The Abandonment of Conservative Principle

 

On Laura Ingraham’s website, Lifezette, Edmund Kozack laments the “Constitution worship” of those opposing the populist movement within the GOP:

The Constitution worship of those like Shapiro and Sen. Ted Cruz reveals that the mainstream conservative movement has largely forgotten the principle of imperfectability. The Constitution alone cannot guarantee some sort of political utopia. Man is fallen — a city on a shining hill cannot be guaranteed by a mere piece of paper. The fact that within a decade of the documents’ adoption the government was already trying to subvert it should be a clear indication of that reality.

Ironically, Kozack seems to have forgotten that the Constitution is based on the premise that Man is imperfect and that, therefore, his institutions of power must be restrained.

In its attempt to define conservatism in a way that dovetails its author’s nationalist populism, the piece draws heavily on Russell Kirk. And yet, he seems to forget one of Kirk’s central theses: That private property and freedom are inextricably linked. Something the current leader of the nationalist populists seems to have a problem with.

Never mind all that. Kozack’s original sin is in confusing British toryism of the Kirk/Burke variety with the more classical liberal American conservatism. It’s an important distinction that’s often glossed over.

This is what we mean when we say the nationalist populists have abandoned conservative principle: that, in rejecting classical liberalism and us “Constitution worshipers,” they reject everything that made American conservatism the unique foundation of the freest and greatest nation on this earth.

There are 115 comments.

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  1. Valiuth Member

    And here we have the problem. Where do Classical Liberals go in a world of Nationalists and Socialists. Where is there room for the individual when all is subsumed in some form of collective? It is just another form of the Europeanization of America.

    • #1
    • August 23, 2016, at 10:50 AM PDT
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  2. Mike H Coolidge

    What Trump has tapped into is the Right’s version of what Conservatives decry on the Left. Most of the people on the Republican side were never Constitutional originalists who believed in small government and the natural rights of all.

    They simply hate the Left. Trumpers want the government to work for them and people like them and start to screw over the people on the Left, just like the Left has been doing to the Right for so long.

    This is obvious even on Ricochet since the thing most often praised about Trump is that he’s not Hillary and the fact that he’s “fighting” the Left. Many people are lining up with him for this reason alone. It shouldn’t be sufficient.

    • #2
    • August 23, 2016, at 10:51 AM PDT
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  3. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    Valiuth:And here we have the problem. Where do Classical Liberals go in a world of Nationalists and Socialists. Where is there room for the individual when all is subsumed in some form of collective? It is just another form of the Europeanization of America.

    Not for nothing, but the Libertarian Party could use an injection of sanity right about now.

    • #3
    • August 23, 2016, at 10:52 AM PDT
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  4. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    The Constitution alone cannot guarantee some sort of political utopia.

    Dear Ms. Ingraham

    Dear Mr. Kozak (the actual writer of the piece),

    I have three requests for you:

    1) Please list five people who have ever promised that the US Constitution guarantees utopia.

    2) Please list five living American conservatives who have ever argued that utopia is an attainable goal at all, let alone a desirable one.

    3) Please go to wikipedia and search for “straw man fallacy”.

    Hugs and kisses,

    Misthiocracy

    P.S. You might also want to re-read Article 5 of the US Constitution, which describes the process whereby it can be amended. Just FYI.

    • #4
    • August 23, 2016, at 10:54 AM PDT
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  5. MarciN Member

    Jamie Lockett: It seems the author has forgotten the very premise upon which The Constitution is based: that man is an imperfect creature and that the institutions of power must be restrained due to this fact.

    Yep.

    • #5
    • August 23, 2016, at 10:56 AM PDT
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  6. BrentB67 Inactive

    Menopause is rough on Ms. Ingraham and Ms. Coulter apparently.

    Nice analysis JL.

    • #6
    • August 23, 2016, at 10:59 AM PDT
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  7. WI Con Member

    @jamielockett I often find myself on opposite sides of issues with you but not on this one. She’s one of this election’s sycophants that has truly debased herself.

    Funny thing about that dated piece of parchment t – it alows for changes if the requisite number of citizens and legislators agree to. It demands consensus and promotes harmony when executed and adhered to faithfully.

    • #7
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:04 AM PDT
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  8. Egg Man Member

    Thanks for posting this, as I’ve lately been fascinated by Ingraham and Hannity’s unexplained drift from conservatism to populism. The more we document their descent into incoherence, the easier it will to win the post-election philosophical battles.

    I won’t argue this on the merits, as that has been done countless times by Constitutionalists when arguing against left-wing socialists, and the arguments here would be no different. (A great feature of our Constitution is that is intended to protect against statism of all varieties.)

    It is an interesting philosophy to be espoused by Ingraham. (Yes, I realize she didn’t write the piece). I haven’t listened to her in years, but I remember her as a full-throated Bush fan. She promoted the Iraq war, going so far as to say that those who doubted Bush’s pre-surge strategy should “listen to the generals.” She promoted Romney in ’08, and was a big fan of Sarah Palin back when she joined the ticket of noted nation-builder, John McCain.

    Furthermore, the charge of being subjected to an “elite” promoter of “globalism” is a bit odd coming from a Skadden Associate and former Thomas law clerk who is inarticulate when it comes to economics.

    FYI — I didn’t see a link to the piece, and you may want to include that, especially since LifeZette’s search engine is atrocious.

    • #8
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:07 AM PDT
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  9. Valiuth Member

    Jamie Lockett:

    Valiuth:And here we have the problem. Where do Classical Liberals go in a world of Nationalists and Socialists. Where is there room for the individual when all is subsumed in some form of collective? It is just another form of the Europeanization of America.

    Not for nothing, but the Libertarian Party could use an injection of sanity right about now.

    Perhaps…but I think right now there might be a chance to salvage the Republicans….I am not opposed to dealing with the Nationalists, there are areas of natural overlap, just as there are with the Libertine Libertarians. Trump himself is just a barrier to any negotiation in my mind.

    • #9
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:08 AM PDT
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  10. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    • #10
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:09 AM PDT
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  11. KC Mulville Inactive

    It’s true that the Constitution says nothing relevant about the Zika virus, but it is extremely relevant about the mechanics of power, and how we balance power among various offices of government.

    And, there’s nothing about the complexities of modern living that requires or even allows politicians to unilaterally violate how we’ve agreed to distribute power as defined within the Constitution.

    • #11
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:10 AM PDT
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  12. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    Egg Man: FYI — I didn’t see a link to the piece, and you may want to include that, especially since LifeZette’s search engine is atrocious.

    Fixed.

    • #12
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:10 AM PDT
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  13. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    Jamie Lockett:To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    God could you imagine if @peterrobinson was blamed directly for everything I write? I apologize in advance, Peter.

    • #13
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:16 AM PDT
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  14. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jamie Lockett:To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    God could you imagine if @peterrobinson was blamed directly for everything I write? I apologize in advance, Peter.

    I say, every day Americans don’t live in a utopia is Peter Robinson’s fault.

    ;-)

    • #14
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:17 AM PDT
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  15. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    Misthiocracy:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jamie Lockett:To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    God could you imagine if @peterrobinson was blamed directly for everything I write? I apologize in advance, Peter.

    I say, every day Americans don’t live in a utopia is Peter Robinson’s fault.

    ?

    Granted he tried harder than most.

    • #15
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:20 AM PDT
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  16. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Jamie Lockett:

    Misthiocracy:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jamie Lockett:To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    God could you imagine if @peterrobinson was blamed directly for everything I write? I apologize in advance, Peter.

    I say, every day Americans don’t live in a utopia is Peter Robinson’s fault.

    ?

    Granted he tried harder than most.

    See?! That rascal Robinson was more concerned about the well-being of Germans than he was about the well-being of Americans back home! What an out-of-touch elitist!

    • #16
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:32 AM PDT
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  17. MarciN Member

    Jamie Lockett:

    Misthiocracy:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jamie Lockett:To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    God could you imagine if @peterrobinson was blamed directly for everything I write? I apologize in advance, Peter.

    I say, every day Americans don’t live in a utopia is Peter Robinson’s fault.

    ?

    Granted he tried harder than most.

    Glad you brought this up. I want comprehensive immigration policy reform–one that takes our global health issues, for example, into consideration and the human trafficking situation. Human trafficking is a direct result of porous borders, here and around the world. And illegal immigrants in every country that ignores them become second-class citizens. That’s just wrong on every level human rights and Judeo-Christian level I can think of.

    Yet I respect wholeheartedly the open-border thinking of Reagan-Bush 41-Bush 43 philosophy.

    They came out of the World War II and Cold War eras, which saw an horrific drive on the part of dictators to wall people in.

    This became so clear to me when GW expressed one his important rationales for the war on terror–freedom to travel in safety.

    GW also said that the wall that keeps people out keeps people in as well.

    Indeed, and it gives one pause to consider, what if I needed to escape from the United States for some reason?

    • #17
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:32 AM PDT
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  18. Mike H Coolidge

    WI Con:@jamielockett I often find myself on opposite sides of issues with you but not on this one. She’s one of this election’s sycophants that has truly debased herself.

    Funny thing about that dated piece of parchment t – it alows for changes if the requisite number of citizens and legislators agree to. It demands consensus and promotes harmony when executed and adhered to faithfully.

    One of the problems with the Constitution is it made it too easy to pass normal laws. All laws should have taken a supermajority to pass and a simple majority to repeal. An alternative (or additional) protection would be the creation of a congress whose soul purpose and only power was to repeal laws. One of a major problems with “Law Makers” is that they think their job is to make laws.

    • #18
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:32 AM PDT
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  19. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    MarciN: Indeed, and it gives one pause to consider, what if I needed to escape from the United States for some reason?

    The IRS would track you down no matter where you go, so the question of a wall is moot.

    • #19
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:44 AM PDT
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  20. Mister D Member

    WI Con:@jamielockett I often find myself on opposite sides of issues with you but not on this one. She’s one of this election’s sycophants that has truly debased herself.

    Funny thing about that dated piece of parchment t – it alows for changes if the requisite number of citizens and legislators agree to. It demands consensus and promotes harmony when executed and adhered to faithfully.

    What she says would have more credibility had she been saying it prior to being a Trump supporter. Now she, like Hannity, Newt, Bennett and others, are back tracking (or ignoring) years of statements that contradict whatever Trump likes right now.

    I am a NeverTrump because of who I am, but I am heartened that those whose opinions I have come to value over the years are, for the most part, those that have not boarded the Trump train.

    • #20
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:58 AM PDT
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  21. Mister D Member

    Misthiocracy:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jamie Lockett:To be clear: the piece isn’t written by Laura herself but by one of the writers she employs to write for her group blog.

    God could you imagine if @peterrobinson was blamed directly for everything I write? I apologize in advance, Peter.

    I say, every day Americans don’t live in a utopia is Peter Robinson’s fault.

    ?

    That goes without saying.

    • #21
    • August 23, 2016, at 11:59 AM PDT
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  22. Z in MT Inactive

    Laura Ingrahm shifted early into the Trump camp because she is a strong immigration hawk. Her original support of Trump comes mostly from that, but she has definitely drunk the kool-aide since.

    I have no explanation for Hannity, except that he has always been a shill for the Republican party and will toe any line they want, yet he seem particularly enamored with Trump for some reason.

    • #22
    • August 23, 2016, at 12:01 PM PDT
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  23. Xennady Inactive

    MarciN:

    Yet I respect wholeheartedly the open-border thinking of Reagan-Bush 41-Bush 43 philosophy.

    I don’t.

    The open borders globalism of the American political- including the Bushes- has been a catastrophe for the country, even though it no doubt helped a lot them enrich themselves.

    The 9/11 attack happened because of it, for example. Instead of securing the US border, ending mass immigration from terrorist-ridden nations, and fixing the immigration system overall, Bush 43 kept the border open and gave us a significant but likely still unknown number of secret laws. For example, only when Snowden defected did it become known that the government was collecting phone call metadata.

    Gosh, somehow I just can’t square that sort of policy with the document from 1789, even though I’m sure the nine philosopher-jurists of the Supreme Court are fine with it. But considering that these same folks recently discovered a hereto undiscovered constitutional right to gay marriage- no, that actually happened– I’m pretty sure that what’s written down in the actual Constitution doesn’t matter too much anymore.

    Hence when I see complaints that conservative principles have been abandoned by us evil Trumpkins I confess to being slightly mystified.

    You folks noticed all the rest of the abandonment of these principles over the years, haven’t you?

    • #23
    • August 23, 2016, at 12:08 PM PDT
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  24. Randal H Member

    A strong central government was sort of baked into the cake with the adoption of the Constitution. That was the argument made against it when it was adopted to replace the Articles of Confederation. The AOC were criticized by detractors as resulting in a weak central government.

    Because of that, even conservatives and small government types have to be completely obsessed with the federal government and who is the President, who’s on the Supreme Court, etc. When we start from that premise, we’ve already lost the game.

    • #24
    • August 23, 2016, at 1:31 PM PDT
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  25. Joe P Member

    I thought the general explanation for why Ingraham, Hannity et al have jumped so enthusiastically on the Trump Train in spite of the obvious ideological problems was ratings. That is, they had information early on that their audiences preferred Trump from their callers, and their contracts are likely structured such that they get more money for higher ratings. Thus, they all pandered as aggressively as possible for the Trumpkins. Is that not quite right?

    • #25
    • August 23, 2016, at 3:46 PM PDT
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  26. TKC1101 Inactive

    Since Mr Lockett has posted on many of my threads, I will take the liberty of posting here.

    Many conservatives have abandoned nationalism as a component of thought in policy or principle for many reasons. What they have reaped is a simple result when your policies and politicians are then used to provide power and enablement to a non nationalistic donor class who fund conservatives in power, policy and deed.

    What is happening is a schism of people who view conservatism as a good operating philosophy for Nationalistic goals, and people who view that conservatism is sufficient to operate without nationalism.

    Ingraham and Hannity ae nationalists first, conservative on approach. Many conservatives are conservatives first, and assume the country and it’s future will take care of itself in a dangerous world.

    • #26
    • August 23, 2016, at 7:08 PM PDT
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  27. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    TKC1101: Since Mr Lockett has posted on many of my threads, I will take the liberty of posting here.

    You are always welcome to post on my threads.

    TKC1101:Many conservatives have abandoned nationalism as a component of thought in policy or principle for many reasons. What they have reaped is a simple result when your policies and politicians are then used to provide power and enablement to a non nationalistic donor class who fund conservatives in power, policy and deed.

    What is happening is a schism of people who view conservatism as a good operating philosophy for Nationalistic goals, and people who view that conservatism is sufficient to operate without nationalism.

    Ingraham and Hannity ae nationalists first, conservative on approach. Many conservatives are conservatives first, and assume the country and it’s future will take care of itself in a dangerous world.

    Many of the people that you talk about here are as fiercely pro-american as Ingraham or Hannity. We hold classical liberal or conservative beliefs because we love America. I think history has shown us that nationalism unmoored from a philosophy of restraint like conservatism is…fraught with danger.

    • #27
    • August 23, 2016, at 7:59 PM PDT
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  28. TKC1101 Inactive

    Jamie Lockett: Many of the people that you talk about here are as fiercely pro-american as Ingraham or Hannity. We hold classical liberal or conservative beliefs because we love America. I think history has shown us that nationalism unmoored from a philosophy of restraint like conservatism is…fraught with danger.

    In order to be pro American, one must embrace the American citizenry and decide that America must be a place of wealth, power, assets and skills to maintain its freedom. Allowing our asset bases, skills and middle class jobs to go elsewhere and make us a nation of élite financial wizards and content creators with an impoverished majority of the population is counter to nationalism. All other nations protect their skilled jobs and asset bases with a vengeance, or are working feverishly to build them. We have chosen, for the enrichment of the donor class that funds conservatives, to take a very short term view of national well being and now have put the ability to manipulate the physical world in the hands of totalitarians and worse.

    Conservatism that does not provide an effective solution for the well being and prosperity of a large majority of the population, not just the elite classes is a dead end.

    • #28
    • August 23, 2016, at 8:36 PM PDT
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  29. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    TKC1101: In order to be pro American, one must embrace the American citizenry and decide that America must be a place of wealth, power, assets and skills to maintain its freedom. Allowing our asset bases, skills and middle class jobs to go elsewhere and make us a nation of élite financial wizards and content creators with an impoverished majority of the population is counter to nationalism.

    I’m sorry but I’m not buying your premises. You can’t define Pro-American as your philosophy in order to win the argument before its even begun. Furthermore, your premise just doesn’t comport with the facts. All American’s are better off today in real material terms than they were 50 years ago during the heyday of what you consider American dominance.

    TKC1101: All other nations protect their skilled jobs and asset bases with a vengeance, or are working feverishly to build them

    And those countries are all poorer with less dynamic economies than the United States. Their citizens have lower quality of life and material wealth.

    TKC1101: We have chosen, for the enrichment of the donor class that funds conservatives, to take a very short term view of national well being and now have put the ability to manipulate the physical world in the hands of totalitarians and worse.

    Again the American economy has made almost all American’s better off than they were in the past.

    TKC1101: Conservatism that does not provide an effective solution for the well being and prosperity of a large majority of the population, not just the elite classes is a dead end.

    I agree, and its a good thing that Conservatism contains with in it the ideas and philosophy to achieve prosperity for all.

    • #29
    • August 23, 2016, at 8:47 PM PDT
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  30. TKC1101 Inactive

    Jamie Lockett: I’m sorry but I’m not buying your premises. You can’t define Pro-American as your philosophy in order to win the argument before its even begun

    Sorry Mr Lockett , but I can do that and will. Those are my premises. You may disagree. Fine. I defined my belief system for the purposes of discussion. My belief system does explain the large number of the electorate who seem to be quite disturbed at the direction of America under the current Progressive-Conservative alliance on ‘Free Trade’, funded by the same donor bases.

    You keep calling America prosperous and I keep seeing another one that is far from the promise it used to hold. That is a matter of our perspectives. America used to offer opportunity for the many. Now, you better be born with the right connections or be very very smart and motivated. If you promote a society where only the right hand side of the bell curve wins, you do not get America as founded and as it prospered.

    • #30
    • August 23, 2016, at 9:03 PM PDT
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