Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New York's Conservative Party Belongs in Yesterday's Trash

I dislike the label "conservative" when applied to people who believe in freedom and in life. The debate between laissez faire liberals and mercantilists goes back to the 18th century. Advocated by Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, and David Hume, mercantilism was an earlier doctrine than laissez faire. Adam Smith wrote in response to Shaftesbury just as Locke wrote in response to Filmer, who advocated the divine right of kings.  David Hume was the source of Alexander Hamilton's belief in a central bank and in government intervention in the economy. Hence, state activism with respect to the economy is an older doctrine than laisser faire, which has always been a radical response to the failure of traditional (i.e., conservative) doctrines like monarchy, state intervention in the economy and central banking.

More important with respect to today's Conservative Party in New York is that the purpose for its very existence has been obviated.  The Conservative Party was founded for two conceivable reasons: (1) the dominance of corporatist, big government Republicans, so-called "Rockefeller Republicans," in New York's Republican Party and (2) the pro-choice platform of many Republicans.  Some Republicans are pro-choice and some are pro-life.  The Conservatives were presumably aiming to define themselves as "social" as well as economic "conservatives" and so offer a position consistent with the Catholic Church's and the various Protestant denominations' that are pro-life.

In 2010 the Conservative Party, led by Mike Long, chose to nominate Rick Lazio over at least two superior alternatives (there were likely more; virtually anyone I know would have been a superior alternative to Rick Lazio): Steve Levy and Carl Paladino.  The Conservatives' and GOP's backing of Lazio removed Levy, who lacked the resources for an independent bid.  The Conservative Party and the Republican Party memberships had the opportunity yesterday to redeem their parties from, respectively, the Rockefeller Conservatives and the Rockefeller Republicans, who are eager for jobs and corrupt bonuses from big government.  The GOP membership showed that it is fundamentally "conservative" in the sense that I don't like using the word.  The Conservative Party members showed that it is less "conservative" than the GOP.

Although much press has been given to "Rockefeller Republicans" much less has been given to "Rockefeller Conservatives."  Yet, it is clear that under Mike Long's leadership the Conservatives have veered to the left and are now more "liberal" (another inappropriate term) than the GOP.   So who needs a Conservative Party?

The Conservative Party is creating a serious problem.  The "conservative" candidate, who is pro-life and for small government, is running on the GOP line but not on the conservative line.  The Conservative Party has reserved their line for a pro-choice, big government advocate, Rick Lazio.  The Conservatives are proving that corrupt motivations rather than an interest in liberty or in life is are enough to determine their nominations.   Conservative Party members might consider that by belonging to it they are harming the cause of "conservatism."

Yesterday's election proved that the GOP is more conservative than the Conservative Party.  It was enough to consign Mike Long and the Conservative Party to the trash bin of history.

1 comment:

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