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What Is True Conservatism?
Commentary Magazine, by Peter Wehner

Original Article

Posted By:Pluperfect, 5/25/2013 6:03:21 AM

In a recent column, Michael Gerson wrote about modern conservatism’s “two distinct architectural styles.” One approach within conservatism, he said, celebrates those who seek to apply abstract principles in their purest form. The alternative approach is more disposed toward compromise, incremental progress and taking into account shifting circumstances. What’s worth noting, I think, is that many of those in the first camp consider themselves to be more principled and authentically conservative than those in the second, who are often derided as RINOs and “squishes,” as part of the much-derided “establishment” and who go along to get along.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Passion, 5/25/2013 6:35:32 AM     (No. 9344692)

Little Peter Wehner...the squishe´s squish....beltway bred and isolated from the real world...

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Reply 2 - Posted by: StormCnter, 5/25/2013 6:46:53 AM     (No. 9344701)

Peter Wehner, a "squish"? Based on...?

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Reply 3 - Posted by: ruready?, 5/25/2013 7:34:45 AM     (No. 9344741)

Its like the lady that shook the pastor´s hand leaving church one Sunday and said, "Pastor, what you need is unction." "Whats that?", the pastor asked. "I don´t know", the lady replied, "but you ain´t got it!"

I don´t know exactly how to define conservatism, but its easy to recognize its absence.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: plumnellie, 5/25/2013 7:39:28 AM     (No. 9344746)

I would be happy with incremental-ism if that were really what the Squishes did. But compromise to Republicans means giving in to the Dems slowly. And, incremental-ism means moving toward more liberal policies not more conservative. Does anyone really think we are moving even incrementally toward more freedom, less big government, or anything else conservatives believe in? I personally have only observed defeat and betrayal by the long time Republicans. This article is trying hard to shake off the apt descriptions many of us have for those Republicans who give in over and over to the pressure to please, curry favor, or just feather their own nests when dealing with the Dems. I personally do not care what the label is for the leaders and followers of a party that stands for little more than the same thing as the Dems. We can call them The Big Disappointments if we want to. It all boils down to the fact that many of us Tea people know that the Repub party has hurt us as much if not more than the Dem party. And, yet we have in the past helped the Repub party. So when a party give us the same treatement as our enemies..why would we trust them?

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Reply 5 - Posted by: ROLFnader, 5/25/2013 7:41:03 AM     (No. 9344750)

You know, ´abstract principles in their purest form ´ such as good and evil, tyranny and liberty, right and wrong.....

I think that man has been on this earth long enough to know what works and what doesn´t but , then again, I´m kind of old fashioned and extremely wary when it comes to compromise for its own sake.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: William1, 5/25/2013 8:29:48 AM     (No. 9344805)

Defining true conservatism is like defining pornography. You know it when you see it.

We have acknowledged subsets, such as "paleocon" or "neo-con", for example. Me, I consider myself an "osteo-con".

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Reply 7 - Posted by: kahunavol, 5/25/2013 8:42:06 AM     (No. 9344818)

Defensive much?

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Reply 8 - Posted by: wyowumin, 5/25/2013 9:03:43 AM     (No. 9344847)

When so-called conservatives whine about being called RINO´s or squishes--because they are--all is revealed. They are what they are. Washington Beltway elites.


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Reply 9 - Posted by: tocsin, 5/25/2013 9:34:54 AM     (No. 9344893)

#4 nails it!
We are dealing with people of “intemperate minds.”
And I´m not referring to RINO´s. I am referring to today´s Democrat leadership.
They view us as the enemy. They are at war with us and the founding Principles of this Country.
Please tell me how we compromise with these people!
´´By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a naton´´-Edmund Burke

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Reply 10 - Posted by: Blue-Z-Anna, 5/25/2013 9:35:55 AM     (No. 9344894)

Conservatism, for me, lies somewhere between Ted Cruz and Ted Nuggent.

Large, muscular men and beautiful women tend to be conservative.

Small, round, lumpy ruminants seem to feel better and safer as Socialists.

Fine.

T´was ever thus.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: god of irony, 5/25/2013 9:38:04 AM     (No. 9344898)

True conservatism is easy to define. Limited government, fiscal responsibility and emphasis on the individual rights over the government.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: Dixie, 5/25/2013 10:32:22 AM     (No. 9344998)

Someone please ask Edmund Burke what he thinks of Obama´s unconstitutional actions.

What? Oh yeah. Edmund Burke lived a long time ago, in a different country, in a different society. One can even say, in a different world.

Today´s real conservative is along the lines of Allen West. Tea Party. Not Peter Wehner.


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Reply 13 - Posted by: oh-heck, 5/25/2013 11:18:50 AM     (No. 9345062)

When you need to choose an Englishman as a true conservative, you ignore the fact that our founders had rebelled against the English and were determined not to allow their concepts of governance to seep into the Constitution.

Progressives have been incrementally moving us toward socialism for 80 years. They have made huge progress on the list of steps needed to make America ripe for a revolution to install a socialist government.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: tisHimself, 5/25/2013 11:51:42 AM     (No. 9345100)

For your consideration, Russell Kirk: http://www.kirkcenter.org/index.php/detail/ten-conservative-principles/

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.
Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.
Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.
Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.
Fifth conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.
Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability---- man being imperfect NO PERFECT SOCIAL ORDER CAN BE CREATED ( here that Bushies?)
Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.
Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.
Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.
Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.

Now, some on this site have advocated for political people and organizations that have in the past openly articulated disdain for such conservative principles, they were the most vociferous mouthpieces during last years primaries, the don´t like Palin and get cc´d by Rove. Time to stop watering down the meaning of the word.


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Reply 15 - Posted by: Susannah, 5/25/2013 1:41:18 PM     (No. 9345204)

Don´t tell anyone else how to think and how to live.

Don´t blindly follow every loudmouthed bloviator as if he or she were the new conservative Messiah. Don´t worship any politician or commentator.

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Reply 16 - Posted by: kanphil, 5/25/2013 3:35:29 PM     (No. 9345302)

Burke would get rolled over by the modern day ´rat party the way the Nazis rolled over the oh-so-correct French and their state of the art Maginot Line. Principles, as are embodied in our Constitution, are eternal. Tactics have to be modified and updated to fit the times and the nature of the enemy. Imagine MacArthur using the same tactics against the Japanese as his father used against the Moro. We need to modify our tactics against the ´rats or we´re going to lose our country forever! Wehner must be getting old.

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