Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

What is old is new again

Here’s an argument that ought to warm the cockles of Patrick D’s heart.

But seriously, if business Republicans prefer a big government Democrat (doubtless supported by trade unions) over Huckabee, then we have to wonder if their "conservatism" consists in anything more than profit-maximization by hook or by crook, from consumers or taxpayers.

I say this not to argue that Huckabee is the logical or the only choice for Republicans, but only to insist that his presence on the ticket ought not to be a deal-breaker for Republican constituencies.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Yes, but the thing social conservatives have never been able to do as effectively as they might (partly from lack of trying or apparent disdain for so-called mere "business" Republicans) is to make a good case to them showing them why virtue is important to the things they naturally care about. In other words, show them why their interests are best served by virtue. They have not done a good job of that, I think, because they seem to be so caught up in altruism. But the things mere "business" conservatives want are essential to preserving the conditions of freedom--and thus, of virtue. Social conservatives need to remember that if we live like slaves it will be much harder to preserve virtue. Business conservatives need to remember that if we live like pigs, it will be much harder to make a profit--unless you are the "big pig." We need each other in this. There needs to be enough people in the center of this who are both social and economic conservatives to kick those who are merely one or the other into line. But the important thing, if we want to strengthen the coalition, is for both sides to stop insulting each other. I'm not sure Huckabee gets that.

Business Republicans are not usually conservative in any sense of the word, not even fiscally conservstive. Their goal is to maximise their individual profit and offload their costs on to the state. So they support government run healthcare, for example.

The Virginia Chamber of Commerece suceeded in getting the Republican legislature to pass a tax increase a few years back, because they wanted the state to spend more money on infrastructure, which would in turn support more business.

But the things mere "business" conservatives want are essential to preserving the conditions of freedom--

I doubt you've ever met a "business conservative" if you can say this. They want to maximise their own freedom at the expense of everyone elses.

John, you're talking about "big pigs" and mere Republicans. I'm talking about people who are conservative-- less because they are concerned about the social issues but more because they are worried about taxing, spending, and regulatory issues.

There are folks like the ones you describe and I've met them. But they're not conservatives at all; they're opportunists who would just as readily register Democrat if it suited their narrow interests. I'm not talking about those people--what would be the use in talking about them? Who cares what they "think"--they don't "think" anything! They just act out of interest and that's easy enough to understand.

I don't think you've ever met a business conservative like the ones I've described--probably because you were too busy dismissing them in the way you did above. The "big pigs" who operate solely out of interest are real--but they're not the majority. Business conservatives like I described are the kinds of people I have known all my life--small town businessmen and prominent civic leaders who love freedom and love America and distrust liberals because they know liberals are after both their freedom and their wallets. But they also have a strong distrust for religious conservatives because they suspect that social/religious conservatives are the other side of the liberal coin; that is, they think these folks are also after their freedom. Their instincts are good--to jealously guard their freedom--but they suffer from an imperfect (I won't quite say flawed) understanding of what freedom is and what is required to keep it. I think a good number of them can be persuaded. But I am less optimistic about the same being true on the social conservative side of the aisle where the sectarianism is rampant and the temptation to shut out the rest of world is so great. Religious conservatives shoot themselves in the foot when they dismiss these decent folks who mean well but do not have the good fortune to be adequately "churched" in the eyes of religious conservatives. In the same way, these business conservatives shoot themselves in the foot by dismissing religious conservatives as nut-cases and so on. These two groups should be natural friends-- but they let their prejudices carry them away from real thought on the matter. I get that at some level there are real tensions between them . . . but they are not as pronounced as either side imagines.

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