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Conservatism's History Of True Small Govt

jat93
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1/24/2012 12:23:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This is a response to 000ike's thread on how conservatism is never actually for small government, and in part a rejection of it. Ike looked at Reagan and Nixon to prove that "conservative presidents always run under economic non-interventionism, but its all a lie. When something goes wrong, when the economy tanks, you go running back to Keynes to make it all better again."

Yes, this is undeniably true of Republicans and "conservatives" in modern times. And Nixon and Reagan are perfect examples. George W Bush is an even better one - unprecedented debts and deficits growing by leaps and bounds, a rapidly expanding police state, more government controlled education, and a "big government" foreign policy that totally betrayed the more non-interventionist one that got him elected in 2000.

However, ike totally ignores the fact that the Republican Party has a very strong libertarian, or, truly small government, tradition.

See President Calvin Coolidge, perhaps the greatest example of a truly small government conservative. He cut taxes, reduced federal expenditures, and also significantly reduced the national debt. By 1927, only the richest 2% of taxpayers paid any federal income tax. Federal spending remained flat during Coolidge's administration, allowing one-fourth of the federal debt to be retired.

On foreign policy, he was very reluctant to enter into foreign alliances. The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 was an international effort to "renounce war, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another." It can thus be said that Coolidge generally adhered to a non-interventionist foreign policy. Certainly, he was not a war mongerer.

As Coolidge would later say while reflecting on his Presidency, "perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business."

See the Old Right, a group of conservatives and libertarians in the 1930s–1960s who supported a non-interventionist foreign policy and limited government. They were united in opposition to the New Deal. One of the group's most prominent members was Robert Taft, son of President William Taft. At the time, Taft was nicknamed "Mr. Republican." Yes, in the 1950s, the chief representative of American conservatism was for limited government domestically and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

See Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee in 1964. His book The Conscience Of A Conservative has influenced countless conservatives, and arguably laid the foundation for the "Reagan Revolution" in 1980. During the 1960s, he was known as "Mr. Conservative". Goldwater is credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the '60s. His views can be described as libertarian.

See the platform Ronald Reagan was elected on in 1980. "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." - Reagan's first inaugural address in 1981. As ike correctly stated, Reagan ended up totally betraying those small government principles, but he was elected on a very libertarian sentiment. Reagan promised significantly lower taxes, called for a drastic cut in "big government" programs, and pledged to deliver a balanced budget for the first time since 1969.

Even see the relatively non-interventionist foreign policy GWB was elected on in 2000. He spoke of being a "humble nation" that does not engage in "nation-building," the exact terms that Ron Paul constantly uses when discussing his small government foreign policy.

And most recently see the Tea Party movement, specifically the original one before it was hi-jacked by the Republican establishment. They focused on economic freedom - reducing our monstrous debt being priority #1 - and in general, getting the government out of our personal lives. There was also a distinct faction of non-interventionists as well, who wanted to focus on solving our problems at home... not entangling alliances and fiscally irresponsible endless wars abroad.

So you see, though the Republican Party and conservatives haven't always stood for small government over the last century, it has been home to many legitimately conservative movements/groups. To say as Ike did that "conservatives are NEVER for small government" (just by using the examples of the Nixon and Reagan administrations) is utterly incorrect.
Reasoning
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1/24/2012 12:29:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Excellent post, Jat.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
inferno
Posts: 10,689
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1/24/2012 12:32:31 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/24/2012 12:23:10 PM, jat93 wrote:
This is a response to 000ike's thread on how conservatism is never actually for small government, and in part a rejection of it. Ike looked at Reagan and Nixon to prove that "conservative presidents always run under economic non-interventionism, but its all a lie. When something goes wrong, when the economy tanks, you go running back to Keynes to make it all better again."

Yes, this is undeniably true of Republicans and "conservatives" in modern times. And Nixon and Reagan are perfect examples. George W Bush is an even better one - unprecedented debts and deficits growing by leaps and bounds, a rapidly expanding police state, more government controlled education, and a "big government" foreign policy that totally betrayed the more non-interventionist one that got him elected in 2000.

However, ike totally ignores the fact that the Republican Party has a very strong libertarian, or, truly small government, tradition.

See President Calvin Coolidge, perhaps the greatest example of a truly small government conservative. He cut taxes, reduced federal expenditures, and also significantly reduced the national debt. By 1927, only the richest 2% of taxpayers paid any federal income tax. Federal spending remained flat during Coolidge's administration, allowing one-fourth of the federal debt to be retired.

On foreign policy, he was very reluctant to enter into foreign alliances. The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 was an international effort to "renounce war, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another." It can thus be said that Coolidge generally adhered to a non-interventionist foreign policy. Certainly, he was not a war mongerer.

As Coolidge would later say while reflecting on his Presidency, "perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business."

See the Old Right, a group of conservatives and libertarians in the 1930s–1960s who supported a non-interventionist foreign policy and limited government. They were united in opposition to the New Deal. One of the group's most prominent members was Robert Taft, son of President William Taft. At the time, Taft was nicknamed "Mr. Republican." Yes, in the 1950s, the chief representative of American conservatism was for limited government domestically and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

See Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee in 1964. His book The Conscience Of A Conservative has influenced countless conservatives, and arguably laid the foundation for the "Reagan Revolution" in 1980. During the 1960s, he was known as "Mr. Conservative". Goldwater is credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the '60s. His views can be described as libertarian.

See the platform Ronald Reagan was elected on in 1980. "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." - Reagan's first inaugural address in 1981. As ike correctly stated, Reagan ended up totally betraying those small government principles, but he was elected on a very libertarian sentiment. Reagan promised significantly lower taxes, called for a drastic cut in "big government" programs, and pledged to deliver a balanced budget for the first time since 1969.

Even see the relatively non-interventionist foreign policy GWB was elected on in 2000. He spoke of being a "humble nation" that does not engage in "nation-building," the exact terms that Ron Paul constantly uses when discussing his small government foreign policy.

And most recently see the Tea Party movement, specifically the original one before it was hi-jacked by the Republican establishment. They focused on economic freedom - reducing our monstrous debt being priority #1 - and in general, getting the government out of our personal lives. There was also a distinct faction of non-interventionists as well, who wanted to focus on solving our problems at home... not entangling alliances and fiscally irresponsible endless wars abroad.

So you see, though the Republican Party and conservatives haven't always stood for small government over the last century, it has been home to many legitimately conservative movements/groups. To say as Ike did that "conservatives are NEVER for small government" (just by using the examples of the Nixon and Reagan administrations) is utterly incorrect.

Conservative like Liberals tell lies. That is the nature of politics. Big gov, small gov. They all tell lies.
jat93
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1/24/2012 12:46:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/24/2012 12:29:59 PM, Reasoning wrote:
Excellent post, Jat.

Why thank you. I was inspired to write it by your comment about Robert Taft, actually. I'm just stunned by how shortsighted people can be when it comes to basic facts about American politics. The vast, vast of people don't know that there was a time when the Republican Party was not dominated by neoconservatives (let alone what neoconservatives are).... But really, from the '20s till the '80s there was always some libertarian faction in the party, and it seems that Ron Paul is succeeding in bringing it back.
OberHerr
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1/24/2012 3:36:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
*Notices that absence of Liberals from the "Conservatives are NEVER for small government" thread*
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jat93
Posts: 1,440
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1/24/2012 7:19:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/24/2012 3:36:34 PM, OberHerr wrote:
*Notices that absence of Liberals from the "Conservatives are NEVER for small government" thread*

Indeed. 000ike has claimed that conservatives are never for small government repeatedly, and I have rejected that claim repeatedly. And extensively. He's never responded, so far as I'm aware. Hmmmmm....
Reasoning
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1/25/2012 2:08:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/24/2012 7:19:08 PM, jat93 wrote:
At 1/24/2012 3:36:34 PM, OberHerr wrote:
*Notices that absence of Liberals from the "Conservatives are NEVER for small government" thread*

Indeed. 000ike has claimed that conservatives are never for small government repeatedly, and I have rejected that claim repeatedly. And extensively. He's never responded, so far as I'm aware. Hmmmmm....

Denial is apparently not just a river in Egypt.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
16kadams
Posts: 10,497
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1/25/2012 9:04:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/25/2012 2:08:17 PM, Reasoning wrote:
At 1/24/2012 7:19:08 PM, jat93 wrote:
At 1/24/2012 3:36:34 PM, OberHerr wrote:
*Notices that absence of Liberals from the "Conservatives are NEVER for small government" thread*

Indeed. 000ike has claimed that conservatives are never for small government repeatedly, and I have rejected that claim repeatedly. And extensively. He's never responded, so far as I'm aware. Hmmmmm....

Denial is apparently not just a river in Egypt.

lol
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Wnope
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1/25/2012 9:06:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/24/2012 3:36:34 PM, OberHerr wrote:
*Notices that absence of Liberals from the "Conservatives are NEVER for small government" thread*

Do you really need help pointing to a single counter example in US History?