Saturday, September 17, 2011

When a conservative is not really…

Have you ever run across someone who declares himself a conservative only to discover that his definition and yours are miles apart?

A central component to my definition of conservatism is a federal government of the smallest possible size necessary to carry out its limited constitutional responsibilities efficiently and effectively.  National defense and facilitation of international trade are the two major responsibilities of the federal government.   Most other functions are the responsibility of the state, county, city, neighborhood, or family units.

I have discovered that there are other self-described conservatives who have a different view.  Their belief is that as long as a government agency is run efficiently and effectively, then it has a legitimate role in whatever function it finds itself performing.   It matters not whether that function is appropriate to that level of government.   Only the poorly run departments and agencies are worthy of elimination.  But if there is a federal agency that is doing a bang up job, even though that job is legitimately not a constitutional requirement of the federal government and best performed at a level of government closer to the people, then hallelujah, that federal role is peachy keen.

This reminds me of the leadership adage that compares the role of a leader  to that of a manager.  A manager does things well.  A leader does the right things.

The federal government should not be given the opportunity to do the WRONG things well.

With that view of “conservatism”  an efficiently and effectively performing federal bureaucracy could make state and local governments obsolete.  Maybe even make the family unit obsolete – which is precisely the direction we are headed. 

With conservatives like that, who needs progressives, socialists, communists, or fascists?

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