By Daryl L. Hunter
Written in 1999 at a time of budget surplus and before I had learned the power of tax cuts for the economy.
Is conservatism defined by a conservative
thought process or by an established categorical check list? This is
a question I have
often asked myself. Spokesmen for conservatism reiterate repeatedly
about how conservatism is defined by tax cuts instead of paying down
the National Debt. I am told it is not conservative to advocate sustainable
yield timber harvests in our National Forests or to conserve portions
of our forest as wilderness.
Is conservatism defined by everyone
conserving one's own piece of the pie, thereby trumping conserving
I ask these questions as I try to define my position in the political
spectrum. As an advocate for smaller
government I must be a Conservative. As an advocate for the conservative
use of our national forests I must be a Liberal. As an advocate
for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other aggressive
but reasonable development of Alaska's natural resources I am a Conservative.
As an advocate for a balanced budget I must be a Conservative. As an
advocate for eliminating the National
Debt I am told I am a Liberal. As an advocate of school vouchers, gun
rights, elimination of the Department of Education, severe reduction
of socialism programs, advocating a moral agendum, spanking children
as needed, I am a Conservative. As an advocate of postponing major tax
cuts until the National Debt is brought under control, I am told
I am a Liberal. I am vehemently opposed to pushing a liberal social
agendum in our schools, a conservative position.
I fail to see
how advocating the expenditure of $350 billion annually for interest
for the "on budget" National
Debt (debt held by the public) is a conservative position. Especially
after you factor
in the additional $124 billion dollars in IOU's we write for the interest
for the "off budget" National Debt (debt owed to Social Security
Trust Fraud). "Conservatives" advocate perpetuation of the estimated
$475 Billion annual interest payment roughly one third of the gross
domestic product. It is my view that a conservative position on this
matter would advocate elimination of both on budget and off
budget National Debts, thereby reducing budgetary needs therefore,
taxes by roughly 33%, i.e., a smaller government.
This is my conundrum. Is Conservatism what is defined by a political
party, or is Conservatism conservative? I see my position as more consistently
conservative than party line Conservatism and the way I understand
it, party line Conservatives view me as Liberal because Moderates are
said to lean the way the wind blows not making strong stands on anything.
Conservatives are always for tax cuts and I am an extreme advocate
for debt reduction trumping immediate tax cuts, therefore not a moderate
I suppose that my Conservatism is a paradox as is the Conservatism
of the Conservative Movement.