“Romney is a Conservative?”an essay by a Conservative Teacher

Today’s Guest Saturday post comes to us from A Conservative Teacher. The essay was originally published there on Sunday, July 15, 2012.

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Romney is a Conservative?

In Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind he describes a ‘conservative’ as someone who believes in ordered liberty. Unlike some who want only order or others who want only liberty, a conservative believes that it is necessary to blend together the needs of the larger community and the individual- to balance individual freedom and individual responsibility and put in place a limited government while keeping unlimited markets.
Kirk described six basic principles of conservatism:

  1. A divine intent as well as personal conscience rules society
  2. Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity
  3. Civilized society requires orders and classes
  4. Property and freedom are inseparably connected
  5. Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason; and
  6. Society must alter slowly.
In this post, I will measure Romney and Obama by these principles of conservatism and see how well they measure up. Since Obama is the incumbent in office and this election is above all a referendum on him, I will begin with him and then address Romney as the challenger.
  1. President Barack Obama may believe in a divine intent- he did for many years worship at a radical black theology church where God was indeed preached. But since his people paid off his pastor to keep quiet and since he has never gone to this church again after becoming President, we really can’t be sure exactly how closely he still believes in what was preached there. He rarely talks about ‘divine intent’. And as far as personal conscience goes, he seems to frequently dismiss that as well, believing that people are victims and do not play a role in their own destiny. Romney on the other hand has spoken of divine intent, and he does seem to be a very faithful religious person. He speaks often of personal choices and having a conscience.
  2. President Obama seems to prefer radical systems where everything is uniform. He has a tendency to like symbols and images that are rather stock- the columns at his coronation three years ago comes to mind- and he appears at times to only see two colors to every situation- black/white, rich/poor, oppressed/oppressor, etc. Romney seems pretty bland and doesn’t seem to embrace variety and mystery, but that may just be the suit and business-like approach masking his joy of traditional life. I have seen him with his family in a little more intimate setting, and in those setting he appears to laugh and joke around more and embrace the variety of life.
  3. President Obama says that he does not believe in classes and appears to embrace the anarchy of the Occupy Wall Street crowd- but in reality he believes very strongly in class systems and wants to control everything. In this case, his desire for civilized is conservative, although for him it is the sneering elitism that gives many conservatives a bad name. Romney also seems to enjoy order to society, and recognizes that classes that the world has broken in to. It is still debatable what his agenda will be as President with this.
  4. President Obama does not believe in private property- in a speech he gave last week, he said that people should be lucky that the government lets them keep property since without the governments actions no one would be able to do anything. On the other hand, Romney believes strongly in private property rights.
  5. President Obama embraces emotion and appeals to it, saying whatever he thinks will keep him in power regardless of whether those statements are true or not. He urges people to lose control and give in to their hate, anger, fear, and the dark side of the force and vote for him- his entire campaign is now built on these ideas. Romney on the other hand appears to be so tightly wound that he has all of his appetites and desires locked up and under control, and if he had his way, his speeches would be filled with policy and logic and reason and rarely appeal to emotion.
  6. President Obama believes that society must radically be altered now, and in every way possible he is doing so. Just last week he changed welfare rules, gutting legislation that was passed into law by Congress last decade- he can’t wait to pass legislation on the issues so has decided to rule through decree to remake the world into his progressive utopia. Romney though will move things very slowly, attempting to not rock the boat- that’s why many people think of him simply as a placeholder. But if he  simply took our nation back to where it was under Clinton/Bush and just held us there for 8 years, we’d be a lot better off than we are now.
As we can see, President Obama is not a conservative and Romney, perhaps surprisingly, is.

4 thoughts on ““Romney is a Conservative?”an essay by a Conservative Teacher

  1. Hmmm… I’m a pragmatist… I think of my beliefs in practical, measurable terms.

    For example… I believe in less government, lower taxes, less government control of citizen’s lives, capitalism, free markets, self reliance and fiscal responsibility… among other things.

    I think of all that as defining a conservative thinker, but none of them are listed above.

    “Ordered liberty” is to obtuse a concept for my mind. 😦

  2. Romney-vs-Obama: 6-0.
    Therefore, every vote cast for Romney should count 6 times more than every vote cast for Obama.

  3. I would have written the article with a different set of requirements for a person to be a conservative.

    Iit is not that these criteria are wrong, but I see multiple levels of conservatism. For example, I am a fiscal and economic conservative, advocating the freedom and power of markets. I am a social liberal, up to a point.

    I have no problem with gay marriage. The only problem I have with universal health care is that those dummies in Washington are implementing it incorrectly. It should be like universal auto liability insurance that all the states have, and for pretty much the same reasons.

    For a person to be politically conservative, I don’t think you can be an economic liberal. It is the economics that defines a person’s politics.

    I believe that most politically liberal people are, first, socially liberal, and most of those people are economically illiterate. Even Obama fits in, there.

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