It was during a 1988 vice-presidential debate that Lloyd Benson delivered his famous line concerning Dan Quayle when he said "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." Well, I didn't know Jack Kennedy but I do know conservative, and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is no conservative. Yet, Republicans everywhere - especially evangelical Christian Republicans - are hailing Mrs. Palin as the savior of the American conservative movement. But again, Sarah Palin is not really a conservative. She is pro-life, pro family and pro military, but that doesn't make her a conservative - at least not as the term should be defined. She also (apparently), accepts the biblical account of creation, rejects the foolishness of global warming and prefers skirts over pantsuits. Laudatory perspectives all but not criteria for conservatism.
To be a political conservative is to seek to conserve an earlier (and correct), approach to governing. The primitive view of government that conservatives claim to be concerned with is the constitutional government bequeathed us by our founding fathers. That form of government was actually an "anti-sovereignty" doctrine which rejected the idea of a sovereign state at any level. Indeed,
This anti-sovereignty doctrine, medieval in origin and Puritan in development, was transplanted from England to America. The Boston Tea Party was "the burial ...of the sovereignty of the State as far as America was concerned" (A.F. Pollard: Factors In American History). The English Middle Ages had no political sovereignty and Americans moved in terms of that tradition; "medieval English history is more theirs than the periods in which they had a separate history of their own; and instinctive memory has much to do with political thought and the writing of history" (Pollard). The colonists, with regard to taxation, law, and constitution wanted a "mediaeval restoration" in which "each estate or state made its own grant and was bound by that alone (Pollard).1
Thus to be a conservative is to believe in government which is strictly limited in size and scope. To be truly a conservative one must embrace the constitution and the constitutional principle of enumerated powers. The fact of the matter is that the federal government has no business meddling in the issues of abortion, marriage, consumption of alcoholic spirits and so on. Indeed, the federal government has no business spending tax dollars to study seals or lobsters either but Sarah Palin believes otherwise as long as it's all out in the open (that's like saying an office affair is okay as long as you tell your spouse). To believe that such nonsense is part of the responsibility of the federal government is a leftist pont of view. Period. Thus Sarah Palin is essentially a pro-life leftist.2 But then, everyone who is a viable candidate for national office is a leftist. All of them - whether running on the presidential ticket or making their play for the house or the senate - are leftists (except perhaps Texas congressman Ron Paul). All believe that the role of government is legislative rather than ministerial and that there is no power greater than the power of the national regime.3
Allow me to say it again; to be a conservative is to believe that we should conserve the intent of the constitution and the intent of our founding fathers. Unless Governor Palin is hiding her true conservative colors, it is clear that she is no more conservative than Obama, Biden or McCain. All of them believe in a big and ever expanding federal government. They all believe that the federal power should remain intimately involved in the lives of the American public through police control, welfare payments or legislative regulation . All of them believe that they have the right to trample the liberty and freedom of the average American in the name of preserving democracy. All of them believe that the United States should maintain and expand its imperial empire. None of them are running on the promise to eliminate the department of education, the department of housing and urban development, the department of homeland security, the IRS, the ATF and so on. None of them are campaigning on the promise to draw in our military reach and simply defend our national borders. None of them can conceive of a United States without a muscular central government which trumps all other government. Why? Because they firmly believe that they are part of a superior class. They are convinced that the average American is incapable of self government and that the true god of this world is centralized power. Sarah Palin is being characterized as "one of us" - a hockey mom who hunts moose and deals with the same problems as any housewife. That's all a bunch of bunk. She is a member of the leftist elite; an untutored, unsophisticated, backwoods member of the leftist establishment perhaps, but a player just the same.
We need godly men to run for political office; more than that we need godly men who understand government as defined by our constitution to run for office. It is not enough to be pro-life, to attend an evangelical church or to say that you want to cut taxes. The kind of candidates Bible believing Christians should support are those who understand the principles of our nation's constitutional government. To do otherwise is to betray our national heritage and encourage the current slide into tyranny.
1. Rousas J. Rushdoony, This Independent Republic, (1964, Fairfax: Thoburn Press, 1978), 36.
2. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihm, Leftism Revisited: From deSade and Marx To Hitler And Pol Pot, (Washington D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1990), for a good introduction to the true nature of leftism.
3. Rushdoony, 37.
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