What we believe: conservatism and the Tea Party

Bill Whittle has long been one of my favorite PJTV commentators; his video essays are incisive, uncompromising, and closely reasoned, all done in sincere, good-natured, and polite style. He’s not a firebreather; he doesn’t have to be, because he knows what he’s talking about.

Bill has a new video on his own YouTube channel (ht: Hot Air) in which he provides a clear, simple statement of the essential tenets of American conservatism: a belief in limited government and free enterprise. It’s well-worth the ten minutes of your time to watch:

While I think “classical liberal” is more accurate than “conservative,” that’s an argument over terminology that just isn’t all that important these days. What truly is important is the message: limited government versus the all-powerful state and individual liberty versus tyranny. Whittle introduces our side of the argument beautifully, and I’d like to see this video posted widely across the blogosphere.

And I dare any progressive to post as simple, clear, and honest an explanation of their beliefs in response. No emotional appeals to being “for the children” allowed.

It would be illuminating.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

4 Responses to What we believe: conservatism and the Tea Party

  1. Taran says:

    This portrayal of conservatism is certainly sensible. Being someone that doesn’t have an allegiance to much else but the United States itself, I agree with most of what is said about conservatism – and yet, free enterprise has been running amok unchecked and implicitly demonstrating that the free enterprise spoken so highly of is a victim and requires the same checks and balances that society has on the individual level. I also believe that lobbyism is a problem where a check gets more points in a ‘democracy’ than a vote.

    The Tea Party movement, for better or worse, gets in its own way and ridicules itself in a lot of ways. The core concepts, while agreeable, don’t seem demonstrable. If the Tea Party voice were more akin to what is spoken of in that video, I’d be more open to what it has to say.

    As it is, between conservatives and liberals, I feel like that song:

    Clowns to the left of me
    Jokers to the right…

  2. Zachriel says:

    Excellent example of a simplistic strawman. First and foremost, Whittle compares progressive policies with communism.

    Whittle also ignores how unregulated markets have led to economic disaster in the past. He ignores the basic economics of how an economic stimulus works when markets fail. And though human nature is unchangeable, human institutions are subject to reform. Laws against slavery, discrimination and child labor, for instance. Laws regulating the quality of food and drugs, for another. Insurance for bank deposits. A safety net for the elderly. And so on. All successful, modern, industrial societies have such institutional structures in place.

    Finally, Whittle ignores the obvious contradictions with in the Tea Party itself, how xenophobia and racism within its midst have been ignored, how misplaced anger against “special privileges” for minorities has been provoked, and how the fervor for cutting taxes is never matched with realistic plans to cut spending.

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