Will The Real Conservatives Please Stand Up?

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

In
Monday's Washington Post, GOP factotum Grover Norquist,
who runs an outfit called Americans for Tax Reform, tells the public
what conservatives think, and how they can incrementally achieve
their program.

Funny
thing is, real conservatives don't think many of the things Norquist
says, not least of which is that you can change Washington slowly,
by evolution.

Poseurs
have hijacked the word u201Cconservative,u201D and not just when it comes
to domestic policy. Internationalist, interventionist foreign policy
ideas now travel under the conservative label.

Norquist’s
Piece

The
Norquist epistle is of a piece with the run of u201Cconservativeu201D thinking.
Don't dismantle big government; take it over.

u201CThere
are five steps to a single-rate tax: Abolish the death tax [and]
… the capital gains tax, expand IRAs … full expensing of business
investment … abolish the alternative minimum tax. Put a single
rate on the new tax base and you have Steve Forbes and Dick Armey’s
flat tax. Each of the Bush tax cuts … moves us toward fundamental
tax reform.u201D

u201CConservatives,u201D
he avers, u201Cwant to move to a flat-rate income tax for both economic
and political reasons.u201D

Granted,
a flat tax would be better than what we have now, but real conservatives
would abolish the income tax, not flatten it. This would enable
us to dismantle three-quarters of the unconstitutional federal regime.
But Norquist, like most of the conservative Beltway philosophes
these days, doesn't discuss the unconstitutional Leviathan.

Then
again, the Leviathan is only possible because of the income tax,
which is precisely why Norquist's Republican Party can never contemplate
scrapping it. The income tax pays for GOP dreams of u201Cnational greatness.u201D

But
let's go on: u201CThe Founding Fathers,u201D Historian Norquist writes,
u201Cgerrymandered the Senate for Republican control.u201D

What?
Maybe Norquist has been holed up inside the Beltway so long the
real history of the Republic has been erased from his head, if anyone
ever bothered to pencil it in. The founders did not u201Cgerrymanderu201D
the Senate for the GOP. The Republican Party did not exist in 1787.

Real
conservatives know and love history. They respect it. They study
history and learn from it. The Norquist conservatives don't bother
with it. They mostly study the Washington Times commentary
section and the latest u201Cbackgroundersu201D from The Heritage Foundation.

The
War Lovers

Norquist
isn't the only faux conservative out there.

Others
are the boosters of the trumped-up war against Iraq, the one we
fought because Saddam Hussein had u201Cweapons of mass destruction.u201D
American troops, by the way, have not found them.

These
u201Cconservativesu201D envision America rolling over Iran and Syria, winning
what they call World War IV. They run the Bush Administration, and
compose most of the mob of u201Cconservativeu201D newspaper columnists and
radio big mouths, from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Charles
Krauthammer and the ubiquitous Bill Kristol.

Time
was, America did not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy;
we were well wishers of liberty everywhere, but defenders only of
our own. Now, Leviathan destroys monsters from Indiana to Iraq,
u201Cimposingu201D liberty along the way.

And
u201Cconservativesu201D support it.

Call
Us Conservatives?

Some
of us weary of Norquist and his u201Creformistu201D Mafia telling the world,
falsely, what an American conservative is. Maybe it's time to call
ourselves something else, such as Constitutionalists.

But
maybe not.

Norquist
and Co. can use the name, but it changes nothing about them, and
nothing about us.

June
11, 2003

Syndicated
columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.

R.
Cort Kirkwood Archives


     

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare