Compassionate conservatism which is so in vogue in the US and Canada is about as coherent a philosophy as ‘Sensitive Socialism’. In fact CC and SS are largely the same thing, which should not surprise anyone. Apparently in Canada and the US, only so-called ‘Moderates’ get elected. This is an interesting concept. Who or what exactly is a moderate ? Is it a person who possesses no firm views, raises taxes to appease any and all, accumulates debt, never uses logic in policy, believes in politically correct dogma, supports the UNO and supports only minority rights and feminism ? Saying nothing, doing little and invoking tear jerking rhetoric on ‘values’, ‘the society we all want’, ‘international law’, and ‘respect for minorities’, might play well with the uninformed media elite, but it sounds like a load of twaddle to average voter.
In Canada CC is exemplified by Harper and in the US by Bush. Harper is moving so far to the left that he will soon become a negligible and forgotten politician. Bush on the other hand is a zealous reformer – at least in foreign affairs and on taxation. Whatever his many merits including higher IQ points than the insufferable John Kerry, a policy of doing what he says, a realistic assessment of winning the war on terror and reforming the middle east, and a certain knowledge that the EU and UNO are not allies but albatrosses, Bush has many trappings of CC. This is a pity. There is even a website incredibly enough http://compassionate.conservative.com/ dedicated to the musings of the USA’s Commander in Compassion. Bush should drop CC and lead from realism not socialism.
Bush’s CC has been developed by Martin Olasky, a professor and of course former Marxist, who is the foremost intellectual of CC [and author of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’]. Olasky has 7 basic ideas [from A to G], in defining CC, which are: Assertive [citizens taking control], Basic [subsidiarity ie implement ideas locally], Challenging [welfare with results], Diverse [freedom of faith], Effective [bottom line results from programs], Faith-based (not always but often), and Gradual [see what works or does not over time].
Olasky maintains that these nice words and ideas are not socialism or statism writ large, but actually are based on individual assertiveness and strength. Maybe they are but I doubt it. These words are philosophies of the mind and of culture, and are not concrete beliefs, programs or concepts. They are nothing more than abstract notions that are neither innate to Conservatism or any other philosophy for that matter. They are metaphysical musings that might inform some policies but certainly should not control an entire political platform. I see no difference between CC and Liberals. Left libs are also CC’s - in tight blue pants – the only difference is that Libs might be even better than CC’s in spending more money.
Bush’s Inaugural speech was great in many areas – but in CC it was a failure. Tax cuts are being made permanent and this will stimulate the economy and investment. Supply side economics however is being overshadowed by liberal economic Keynesianism, and massive budgets for each and every group with their hands out crying for more. Bush maintains that he will reduce or shut 150 government programs. But the growth of government spending continues apace. You can’t cut taxes, fight a war, and still increase the overall budget spend. It makes no sense. Entire departments need to be closed and the US needs to reduce its budget spend not increase it by inflation. Tax cuts are mandatory but so is the shrinking of government.
Here are some spending facts that the CC’s don’t publicize:
-Education spending in the US under the CC’s has gone up by 60 %
-Spending on labor by 56 %
-Department of the Interior [not Homeland Security] 25 %
-Medicare reform = $400 billion
-Agricultural subsidies an extra $10 billion per year
-Steel tariffs [now revoked], Beef and Lumber tariffs [billions in economic costs and higher prices]
CC is a bust. If CC means spending other people’s money to appease interest groups, farm lobbies, industrial lobbies, or expanding inert bureaucracies like Education, then it is a contradictory and unsustainable philosophy.
As well I don’t see much Compassion in foreign affairs. We should be thankful for this. In foreign affairs you don’t win wars, reform the cesspool of the Middle East, drag freedom hating Islamic oligarchies into the modern age, defuse Iranian nuclear pretentions, destroy North Korea, and kick corrupt African elites and governments into political reform and into the global trading system through hugs, tears and lamentations of pity and love. Chocolate eating Frenchophiles and self flagellating leftist’s don’t ensure security in a world of Islamic violence. CC is irrelevant when military, security, foreign affairs or national self interests are at stake.
So I don’t understand Canadian and American Conservatives. If CC leads to bigger government [more statism] and compassion is not a plank in foreign policy why then do you use the term CC ? Is it just to win votes, appease the leftist media, or satisfy some primal urge to appear to be saintly ? Big government and overwhelming tax and regulatory burdens are the main problems that CC cannot solve. So dispense with the rhetoric drop the first C and build real Conservative parties. And don’t be ashamed to be a real Conservative.
Some other views on CC: