conservatives, is to articulate, translate and transmit, these “Oh, so familiar-to-us” phrases, to the next generation of new voters, the new immigrants, and the secular and college professionals who dominate in many arenas. We must do this in a language that they can comprehend, and grasp the significance as to how these Conservative Values are foundational to their Freedoms, their Virtues, their safety and security from threats within and without the nation.
If you do this, you will find, as I have, that these young people and new immigrants are truly Conservatives. You might identify some long lost family members. So, be sure to invite them to the Family Reunion.
They’re looking for a stable family, sound values and
A virtuous future in which they can place their trust and help to build.
Now for some Intergenerational Transmission of Values, mom’s warm strudel, or Tante Trude’s Orange Torte over a game of canasta…after we visit the tractors, inspect the sweet corn patch, the garden, the kittens, feed the pheasants and get all those photos, videos, birthdates, marriages, addresses, emails, and updates for the Family Tree.
Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
Robin Eubanks, Credentialed to Destroy, How and Why Education Became a Weapon
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose