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.

We just came insanely close to a major incident

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A Russian military plane was just shot down over the coast of Syria. Fifteen Russians were killed. The Russian I L 20 turboprop plane was conducting electronic reconnaissance when it suddenly came under attack by what was called at the time quote "enemy missiles."

Now before everyone starts freaking out… we neither did this nor are we being blamed for it. I think you can imagine the worldwide freak out that would be ensuing right now had this been an accident between the U.S. and Russia. Just imagine if they would have inadvertently shot down one of our planes and killed fifteen of our boys. We'd be calling for blood.

RELATED: Between Russia, Syria, the UN and Trump's tweets --- we could be on the brink of a nasty war

But we had absolutely nothing to do with this and that's not in dispute. So where did these, as the Russians described it, "enemy missiles" come from? It turns out Russia's plane was actually shot down by their ally… the Assad Regime. A Syrian S-200 battery hit the plane as it was returning to a military base used by the Russians in Northern Syria.

But we're not completely out of the woods here, and this is where it gets both interesting and maybe even a little scary. At the same time the Syrian missiles were taking out Russia's plane, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets were striking targets near the Russian base in Northern Syria. Russia is livid. They're calling Israel's actions a quote "deliberate and hostile provocation." The implication here is that the Israeli jets were masking their position behind the Russian plane, in effect using it as cover to commence their bombing run.

The downing of this plane is a tragic accident, but it also shows how dangerously close the world is to a major confrontation.

But as the Russians are accusing Israel of using one of its planes as cover, Iran is doing the exact same thing with their forces near Russian military bases. Russian assets are among some of the most heavily protected areas in Syria. They're the hardest to penetrate. Iranian forces from the Iranian Republican Guard Corps and Hezbollah, are basing their troops - with Russia's approval - near Russian bases. It's the perfect protection and security guarantee for Iran to operate inside Syria… directly on Israel's border.

The downing of this plane is a tragic accident, but it also shows how dangerously close the world is to a major confrontation. The situation in Syria is not sustainable. Iran wants control over Syria and Russia is helping them do it. Israel knows this and can not let that happen. If this course is maintained, this incident surely won't be the last. If Russia begins actively targeting Israeli jets from striking Hezbollah and Iranian forces, how long do you think Israel will allow that? How long will we allow that? This situation is a powder keg. Anything can set it off.

Well that escalated quickly

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In just four days, Christine Ford went from anonymous letter-writer to willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Christine Ford is the California psychology professor who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982.

RELATED: Confirming Kavanaugh: Welcome to the #MeToo era

It's a serious accusation, which Kavanaugh unequivocally denies. In a statement yesterday, Kavanaugh said:

I have never done anything like what the accuser describes – to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.

Kavanaugh says he is willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee, even though he already spent four marathon days in the hot seat, where Democrats had every opportunity to grill him about this.

Now, Christine Ford's lawyer says Ford is also "willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth," even if that means testifying before the committee. Democrats are also willing to do whatever it takes to tell her story, which is probably why we're hearing about it in the first place.

Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, escalated the rhetoric yesterday, calling Kavanaugh's alleged assault, "attempted rape." Katz seems very convinced by Ford's story. But she wasn't as convinced by one of Bill Clinton's accusers in the 1990s. Katz told The New York Times in 1998 that she didn't think Paula Jones had a case.

The #MeToo movement can be a very one-way street sometimes.

She also excused Al Franken's alleged misbehavior because he wasn't a senator at the time of the incident. Interesting. The #MeToo movement can be a very one-way street sometimes.

For now, Judiciary Committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, says the committee's vote on Kavanaugh will go forward this Thursday. But not if Senate Democrats can help it. They were out in force yesterday, calling to delay the vote – at least until they have full control of Congress. You know, desperate times, desperate measures.

The Dalai Lama is a cisgender racist

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At this point, I would fully expect the social just left to start chanting about how fruit is racist. Scratch that. I'm sure they've already made that claim, I just don't even want to look it up to see how bad it is. Recently they blamed President Trump for Hurricane Florence, you know, an act of nature that cannot be controlled by any single person, even if he is the President of America. And now, they're setting their sights on (shuffles deck of cards featuring famous people) the Dalai Lama! Wait, the Dalai Lama?

RELATED: There is no truth anymore

Can you believe we've gotten to this point? That people are actually calling the Dalai Lama a white supremacist and a Nazi? The Dalai Lama. The man with "His Holiness" in his title. He won a Nobel Peace Prize back when winning the Nobel Peace Prize actually went to peaceful people. In 1989, Time Magazine named him one of the "Children of Mahatma Gandhi" and his spiritual heir to nonviolence. His last book is called "The Book of Joy." This does not sound like a Nazi to me.

His crime? He made this statement about the refugees in Europe:

I think Europe belongs to the Europeans. ... Receive them, help them, educate them … but ultimately they should develop their own country.

Adding that:

Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany. There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.

And that:

From a moral point of view, too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily. The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.

Maybe instead of ramping up the blood pressure dial and going into full outrage mode we should listen to the man, or at least consider what he has to say. He is, after all, the Dalai Lama.

Confirming Kavanaugh: Welcome to the #MeToo era

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Welcome to the #MeToo era of Supreme Court justice confirmation.

Last Thursday, Senator Dianne Feinstein disclosed the existence of a secret letter, written by an anonymous woman alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school in the 1980s.

Yesterday, there was a major twist in this story that everyone who follows Leftist strategy should've seen coming: the anonymous woman suddenly revealed herself to be Christine Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist at Palo Alto University in Northern California. She's a registered Democrat and has donated to political organizations. But she pinky-swears that it has nothing to do with her coming forward with this story just one week before the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Kavanaugh.

RELATED: THIS is the man plotting to stand in Brett Kavanaugh's way of the Supreme Court

Christine Ford spilled the exclusive beans to The Washington Post because they believe that "Democracy dies in darkness." And of course, if there's anything that Kavanaugh hopes to accomplish on the Supreme Court, it's murdering democracy.

Ford told The Post that during a high school party, a drunk Brett Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, groped her, and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming.

She said:

I thought he might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.

There is no indication that she reported such a harrowing attack to the police.

Kavanaugh unequivocally denies the accusations. The White House released a letter signed by 65 women who say they knew Kavanaugh in high school and vouch for his character. But it won't matter. The Democrats will get their circus this week and Kamala Harris and Cory "Spartacus" Booker will get their chance to remind everyone to vote for them for president in 2020 because only Democrats like women.

It's virtually impossible to prove or disprove her claim. But the political timing of the story drains its credibility.

Christine Ford might be telling the absolute truth about this incident with Kavanaugh. She might also be making up the whole thing for politics sake. Problem is, it's virtually impossible to prove or disprove her claim. But the political timing of the story drains its credibility. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the federal bench by the Senate in 2006. Where was Ford's dramatic story then?

Last year this worked to de-rail Roy Moore's senate campaign, so why not try the same tactic with Kavanaugh? Especially since it perfectly serves the Left's narrative that Kavanaugh plans to destroy women's rights.

Truth doesn't stand a chance when it's up against this kind of hysteria.