I need to start attending these Conservative Political Action Conference gatherings. It’s a veritable buffet of right wing idiocy just waiting to be chewed up. I’m still learning about what went on at the CPAC during the last week of February.
I was aware of the featured speakers like Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh, but it was just today I read about Jonathan Krohn.
Jonathan is the bright young wunderkind of the conservative movement.
He was not yet 14 when he asked the CPAC organizers for an opportunity to speak at their conference. He has already written a book “Define Conservatism” outlining his conservative “core values”. Isn’t that precious? Or is it precocious? Maybe it’s both.
You may wonder what his parents were like, for him to embrace the right wing at such a young age.
It seems Mom is conservative, but says, “Politics bore me”. Dad is a talk radio listener. So, it’s not entirely young Jon’s fault he’s been sucked into the Dark Side. It’s kind of sad seeing a smart kid raised by uninformed parents.
Heck, I don’t blame the kid. I was once a budding little right winger. I rebelled against my jazz musician father. I liked to hunt and fish and had no time to listen to jazz. When I was Jonathan’s age I loved reading WWI and WWII history and wanted to be pilot in the Marines. I was ready for glory.
Then I got sick with rheumatic fever and learned my vision was not good enough to be a military pilot.
Something else dissuaded my military ambitions. My older brother was sent to Vietnam in 1966. I saw the worry in my mother’s face every day he was over there.
I began to ask myself some serious questions. For what cause or reason could my brother possibly be killed in that little country so far away? The more I learned, the less I liked about that war.
Soon my interests developed elsewhere. Since I was not going to be a soldier, philosophy, music and literature began to occupy my time. I picked up a guitar and listened to the Beatles and the other anti-authoritarian voices of that era’s music. And I learned to love jazz.
But I digress. I just wanted to point out there’s hope for this intelligent young lad. Maybe he doesn’t have anyone close enough to talk to him about the other side. Perhaps he needs a kindly old Uncle Dave to sit with him for a while to help clear a few things up.
The first thing I’d do is praise little Jon for his speech at CPAC. I’d tell him of my speech to the American Legion. They kindly sponsored my trip to Boy’s State to learn about government. We could talk about how good it feels to be applauded by a bunch of conservative folks.
After that bit of bonding I would discuss the contents of his speech and his book.
He told the crowd he defined conservatism on “four categories of principle”.
They are respect for the Constitution, respect for life, less government, and personal responsibility.
He explained, “In the conservative viewpoint we believe that it’s principle based. It is the people first, the people’s rights based upon principled views. It is an ideology of protecting the people and the people’s rights.”
I would say to him, “Good for you. I like to see a principled young man who is concerned with protecting people and their rights. That’s what we liberals love about our Bill of Rights.”
Liberals also love democracy. Did you know conservatives don’t care so much about that? Here’s what American conservative movement leader Paul Weyrich said. "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
Then I would tell him about how the leaders of American conservatism were the most destructive force ever unleashed upon our Constitution. I would tell him about Habeas Corpus being one of America’s greatest legal principles, and how conservatism worked to eliminate it.
I would entertain him with stories about how conservative laws called The Patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act, and the FISA amendment represent the complete opposite of respect for the Constitution.
I would inform him of the Warner Defense Authorization Act and recent Bush Department of Justice memos giving the president dictatorial military powers over American citizens.
I would ask him how the conservatives’ embrace of the death penalty and wars without provocation is respect for life. Would opposition to health care access for 50 million Americans also be considered respect for life? It would seem conservative respect for life is focused primarily on the fetus. Where’s the respect for life after birth?
I would explain to him that for conservatives, less government means less regulation for Big Business, but more intrusion on personal life decisions.
I would ask him if he could show me any examples of personal responsibility from the Bush Administration’s lies, war, torture, politicizing of the Justice Department, and violations of the Fourth Amendment.
Then I’d ask him if he knew that liberals actually believe those principles, rather than using them to merely screen their true motives of greed and power over the majority of the American people.
I would ask Jon if he can see the politicians who espouse conservatism are the ones who are most enmeshed with corporatism. I’d point out to him that conservatism ALWAYS supports the interests of big money over the public’s needs. Every conservative initiative is directed at promoting corporate agendas to the detriment of people’s rights.
Conservatism, in effect, will always step on the little guy to make it easier for the big shots. Remember “promote the general Welfare” is the part of the Constitution’s preamble that conservatism disdains.
Finally I’d tell him about the conversation I had with my nephew last August. He’s an ambitious young businessman and he told me “all regulation is bad”.
The next month the financial world collapsed because the conservatives had stripped away all regulation.
I haven’t heard any more such talk from my nephew since.