The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

After the passing of the latest omnibus spending bill, many members of the pro-Trump right were eager to excoriate the Republican political establishment for needlessly capitulating. They are correct that the bill was terrible --- increasing discretionary spending in almost every single category---but the blame ought to fall equally on the leadership that drafted it and the president that signed it.

Nonetheless, this controversy led many populist Trump backers to echo a long-used talking point: “What has conservatism conserved?” In other words, what has the political right done to preserve American values or achieve policy ends? But the phrasing of the question belies a poor understanding of American conservatism.

The American conservative movement is a relatively new movement, and William F. Buckley defined it as fusionist: an alliance of free-market libertarians like F.A. Hayek and Henry Hazlitt, religious traditionalists like Russell Kirk, and ardent anti-communists like Whittaker Chambers. But why “conservative”? What were these people looking to “conserve”?

Liberalism.

Classical liberalism, a loose ideology of enlightenment values, natural individual rights, and free-market economics, was the ideological system these conservatives were looking to conserve from the progressive movement, who eventually appropriated the label of “liberal.” Progressives like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who thought the Constitution was a barrier to progress in the form of bigger government. While the conservative movement had traditionalists at its inception, the idea that the preservation of culture or identity was the primary goal of American conservatism is wrong.

But how effective has the American conservative movement been at preserving classical liberalism and limited government? Some commentators see American government and conclude that the conservative movement has failed at conserving limited government and that Trumpism, both in commitment to the man and the pseudo-ideology, is the only way for the right, because “he fights” even if not always for the right things. But the fact is that the conservative movement has been “fighting” since well before Donald Trump.

Writer Noah Rothman had a piece almost two years ago citing some examples of what the conservative movement has achieved over the past forty years.

The spread of originalist interpretation of the Constitution has been a major triumph of the conservative movement.

The spread of originalist interpretation of the Constitution has been a major triumph of the conservative movement. Once considered a solely conservative view of the law, that judicial philosophy has become mainstreamed: the US has come far since the defeat of Robert Bork. The Federalist Society is the best example of an “alternative institution,” developed as a competitor to mainstream liberal organizations, that has thrived, and indeed, the successes of the Trump administration regarding judicial appointments, from Gorsuch down, can be attributed to the work of the Federalist Society.

Similarly, the Republican Party has been effective in driving the lowering of tax rates over time. When Ronald Reagan took office, the top marginal tax rate was 70 percent: following the implementation of both of his major tax cuts (1981 and 1986), the top marginal tax rate was 28 percent. Since then, the top marginal tax rate has never gotten above 39.6 percent, despite 16 years of Democratic presidents since then. Even Senator Bernie Sanders is unwilling to propose shifting the top income tax bracket above 52 percent. This shifting of the Overton window on taxes ought not be forgotten.

The efficacy of Republicans in opposition in reducing spending is also overlooked. Bill Clinton did not enter the presidency a centrist, and instead sought to expand federal government spending (remember HillaryCare?). But it was the Republican congress, starting in 1994, that forced President Clinton to pass much needed reforms to welfare, and ultimately, while kicking and screaming, to balance the budget.

The stalwart opposition from the Republican Party under President Obama cannot be overlooked.

Under President Obama, too, both the Boehner establishment and the Tea Party were successful in stalling the growth of spending. After 2010, federal spending growth slowed to the point where spending actually declined over the years 2012 and 2013 for the first time since 1954. Not to mention Mitch McConnell’s blocking of Merrick Garland’s Supreme court nomination. The stalwart opposition from the Republican Party under President Obama cannot be overlooked.

Does the conservative movement have failings? Yes. The Republican Party only seems to make a stand against spending when in the opposition party, and spending often rises faster under Republican administrations. Similarly, they seem unwilling to take seriously the national debt and the coming entitlement crisis. However, the idea that the pre-Trump political right was a feckless organization incapable of fighting for conservative principles, and that the current president is someone to build a movement around rather than someone benefiting from the fixtures of a movement that well predates him is a fictitious creation of his most staunch backers.

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Alex Muresianu is a freshman at Tufts University studying economics, and a Young Voices Advocate. He is also a contributor for Lone Conservative.

There are new curriculum standards being implemented into schools throughout the nation for health classes that not only go far beyond what's appropriate for young children, but are entrenched in clear political biases, too. Under the standards, third-graders are taught about hormone blockers and endless gender identities, and topics get shockingly graphic for kids as young as 11. Some schools are even teaching their teachers and kids to ignore what parents have to say about these topics. And the worst part may be that many parents are completely unaware what their children are being taught.

Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, joined "The Glenn Beck Program" to explain exactly what you can ask at your next school board meeting to ensure this "horrifying" curriculum isn't being taught in your kid's school.

Watch the video clip below:

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It should come as no surprise that a newsworthy story receives more media coverage when released on a Monday than a Friday. The reason is in part due to a large number of news-consuming Americans checking out for the week to focus on their weekend plans rather than the news.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck shared information that President Joe Biden decided to release on Friday — when fewer people would notice — regarding the Climate Finance report. This report is marketed to Americans as "A Roadmap To Build a Climate-Resilient Economy." But Glenn believes the report to be Biden's Great Reset warning shot to banks.

In this clip, Glenn warned that if Americans don't stand together, in eight years we all indeed will own nothing. Watch the clip for the full story. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.



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On today's radio program, Glenn Beck was joined by Bill O'Reilly to discuss the top stories of the week.

For O'Reilly, the biggest story this week centered around someone mysteriously missing from mainstream media news reports today: Mark Zuckerberg. Specifically, O'Reilly said it's the 'scandalous' way the Facebook CEO spent nearly $420 million to influence the 2020 election — and did so successfully.

Watch the clip to hear the full conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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On Thursday's radio program, Grace Smith and her father, Andy, joined Glenn Beck on the phone and provided a first-hand account of Grace's refusal to wear a mask at school.

Smith, 16, began a maskless protest after her school district in Laramie, Wyoming, decided to implement a mask mandate. As a result, Grace received three suspensions, was issued two $500-citations, and was eventually arrested.

"How long were you in jail?" Glenn asked.

Grace said was taken to jail but was never booked nor was she was placed in a jail cell.

Glenn commended Grace's father, Andy, for raising such a "great citizen" and asked if it was Grace's idea to protest. Andy said it was Grace's idea, explaining that they took the position of arguing on the grounds of civil rights rather than the efficacy of wearing a mask.

Grace has since withdrawn from public school and started a home school program. She also told Glenn that she will continue to fight the school district, legally.

You can donate to Grace's legal fund here.

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Disclaimer: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID-19 and/or COVID vaccine related questions & concerns.

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