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  • VIDEO: Students Debate Conservatism's Shared Values

    During his 1964 acceptance speech, Barry Goldwater described his movement to the audience with these words:

    This party, with its every action, every word, every breath and every heartbeat has but a single resolve, and that is freedom — freedom made orderly for the Nation by our constitutional government; freedom under a government limited by the laws of nature and of nature’s God; freedom — balanced so that order, lacking liberty, will not become a slave of the prison cell; balanced so that liberty, lacking order, will not become the license of the mob and the jungle.

    While the modern conservative movement has long been a compilation of like-minded ideologies, getting them to put aside their small differences and focus on common goals has always been a challenge. Dr. Lee Edwards describes how these different factions came together around common, fundamental ideas to stand united against the communist and socialist menaces of their time. Senator Goldwater’s statement above succinctly summarizes this fusion. On July 14th, two Heritage Foundation interns and two libertarian interns added their own perspectives to the ongoing debate over the fusion of their two schools of conservative thought.

    Though there were points of contention in the hour-long debate sponsored by America’s Future Foundation and Students for Liberty, the same shared beliefs that have held the conservative coalition together for the past 50 years also appeared. According to Dr. Edwards, Frank S. Meyer, the preeminent fusionist in the modern conservative movement, described these shared beliefs as:

    • They accept “an objective moral order of immutable standards by which human conduct should be judged.
    • Whether they emphasize human rights and freedoms or duties and responsibilities, they unanimously value the human person” as the center of political and social thought.
    • They oppose liberal attempts to use the State “to enforce ideological patterns on human beings.
    • They reject the centralized power and direction necessary to the planning” of society.
    • They join in defense of the Constitution as originally conceived.
    • They are devoted to Western civilization and acknowledge the need to defend it against the messianic intentions of Communism.

    Presently, the nation faces a threat larger than the subtle differences which caused the clash in the intern debate. Congress continues to increase the size of government and the people’s dependence upon bureaucratic institutions. The President continues to redistribute wealth and judges continue to legislate from the bench. If the movement splinters, or if any particular conservative faction believes it will be better alone, the nation will likely fail to address these invasions of the individual’s autonomy with sound conservative solutions.

    The type of discourse seen during the intern event is important for further exploration of the shared principles of both ideologies, but in a time when the shared ideals of libertarians and conservatives are under attack from outside forces, all friends of liberty must work together to ensure that the freedom, safety and happiness we experience today will be there for our children in the years to come.

    Daniel Anderson is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to VIDEO: Students Debate Conservatism's Shared Values

    1. Billie says:

      The kool-aid's been going around, eh? whew…

    2. Dennis Georgia says:

      When one looks at the statement that obama made, “spread the wealth” one has to look at the same statement made by communist leaders as they took controll of the people. They have all said that the wealth needed to be spread among the poorest people. Well when that happened, because the people were lead down the prim rose path, the country eventually failed. Will we allow this to happen in America, or will we as citizens stand up and fight this take over by going to the polls and voteing the thugs out in the street???? I hope we vote.

    3. Judy, Washington says:

      "Spread the wealth" to Obama means take America's wealth and send it to other countries; he just sent 23 million to Kenya

    4. Sara Scarlett, Washi says:

      I'm sorry but from where I'm standing all this blog post amounts too is "let's all shut up and vote the same way".

      Libertarians are angry with Conservatives. Rewatching that debate I had no idea that speech would come out with such vitriol. I surprised myself with how angry I was. But I was right to be seething, in the last decade fusionism has been dreadful for Libertarians. If we don't want to associate with you it's because our previous association with you has been so bad for us from an image point of view and tactically has got us nowhere.

      It's all very well you citing Barry Goldwater but current Republican party politicians are clearly not of the same ilk and haven't been for decades. The Tea Party movement shouldn't exist. It does because the Republican party has embraced authoritarian statism with gusto, perhaps, irreversibly. A generation needs to come and go before it can ever be anything else.

      Since you appear to stand for neither economic freedom nor personal liberties, I suggest you continue to mull over your present situation before you start to issue demands. American Libertarians would be better off partaking in non-violent direct action than getting involved with the mainstream political process via the Republican party for the forseeable future at least (!)

    5. Clint Townsend, Dent says:

      As a libertarian I am thoroughly offended that you consider libertarians part of the "two schools of conservative thought." We are not your subsidiary movement. We are a distinct and independent philosophy. But it is flattering that conservatives are making overtures towards libertarians. It's recognition that libertarians have deserved for decades. I for one will not allow for my movement to be further co-opted by illiberal forces. And stop trying to act like Hayek is in the conservative camp. That's sooo intellectually dishonest. Goodness.

    6. Billie says:

      Thank you to the conservative girl who, under immense pressure from the loud mouth libertarian, who clearly used the dereliction of democrats as conservatives. I pity those who have no individual thought, easily confused, and marred with the ugly illness of defamation to SPIN.

    7. Wes in Cincy says:

      Although there may be violence and riots when the far-left feel they are losing the fight, there are groups of them that don't have a problem doing that, freedom loving people must persevere in removing this menace from America's future. If we don't, America will not have a future.

    8. Sara Scarlett, Londo says:

      Dan, thank you for continuing the debate. However, this post basically amounts to telling libertarians to 'shut up and vote Republican'. You may want to ask yourself, why, if the Republican party are so obviously the place for libertarians, are they increasingly disinclined to vote for them? One obvious reason could be that the GOP has not stayed to true to the values you cites as being those shared with Libertarians e.g.:

      "They oppose liberal attempts to use the State “to enforce ideological patterns on human beings."

      Fusionism has not done the Libertarian movement any favours. It has damaged the image of Libertarians and not amounted to any gains in the libertarian position. If Libertarians are now angry with Republicans/Conservatives it is perfectly understandable.

      You cite Goldwater but it is clear that the Republican politicians of today are not of the same ilk. The Tea Party, a movement largely motivated but the desire for economic freedom, exists because the GOP has drifted towards big statism. I think this drift is, perhaps, irriversable. At least for generation.

      Libertarians would be better off trying to affect the political process through non-violent direct action that through the mainstream political process. Libertarians should also try and forge relationships with the socially libertarian left just as much as with the economically libertarian right.

    9. Billie says:

      “They oppose liberal attempts to use the State “to enforce ideological patterns on human beings.”

      If you are free and able to think for yourself Sara, why would anybody support this under government? That is absolutely overreaching, pathetic and highly unnecessary. For what purpose is this for, of and by the people, Sara. If there is an interest, it would be taken up by the private sector, at their cost, not the unknowing government obligated tax payers expense.

      The libertarian representatives damaged themselves. Especially after seeing this video.

    10. Sara Scarlett, Londo says:

      Billie, what are you talking about? Conservatives say they don't want to 'enforce ideological patterns on human beings' but nothing of what I've seen in Conservatives in power has proved anything otherwise. In fact it was supported vehemently by Conservatives under the last Conservative president of the United States. Enforcing a Conservative ideological pattern upon human beings is just as illegitimate as enforcing a liberal ideological pattern upon human beings. Until you realise that we have nothing in common.

    11. Billie says:

      Really? I only watched some of the video…

    12. Sara Scarlett, Londo says:

      I would love to continue this battle of wits… but I dont' fight with unarmed men.

      Have a nice day.

    13. Sara Scarlett, Londo says:

      Still not entirely sure what you're talking about, Billie. As much as I would love to continue this battle of wits, I don't fight with unarmed men!

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