Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Event Blogging: In Search of Unity: Fiscal Conservatives and Social Conservatives Myths and Facts by Joseph Ben-Ami

Conservatives refers to the conservative movement not the political party. Political parties exist to get elected and stay elected. They have to balance policy and popularity. While these are necessary, they exclude pure conservativism which only independent conservatives can fully embrace. Liberal also refers to the ideology not the party. There is no single definition of conservativism. It is not a set of doctrines but flows from an examination of first principles. No idea has been more damaging than the division between social and fiscal conservatives and the belief that they have different, if not incompatible, beliefs. Conservatives are not like beer, to be tolerated in moderation. People call themselves progressive conservatives to indicated fiscal or limited conservatives, as opposed to social conservatives.

Consider two big issues. Deficits for fiscal conservatives. Marriage for social conservatives. They seem to be completely unrelated. The ideas however find their source in a government which is too big economically and too overreaching as a social activist. Most problems in society comes from government getting too involved and too all encompassing. Is there a possibility that voter apathy can be related to the fact that government is everywhere so it is no longer significant?

Our common goal is to restrain government. While we have different concerns this is our point of intersection. Socons are concerned with the moral conscience of a nation. They may be susceptible to believing that the state should be proactive in this role but thoughtful conservatives believe that the moral conscience of the nation should be church and family. The state should be limited so that it doesn't encroach. We shouldn’t change the government so much as limit it so it doesn't limit us.
Socons should be more interested in fiscal conservativism because a big government is related to having money to spend.

Fiscal conservatives should be interested in socon because the erosion of the natural family is related to issues like demographics which has an impact on social programs. Conservatives should be interested in matters of healthcare and social security. The purely economic consequences of the breakdown of the family is incalculable.

The character of the nation is formed in the family which has an impact on economics because that is where they learn things about hard work and money sense.

We have a symbiotic relationship so we should cooperate instead of snipping at each other.

To summarize, there is much room for diversity within the conservative movement. But within that diversity there is much philosophical unity. Belief in small government, low taxes, personal accountability, liberty. Liberty is not an American copyright. The American revolution was a revolution because they didn't have their rights as Englishmen, which is our common heritage.

Q: I have trouble understanding how social conservatives and fiscal conservatives can agree in areas such as child labour which may be a fiscal benefit but a social problem?
A: The short answer is that it is a very complicated issue. I believe that it hurts our economy to ship jobs overseas to places where they use child labour and human rights violators. Just because something is profitable doesn't mean that it should be done. This is why we should have a synthesis between social and fiscal conservatives so that there is a conscience to fiscal conservativism.
Foreign policy is a more complicated issue but there should be a moral component and socons need to engage, not isolate themselves.

Q: Two big issues for Americans are hate crimes and healthcare. There are alternatives in America and healthcare is a freedom issue. Canadian socons don't address or even believe in private healthcare.
A: There are many good outcomes and many bad outcomes from the Canadian healthcare. The Americans don't understand the implications of government healthcare. There are many pressures coming and it will mean healthcare cost cuts. The inevitable outcome is rationing which can have profound moral implications.

Q: People who are fiscal conservatives may have a different worldview which doesn't want the moral side. Christian worldview can have both but the insertion of a secular worldview introduces the split.
A: Yes there is an issue of worldviews. The fact that we have different worldview doesn't preclude cooperation. We should look past motivations to goals. I think that there is a moral component to deficits and putting burdens on children.

Q: Should there be a role for government in regulating medical issues because autonomy won't automatically bring about good morals.
A: Abortion is a point of unity because fiscal and moral conservatives don't want government funding of abortions which is a good thing. When the government makes the decisions they could make the decision to impose a moral code but they aren't. So at least in the States the government doesn't fund abortion which is better than the Canadian system.

Q: What is your policy approach to try to bring them together.
A: This is one small step towards doing it. That is a question for individuals, particularly.

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