Saturday, May 03, 2008

Is Obama the True Conservative?

We at Albany Catholic do not endorse candidates. We do however, like to keep our readers well-informed. With that in mind, we pass along the following item. The March 24, 2008 issue of The American Conservative had an interesting article entitled The conservative case for Barack Obama by Andrew J. Bacevich, who writes:

Barack Obama is no conservative. Yet if he wins the Democratic nomination, come November principled conservatives may well find themselves voting for the senator from Illinois. Given the alternatives—and the state of the conservative movement—they could do worse.

Granted, when it comes to defining exactly what authentic conservatism entails, considerable disagreement exists even (or especially) among conservatives themselves. My own definition emphasizes the following:

- a commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that genuine freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint;

- a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law;

- veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship for Creation;

- a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements;

- respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of the market’s corrosive impact on humane values;

- a deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history.

Accept that definition and it quickly becomes apparent that the Republican Party does not represent conservative principles. The conservative ascendancy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan has been largely an illusion. During the period since 1980, certain faux conservatives—especially those in the service of Big Business and Big Empire—have prospered. But conservatism as such has not.

The rest of the article is available here.