Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Event Blogging The conservative movement at a crossroads: Building a Small-c conservative Movement

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

Joseph C. Ben-Ami
President of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies

Building a small-c conservative movement

What unites us, what divides us, and how can we overcome divisions.

He is glad we are talking about the conservative movement not the Conservative party. Political parties exist for only two reasons, is to get elected and stay elected. They have a policy they want to implement sure, but it is second to popularity and getting elected. We do need to take a sympathetic view towards the parties because they are working against that.

Flexibility and so forth are important qualities for any party in Canada. Whatever the good they do it does make them bad if they become the bastion of conservative ideals. An independent movement can lay out ideas even if they are not pragmatically possible for a political party.

Conservatism is not a set of doctrines but it is a way of examining first principles. This lack of unified doctrine has led to some very silly ideas about conservatives even within themselves.

One of the sillies ideas is that socons and fiscal cons are different and even incompatible. This leads to people clinging to terms like Progressive Conservative, when they mean that they are fiscal and not social conservatives.

Fiscal and socons are still not working together well. Same-sex marriage and deficits are two issues that fiscal and socons have focused on. These seem to be unconnected. The discerning observer will notice, however, that these have a common ground in the belief that the government is too big, expensive, and overreaching.

All of these issues are the footprint of the Leviathan failing schools, shortage of doctors, etc.

Our common goal should be to reduce the size of government and reduce it's power.

Socons will argue that liberty and freedom are cultural and we must retain that culture and social order if we want freedom. They think that government has a really proactive role in this.

Thoughtful socons think that this is the role of the family and church, not state. The state just has to respect the other institutions. They believe that the state is not working badly, but is doing too much. We must defend the church and family from the state.

Socons must understand fiscal issues and the connection between high taxes and high spending.

He directed his criticism at socons because he is a socon but he is also an equal opportunity critic.

Fiscals should realize that the erosion of family is not just a socon issue, declining birthrates have an economic impact on healthcare and the workforce which affects fiscal issues. The economic issues related to breakdown of the family should worry fiscals.

Family is the first level of government. They train children in hard work, thrift, fiscal responsibility, etc. Where else will they learn this?

Child poverty is a real fiscal problem, but you cannot deal with child poverty without dealing with family breakdown which is the main issue.

Just as socons have an interest in fiscal issues, so fiscals have an interest in social issues.

There is much room for diversity with the conservative movement and party, but there is a great degree of unity if we look past the surface.

Small government, low taxes, and personal responsibility are important for all conservatives.

We need to end our internal struggles and work to control the Leviathan.

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